Have you noticed a sudden decrease in your breast milk? Or perhaps you may be noticing your baby is fussy or wants to nurse quickly after their most recent feeding. This is most likely normal behavior, but you might be wondering if you are producing enough breast milk for your baby.
If you are a new mom and have been finding your milk supply dropping, you probably wonder what the possible reasons or factors could be and how to boost your milk production. Low milk supply can come from various physical, emotional, and psychological factors.
The good news is that even if your breast milk supply has lowered, chances are you can help fix this with changes to your habits or routine. It does not mean you can’t breastfeed your baby anymore. Even better, there are additional ways to supplement your breast milk if your supply is lowered. Learn more about the various causes that can result in a low milk supply.
Possible Health Reasons Your Milk Supply is Dropping
Your body’s health can affect how much breast milk your body is producing. When you’re physically well, have a support system, and resting when you can, your body has the energy to make milk for your infant.
Greater Than has compiled a list of possible reasons your physical health can attribute to decreased milk supply. Take care to notice and pay attention to your body’s health and diet to ensure you get the adequate nutrients you need to produce breast milk.
Are You Nursing on Demand and Feeding at Night?
Nursing often and pumping early and often help to stimulate your body to produce more breast milk. Your breasts make milk continuously, but your body knows when to make more when they are empty. Feeding infrequently means your breasts are fuller for longer periods of time, so your milk production slows down.
Suppose you are putting your baby on a feeding schedule or using a pacifier in between feedings too soon and notice your breast milk supply lowering.
Consider breastfeeding your baby following their cues. This can help result in more frequent and shorter feedings and help your body know to produce more milk in response.
If you are not feeding at night, that can also be another reason you are noticing a drop in your breast milk supply. Although there are lots of sleep-training methods that help babies sleep longer at night and help them get on a sleep schedule.
While these techniques can help families, starting it too early can affect your baby’s gain and your milk supply.
Prolactin, the hormone that tells your body to produce milk, is higher during night feedings. Having less feedings overall, especially at night, can contribute to a decrease in your milk supply. For many mothers, nightly feedings are essential for your body to know how much milk to make.
If you are introducing sleep training and find your milk supply going down, it might be helpful to you to reintroduce one or two night feedings.
Have You Had Changes in Your Diet?
How much you eat and drink as well as what you eat and drink can show a decrease in your breast milk production. First, consider what you are drinking and if you are drinking enough.
Dehydration can be a factor in causing your breast milk supply to lower. One way you can become dehydrated is through drinking too much caffeine, such as coffee or other caffeinated drinks.
To help boost your hydration levels, check out our electrolyte-packed drinks that are made for you in mind. Our flavorful drinks are made to keep you energized without caffeine, sugar, and additives. This means you aren’t going to be lowering your milk supply by drinking carbonated, caffeinated, or excess vitamin drinks.
While many moms are able to breastfeed their baby while on a limited diet, eating better and drinking enough fluids can help ensure you are producing enough milk and give you the energy to take care of yourself and your little one.
Be aware of the different foods and drinks that aren’t the best for your diet while you are breastfeeding. Eating these foods in moderation is okay for you and your baby. However, large quantities can actually lower your breast milk supply.
Examples are peppermint, parsley, caffeine, alcohol, sage, and others. Be aware of what is in your diet and if that could be a factor in your breast milk production.
Possible Psychological Factors Causing a Decrease in Breast Milk Supply
Although your physical health can play a huge role in how much breast milk your body is producing, it’s equally important to prioritize your mental health.
Many emotional and psychological factors can arise if you do not have the energy to care for yourself. Although it may seem complicated, self-care can help you find the energy to take care of your body and produce enough milk.
Do You Feel Stressed or Anxious?
Emotional and psychological stress can impact you physically, including reducing your supply of breast milk. Stress can be a result of the new changes in your lifestyle and routine, your relationships, financial difficulties, or the demands of motherhood.
- Discuss your options with your doctor and consider taking medication as directed, or acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Find a private space to breastfeed your baby to help alleviate any discomfort about breastfeeding in public.
- Find new relaxation techniques to help clear stress. Consider finding additional support with a trusted friend, family member, or professional.
It is important to learn how to manage your stress because this can be a leading cause of a low drop in your breast milk supply. If your stress and tension stems from breastfeeding in public, you may feel self-conscious or embarrassed.
Take the time to understand where your stress is coming from.
Possible Emotional Reasons Your Milk Supply Has Decreased
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
Although it may seem impossible, getting enough sleep is essential to producing enough energy for your little one to produce breast milk. Lack of adequate sleep results in less energy, making it hard to produce enough breast milk.
You may not be resting enough, which can decrease your breast milk supply. We know that recovering from childbirth, the physical and emotional challenges of motherhood, and breastfeeding your infant are all demanding factors.
Postpartum fatigue can also interfere with breastfeeding your baby as well. Factors of lack of sleep and rest are common causes of a low supply of breast milk, so making sure you make self-care a priority can be beneficial for your mental health and well-being.
Taking some time to rest might look few and far between, but finding small ways to incorporate into your daily routine can help:
- Lay down when your baby is lying down.
- Breastfeed sitting down or with your legs up
- Asking a family member, partner, and friends for help with chores or watching the baby while you lie down
What Are Other Possible Reasons For Low Breast Milk Supply?
Are You Using Supplements?
Some supplements are okay for you to have while you breastfeed. However, it’s essential to be aware that much scientific research does not back up supplements. Talk to your doctor if you are considering taking supplements or be mindful if you are experiencing a low supply of breast milk as a side effect.
If you are taking an excessive amount of vitamin C and vitamin B, you may also notice a decrease in breast milk supply. Again, taking vitamins at the recommended intake will not harm your milk supply or your baby. In high levels, it is known to decrease milk supply.
If you are supplementing with formula, you are tricking your body into producing less breast milk. When less milk is taken, your body assumes that less milk is needed for feeding. This results in a lower amount of breast milk.
Is Your Baby’s Latch Correct?
It is also possible that the issue might not be with having a low milk supply, but with your little one. This could be that your child has difficulty getting the milk from your breasts.
Your infant may have trouble latching onto you or have sucking difficulties. If you suspect your baby isn’t feeding well, make sure to consult with your pediatrician.
Do You Have Existing Health Issues?
Have you had any Infections, PCOS, low thyroid function, or certain hormonal medications like birth control pills that can decrease your milk supply? If you suspect an underlying health issue, consider getting an examination from your doctor right away.
Tell your doctor you are breastfeeding and what your concerns are so you can decide on the right prescription treatments that are best for you. Don’t forget to inform your doctor of your health conditions so they can provide you with treatments while you breastfeed.
Are You Taking Medications?
Some mothers find that their hormonal birth control impacts their supply of breast milk and causes a significant drop. Talk to your doctor about what medication you are on and if switching medications is right for you. This is most common when you begin taking contraceptives before your baby is four months old, but it is also possible later on.
It’s also essential for you to be aware of your medications.
Medications used in labor such as epidural anesthetic can affect your baby’s ability to latch onto your nipple and feed. This is also true for taking excess amounts of cold medicine where pseudoephedrine is the active ingredient. Consider talking to your doctor for an alternative if you believe this could be the reason for your drop in milk supply.
Have You Had Breast Surgery or Procedures?
Whether that be for medical or cosmetic reasons, previous breast surgery can also be a factor in decreased milk supply. Nipple piercings are an example of breast surgery and may damage milk ducts in the nipple.
Depending on the type of surgery you had, how much time has passed since then, and any complications that arose after, such as scarring or damage, can all contribute to a drop in breast milk.
Suppose necessary medications, previous breast surgeries, or health issues you may have had in the past are potentially resulting in a sudden drop in your breast milk supply. You may benefit from extra help such as safe supplements and talking to your doctor about the next steps.
Do You Have Less Glandular Tissue?
For various reasons, some women’s breasts do not develop normally and may not have enough glandular tissue to make the amount of milk for their baby’s needs. If you feel that you are not making enough breast milk, consider prescription medication from your doctor or supplementing formula with your milk.
Keep in mind that even just a little bit of your own milk has numerous benefits. Even just a small amount can help support your baby’s immune system, brain development, and nutritional needs. It might help to get a consultation from a breastfeeding expert about your next steps if you are not making enough milk on your own.
Understanding The Potential Factors
If you notice a sudden drop in your breast milk supply, this can be due to many physical, emotional, or psychological factors. Taking care of yourself, reducing stress or using techniques to make it more manageable, and improving certain lifestyle habits can make a huge difference when it comes to a decreased breast milk supply.
Your baby’s weight gain is usually a reassuring sign that you are feeding your baby. Some weight gain results are not as encouraging as some mothers hope for, so talk with your doctor about your concerns regarding your low milk supply.
If you are concerned by your sudden drop in breast milk due to health reasons, consider seeing your doctor for a physical examination. They may prescribe you medication, safe herbal supplements, or pumping as well to boost milk production.
If your baby seems to be having difficulty getting milk or you see signs of your baby not getting enough milk, consult a professional. Talk to a lactation consultant to help you figure out the cause of your lower supply of breast milk.
Greater Than Helps Promote A Healthy Lactation
If you are looking for more information on the next steps or safe and organic ways to boost your milk supply, then we have you covered!
Greater Than knows how much of a rewarding, beautiful, and complex motherhood can be and the challenges that come along with it.
We hope to help you as much as possible during this new and exciting time in your life, whether it’s providing you with our non-GMO, low sugar, and electrolyte drinks or tips on how to help boost your milk supply.