Breast milk drying up?

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Breast milk drying up?

Postby NeedSomeHelp » Sun 23 Jan, 2011 4:09 pm

Hi there

I am really worried that my breast milk might be drying up. I have a six week old and feeding has been going ok till now, but lately I have noticed that my breasts are not feeling as full anymore. I am not leaking milk anymore either and also I cant express as much as I was before. My baby is crying a lot from 4pm - 7pm every night and I dont know if its because I have no milk left? Should I give her some formula?
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Re: Breast milk drying up?

Postby NgalaOnline » Sun 23 Jan, 2011 6:15 pm

Hi NeedSomeHelp

The concerns that you are having are very common. There are many normal changes in things like breast sensation that commonly occur around six to twelve weeks after a baby, that often lead a mum to feel concerned her milk supply is low. This is also a time that it is normal for babies to have periods of unexplained crying and unsettled behaviour, often in the evenings, and this further leads many mums to question their breast milk supply.

When assessing your breast milk supply it is helpful to look at objective signs given by your baby. Is your baby putting on weight well? If you are unsure it can be helpful to have her assessed by your child health nurse. Keep in mind also that it is normal for some babies to be slightly built, especially if their parents are or were as children. Being on the lower percentiles of growth charts in itself is not necessarily a concern, it is more important to look at whether baby is consistently continuing to gain weight. Some other signs that can help you assess your milk supply are to look at your baby's nappies. Is she having at least 5 heavy wet disposable nappies or 6 heavy cloth nappies in 24 hours? Are her bowel motions soft and loose? Is your baby having some contented periods each day, even if she is also having some unsettled periods? Is your baby breastfeeding around 7 or 8 times in 24 hours? If your baby is continuing to gain weight well, is having plenty of heavy wet nappies, loose bowel actions and contented periods, plus is breastfeeding around 7 times in 24 hours, these are great signs that your milk supply is plentiful. You may find the following link helpful to you:

http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/lowsupply.html

If you feel that your baby is not gaining weight well, or enough wet nappies and you still are concerned that she may not be getting enough breastmilk, increasing the frequency of feedings can often help increase a mother's milk supply. You can find more information on increasing your milk supply here:

http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/supply.html

Many mothers experience an oversupply of milk, related to the hormones from pregnancy and birth, in the first 6-12 weeks after birth. During this time many mothers will notice signs like engorged breasts, strong sensations of fullness in the breasts at times, milk leaking or spurting from the nipple, and being easily able to express large volumes of milk. Around 6-12 weeks after birth the hormones begin to settle down, and milk supply will change from being a case of oversupply to being dictated by the principle of supply and demand. At this time it is very normal for mums to notice that they no longer have signs of oversupply such as leaking, engorged or full feeling breasts. They may also find that they are not able to express volumes of milk quite so easily. Due to the supply and demand nature of breastmilk supply, feeding your baby around seven times in 24 hours should produce a milk supply that is ample to what she needs. Reducing feedings or introducing food or fluids other than breastmilk can reduce a mother's milk supply.

It is very common for babies to have periods of unsettled behaviour and unexplained crying, often occurring in the evenings. These unsettled periods often begin around 4 weeks of age, peak in intensity around 6- 8 weeks, and often begin to improve as your baby approaches three months. It is thought that these periods of newborn unsettledness are related to brain development, increasing awareness, and overtiredness or overstimulation after spending a full day in a very new and stimulating world. If you live in Western Australia you may like to talk to our Ngala helpline about these periods of unsettledness. You may also find the following links helpful:

http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/fussy.html

http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Fa ... o-12-weeks

If you live in Australia, for more information and support you may like to ring the Australian Breastfeeding Association helpline on 1800 6862 686 (drop last number for VOIP phones).
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Family/Web-Based-Resources
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