4 Factors Affect Fluctuating Milk Supply & The Expert’s Advice

4 Factors Affect Fluctuating Milk Supply & The Expert’s Advice

You’ve undoubtedly heard mothers who have had to struggle with insufficient milk production or overabundance. But, what if you have difficulty with both? 

You may have enough milk at times, but you may produce less milk at other times. So, what are the reasons for the fluctuating milk supply?

Your body produces breast milk based on signals requesting milk from your baby. Besides, hormones also affect it.

The sharing of experts will help you understand the factors that affect your breastfeeding and the signs of fluctuations. Learn more in this article!

Factors That Can Affect Fluctuating Milk Supply  

Nursing newborn baby

You may find that your milk is sometimes runny and other times creamy. These are expected changes in milk during breastfeeding.

Even throughout a single nursing session, milk composition varies. The milk that comes out at the start of a nursing session differs significantly from the milk delivered to the infant.

“Foremilk” is thirst-quenching and typically fast-flowing due to the letdown reflex to provide milk to the fast-sucking hungry infant. 

“Hindmilk” is the latter of breast milk. It’s high in fat, high in calories, and will satisfy your baby and make it easier to fall asleep. 

Another difference is the amount of milk produced. During the newborn/colostrum period, the initial milk you make after birth is modest in volume but abundant in protective proteins for the infant. 

The colostrum period is standard, although it is typically a source of anxiety for moms. A new mother’s ability to produce a more significant amount of milk takes time, generally several days. 

Nursing your infant often while keeping an eye out for any indications of newborn feeding signals may help a new mother shift from the colostrum period to producing higher milk volumes.

There are some risk factors for poor production. For example, you may consider pumping with a hospital-grade pump to help establish a complete supply and avoid difficulties. 

When moms combine pumping with regular nursing, they may accidentally raise supply or develop a supply that is more than the infant can consume. Oversupply may be challenging to control. 

A variety of variables influences milk volume. Hormonal and anatomical differences in the mother and a woman’s medical, pregnancy, and delivery history might affect the ability to establish the milk supply. 

Similarly, difficulties with the baby’s oral anatomy and capacity to nurse often and efficiently impact milk supply establishment and maintenance. 

Any duration of separation, especially during the crucial first two weeks following birth, puts the milk supply in danger. Some of these factors may be unavoidable, such as a C-section or a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. 

Pumping until you reunite with your baby and breastfeeding may bridge the gap until you and your baby are together again can counteract the impact.

Several factors may determine the capacity of a woman to create breast milk after birth. Some are beyond her control, yet you may address others with additional preparation and the help of family.

One or more of these four frequent causes might be to blame if your breast milk supply drops and you have problems keeping track of your newborn. Let’s figure out why these things can affect your milk reserve and how to get back on track.

Stress 

Stress may cause a decrease in milk supply. Due to sleep deprivation and acclimating to the baby’s schedule, some hormones, such as cortisol, are growing in amounts, which may significantly reduce your milk supply.

To adequately take care of a baby, good mental wellness is necessary. Make an appointment with your doctor if you see indications of anxiety, stress, or postpartum depression to get the support you need.

We encourage you to get the help of your spouse, and you may rest and recover your baby’s milk supply adequately. They cannot breastfeed a kid, but they can help with laundry, cooking, housekeeping, and errands.

Formula Supplementation

Your breasts operate on a supply and demand basis after giving your birth. Breastfeeding is the only way to make your breasts manufacture more milk.

Even if you don’t feed the infant right now, pumping signals the body to continue producing milk. Breast milk stores well in the freezer, so save pumped milk for later use if feasible.

Poor Eating Habits

It’s tempting to embark on a diet to shed the weight you’ve gained throughout pregnancy. When it comes to eating a healthy diet, you must also consume enough calories to compensate for the 500 calories you burn each day while nursing.

Choose a wholesome snack like Greek yogurt to cover the calorie gap between meals, and adequate hydration may aid the production of breast milk. The amount of fluid you drink impacts the maximum volume of breast milk you can produce. 

Getting Sick

Acquiring viruses like the cold, flu, or stomach virus will not affect our milk production. However, accompanying symptoms like weariness, vomiting, diarrhea, or a loss of appetite may all be dangerous. 

When you’re unwell, ask for support at home so you can keep producing enough milk to breastfeed or pump the remaining milk for the infant.

What Are the Signs Your Breast Milk Supply Is Decreasing?

Elegant mother with cute little daughter 

Many mothers mistakenly perceive some indicators as producing less milk, such as softer breasts or shorter feeds. Those signs prove that your body and baby are adapting to nursing. 

Your infant may suffer dehydration if they haven’t peed in many hours, haven’t cried in a long time, have a soft, sunken area on their head, and have excessive drowsiness or low energy levels.

The following are some symptoms that your baby isn’t receiving enough milk when they feed and might suggest a supply problem:

Not Gaining Enough Wet And Dirty Diapers Each Day

The quantity of wet and dirty diapers your kid generates, especially in the first few weeks of life, is a sign of the amount of food they’re eating. A baby should produce 6 to 8 wet and dirty diapers each day. 

Breastfed infants defecate more often than formula-fed babies, and the excrement should shift from a black, tar-like hue shortly after birth to a more greenish-yellow tint by day 4, and then to an orange-yellow, seedy look by around a week.

Lack Of Weight Gain

While it’s normal for your infant to lose weight after delivery, if they aren’t back to their birth weight by two weeks or are gradually gaining weight beyond those first few weeks, it’s time to consult with their doctor.

Signs Of Dehydration

Your infant may suffer dehydration if they haven’t peed in many hours, haven’t cried in a long time, have a soft, sunken area on their head, and have excessive drowsiness or low energy levels. 

You should call the doctor straight away if your baby shows indications of dehydration.

Why Does Milk Production Fluctuate?

Postnatal period with a mother breastfeeding a child 

Breastfeeding your baby for some time corresponds with some of the most dramatic hormonal changes you’ll ever experience. Breastfeeding is usually started right after delivery for the majority of new moms. 

If you do this for a lengthy period, you will most certainly experience weight gain which can mess with your hormones. It’s not unusual for your milk production to fluctuate depending on what’s going on in your life. 

Check out other reasons your breast milk production may be variable listed.

Pregnancy

Being a mom is so exhausted

If you get pregnant again while still nursing, you may notice a shift in your supply. Hormonal variations induced by pregnancy might decrease your milk production.

Menstruating

You may notice a change in your milk production during or shortly before your period. Your milk production might fluctuate when you’re on your period or during ovulation.

Sleep Training

Sleep training 

If your kid starts sleeping through the night, your milk production may decrease to meet his demands. During night feedings, your prolactin levels, the milk-making hormone, are more significant, while decreasing prolactin levels might cause a low milk supply.

Pumping

Breast pump 

Pumping in between feedings may not only maintain but even boost your total production. Because your body thinks your baby is feeding more often, it compensates by producing more milk than usual.

Taking Certain Medicines

Pseudoephedrine, a component present in many over-the-counter allergies and cold drugs, may cause a reduction in breast milk supply. 

Hormonal birth control may cause a considerable decrease in the milk supply of certain nursing mothers.

Eating Certain Herbs

Herbs, including sage, peppermint, oregano, lemon balm, parsley, and thyme, might reduce nursing milk flow when consumed in considerable amounts. Other herbs known as galactagogues may help you enhance your supply if you consume them or put them in your meals.

Smoking 

Woman’s hand with a cigarette in the street

Nicotine may reduce breast milk supply. If you start smoking, your milk supply may be severely impacted or begin to vary. Smoking might negatively impact you, so you might want to consider quitting.

Is it normal to have fluctuations in supply?

Young woman breastfeeding toddler son 

After weeks of breast fullness, it’s not unusual for a first-time mother to get concerned when her breasts begin to soften. Occasionally, a woman’s milk production is vulnerable to nursing and pumping practice changes. 

If a woman attends an all-day wedding without the baby or a pump, or if the baby begins to sleep through the night, her milk production may drop in the next day or two. 

If your supply was full before the decline, you might usually restore it with more pumping and nursing. If you notice your milk supply is decreasing, watch the following video to know what to do.

FAQs 

Why does my milk supply increase and decrease?

Stress may decimate breastmilk production, particularly in the first few weeks following birth. The combination of a lack of sleep and adjustment to the baby’s schedule has resulted in increased milk volume.

What is considered a low milk supply?

When you don’t make enough breast milk to satisfy your baby’s growth demands, your overall milk supply is deemed poor. 

In reality, the most frequent reason why women discontinue nursing is that they don’t have enough milk. On the other hand, most moms produce more milk for their children.

Why does my milk let down randomly?

Letdown is a natural reaction when your baby sucks on your breasts, but it may also happen before your baby latches on. 

When you hear your baby scream or if you’re late for a feeding, you may notice a drop in your milk supply. Touching your breasts or pumping your breasts may also cause a letdown.

How can I increase my milk letdown?

  • Savor a hot beverage
  • Listen to music that is relaxing and peaceful.
  • Before eating, take a warm shower.
  • Keep your kid close to your body at all times.
  • Massage your breasts gently to increase milk supply.

How long does a letdown last?

When your infant starts nursing, the nerves in your breast send out signals that cause the milk in your milk ducts to discharge. After around two minutes of sucking on the breast, your baby will experience the letdown reflex.

Takeaway 

While we advocate promoting breastfeeding, it isn’t the only approach to ensure your baby’s health. 

Talk to a qualified lactation consultant or your doctor about different methods to feed your baby if you’re having problems with fluctuating milk supply

Thank you for your interest in the article!

 

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