6 months and nursing

Feel free to skip this if you aren't interested in reading about nursing.

This post is me questioning what the heck happened to my milk supply! Once Kara started sleeping the night, I started getting up at 5am to pump, feeding her either 4-5 times a day, including the bedtime feed, then pumping before bed. The early morning feeding was to keep my supply up, as I lost it around 9/10 months with Nick. As a result of the pumping, I have one entire mini freezer full of frozen milk, and our freezer attached to the fridge which is already small is being overtaken by milk also.

Everything was going well until around 4 months - I do not know what happened but I felt like Kara was eating for very short periods of time like 5 min/side. I was still pumping the same amount at night and in the morning.  Lately, I feel like it is even shorter - about 2 minutes and she is visibly frustrated and still hungry when done. Sometimes I give her 2-3 oz in a bottle after, and she's just started oat cereal as well so I give her that at lunch post-bottle w/ more milk mixed in. I don't know what is going on, but it's all this work to pump and I feel like my supply is down? At 6 months?! 

I'm not sure if she just wants it faster and is getting frustrated to finish and my supply dropped?
Should I be making sure that I'm hitting a certain amount of calories? I feel like I eat when hungry and I'm not walking around starving so I don't think that should be a problem.
Drink more water?
I'm drinking a cup of that fenugreek tea once a day. It doesn't seem to help.

Any advice? My goal was to make it to one year. I think if I can make it to 9 or 10 months, the frozen milk can get me through to the year, but stopping now isn't going to cut it.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. My advice is to relax your "rules" about BF a bit. I said I would BF for 6 months, but after a few episodes at 4.5 months where DS would scream like my boob was poison, I gave up and switched entirely to formula. My supply was so low that I never had more than a day's worth in the fridge, even pumping 4x a day. No doubt some BF Nazi will hate me for saying this, but you've done fine and even if your stash doesn't take you to a year, so what?

  3. She could be ready for more solid foods. My older daughter nursed almost exclusively until 9 months and wanted nothing to do with solid foods, but my younger daughter really needed solid foods by 6 months. When we started her on solids, she was like, "where has this been my whole life?"

  4. Are you completely opposed to supplementing with some formula? Honestly I don't believe that they get much in the way of immunity from you past 3 months. If you did a mix of nursing and formula it could help. I gave up at 4 months because it was too hard to pump at work, I really couldn't do my job and pump as much as I needed to. I also hated having to get up extra early to pump if I wanted to work out before I went to work. It would have meant 4:30am wake ups and that was not an option. Anyway, the point it that my son is fine. He nursed for 4 months and then went to formula.

  5. I think you're supply and composition does change as months go by. Your body knows what it is doing. Perhaps this is a sign to start more solids. Don't throw out the possibility that you have picked up your exercise significantly recently...so that could have something to do with it. Stay super hydrated and eat. But seriously, don't freak out about. If your body is giving you the sign, take it, don't fight it. It just might be that your body is done and that's ok. You made it longer than many women do...and any amount of time on the BM is better than none at all!

  6. Hang in there and don't give up yet!! I thought I wasn't making enough with each of my 4 boys at about 6 months and yet they grew and thrived even when I thought it was supply. I love the Mothers Milk tea.

    It is true that the more she nurses the more you will make so see if you can get her to stay latched longer or give her extra time in the evening or whenever you can get her to nurse.

    Make sure you are getting enough electrolytes and drink more liquids and get your hiney to a La Leche League meeting!! They helped so much when I was nursing :)

  7. Hang in there. Skin to skin contact is also supposed to help. It is frustrating at times but so worth it.

    Oh, and I second getting in touch with LLL or a nursing mommas group in your area, they can be a great resource.

  8. bf is frustrating.

    Perhaps the higher intensity workouts may have had an effect - perhaps once your body gets used to them you'll boost a bit. i have to say I can't help thinking pumping can decrease things. My RB never produced as much once I had to pump on it but my experience was not great so La Leche sounds like a good idea as well as liquids.

    Try not to stress (I know, i know).6 months is awesome oh and there was an article on the news the other day that BF post 6 months doesn't do anything for immunity!

    Fingers crossed

  9. I second what Angie Bee says! Also one cup of fenugreek tea is probably not enough. Here's some articles on Kelly Mom about supply and fenugreek: http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/milksupply/fenugreek.html

    Stick with it, you can do it!

  10. I've read that the only factor that matters in BM production is the amount you feed/pump, so I don't think other factors really matter that much in terms of increasing productivity.

    Our peditrician told us, and I read articles on it, that there are not medically tangible benefits of BM past 6 months, but if you continue with it, certainly there are personal benefits (the bonding, the monetary savings). Still, I wouldn't stree if it's just time to taper off the BF and begin transitioning to formula.

    As long as she's gaining weight and is happy and healthy, those are the most important things.

  11. love all the different advice! i won't give any...this is such a personal decision that in the end makes no difference except in how you feel. though i do remember it being a mental thing to give that first bottle of formula (not counting the first week or two) after i'd been busting my ass to pump. but i also remember the relief after i'd done it that i didn't have to kill myself anymore!!

  12. No offense to some others that have posted, but you have made a decision that you want to BF and I think you should do it! I had similar troubles early on-- when he wasn't nursing all I was making. I pumped after EVERY feeding which helped bump up my supply and then he started being able to get more on his own and the balance started working out and I could go back to jump pumping in the morning and at night. I also take Organic Fenugreek tablets 3x a day. Good luck.

    Also-- drink a lot more water with all the bumped up exercise. Per the book "Exercising through your pregnancy" he says more moms eat enough when they continue exercising after birth, but not many drink enough!

    I enjoy your blog! This is my first time commenting.

  13. I have no idea but wanted to offer some support. I hope you're able to get the advice you need and that you feel better about continuing to breastfeed. I'm sure I'll learn a lot when I go down this road in the near future.

  14. I don't want to step on any toes either, but I think if you want to go for a year, you should. Breast is best, there's no doubt about it! But that being said, I find it's less stressful for me to know that I have some milk stored up, just as you do. From experience, the workouts sometimes cut back on supply if you're not getting in enough calories. Maybe add in some flaxseed and oatmeal, but are not only very healthy for you, but can boost bm production. Also, really push the water, and if you're not opposed to adding in an extra herbal supplement, taking fenugreek capsules (500 mg) 3-4/3 times a day, greatly helps. It may make you smell a bit like maple syrup, but around 3 1/2 months with my 3rd, my supply dropped and I saw a marked increase in about a week and a half. Don't give up! (But at the same time, do what's right for you!)

  15. Breastfeeding and supply issues can be such a mystery (or at least that is how I feel). With Elena, it was a struggle from the beginning and I was never able to stop supplementing with formula and exclusively breastfeed. She stopped nursing at 6 months when she started crawling and wanted to have nothing to do with sitting still. With Adelaide, I have been able to exclusively breastfeed and stop any formula supplements as of 2 wks ago. The only big difference that I have consciously made is NOT cutting calories with Adelaide and I really haven't been able to exercise much (mostly because of my hip). The weird part is that I still lose weight at the same rate despite eating a bit more and not exercising much. Perhaps I am burning more calories with my increased milk production?

    Good luck and I hope things turn around. I know how frustrating it can be. Congrats on making it to 6 months :) You are doing great.

  16. Also, try out these cookies, they work for me. (I suggest using 4 tbsp. of brewer's yeast as opposed to 2) I ate three the first day and three the second and felt as though my supply went up. It's worth a try anyway. Also, do you mind if I add your blog to my list of blogs I read? I just started blogging, yahoo! Congrats on nursing for 6 months!

  17. http://www.food.com/recipe/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-lactation-cookies-by-noel-trujillo-192346

    Sorry I forgot to attach it!

  18. As Kaz said, there's been a lot of stuff in the British press about breastfeeding.


    Take it with a pinch of salt though, as it will all change next week :-)

    I still can't believe your breastfeeding another child though. You're amazing! I'm exhausted just trying to get Cairn to eat with a fork.

    It's such a personal decision. My body basically told me when it was time to give up. I think it knew I was going back to work and was thrilled about the idea of pumping in a newspaper office toilet :-) :-) Oh and Cairn getting teeth!

  19. Have you increased your mileage lately? I found that whenever I increased my mileage coupled with not drinking enough water my supply went down. I nursed my first for a year, my 2nd for 15 months and am nursing & pumping with my 3rd baby now. And I'm sure you know this but just because it starts to go down doesn't mean that's permanent, it can still increase even without you specifically trying. Our bodies go in waves depending on the babies specific need at the time. My son gets fussy like you described when he has a burp stuck while nursing - so I take a break, burp and then nurse again - maybe that's her problem? Good luck and feel free to email me if you want encouragement. Breastfeeding, as you know, is super awesome for the baby but there are also TONS of health benefits for you too! Good work!