Did you have a low milk supply while breastfeeding?

low milk supply while pumping breastmilkThe early days of breastfeeding can be wrought with challenges, but some of us make it through the first phase only to face other issues further along.  When work became really stressful for a couple of weeks, my milk supply suddenly plummeted.  We quickly went through all the frozen milk I had pumped during my maternity leave and I found myself with barely enough ounces produced every single day.  Luckily extra fluids, rest, and a daily dose of fenugreek (a natural herbal remedy for low milk supply) helped me get my output back on track.  Have you faced milk supply issues?  What caused them and how did you deal with it?  Your comments will help mothers who are struggling with this issue today!


  1. Fluids (water, water, til waterlogged), sleep (the toughest one), and oatmeal.

  2. There’s an excellent book called The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk. It explains how to identify truly low (rather than perceived) milk supply, underlying reasons, and how to correct the problem. Even after going through a certified lactation educator training and studying for the IBCLC exam, I learned a lot from reading this. I wished I had read it even before my baby was born since we struggled with milk supply for the first month. Under the guidance of 2 IBCLCs I was able to finally build a full milk supply!

  3. Ditto the water and oatmeal! A few other things that made a huge difference for me was getting fitted for the correct size pieces for my pump (I had no idea they made so many sizes, and the size you need is not determined by breast size, but breast tissue elasticity!) and change the white membranes on my PISA pump.

  4. I just lived through this struggle in the last few weeks. It was a combo of reduced milk supply and traveling over the holidays, but the real topper was we lost our frozen milk stash when I accidentally left it out. I did more water and oatmeal and alfalfa. I would have done fenugreek, but the smell of maple syrup makes me sick (left over pregnancy aversion). We have just gotten back to a little of a back up supply.

    We cut his bottles slightly for daycare and added more solids (he’s 8 months). The LC suggested that we tweak his bottle schedule at daycare so that he would want to nurse as soon as I picked him up. All of this meant that he was nursing more at home, rather than filling up on big bottles at daycare and not wanting to eat when I got home. That helped build things up quite a bit.

    I tried to pump lots over the break (I teach), but had a hard time getting much output. I would stare at the bottles and get even more stressed about going back to work and having enough. Then I started pumping while watching tv or playing solitaire (it’s easy to do 1 handed and doesn’t require a lot of time) on the computer and my output dramatically increased. If I cannot watch or think about pumping, I produce a lot more. The more stressed I get, the further my milk supply drops. So as weird as it sounds, try playing computer solitaire 🙂

  5. Soup! Soup! Soup! My baby is 3 months old and I went back to work full time when she was 7 weeks old. My mother came from Japan to stay with us and makes a lot of (A LOT!!) of soups (miso soup – of course, Minestrone, Carrot & Celery soup, Potato soup, bouillabaisse) and my milk supply increased. My baby eats breast milk exclusively. I used to pump every two-three hours at work as I read it will help milk supply, but when I pumped this way, I was not pumping too much milk. I once waited for 4 hours to pump and my mild supply was double. I also learned to pump for at least 20 minutes even though my milk stopped flowing after 5 minutes of pumping. I keet my pump running for another 5 minutes or so and my mild starts to flow again for about 8-10 minutes. I know it is different for each person, but it seems to work with me pumping this way.

  6. My sister had low milk supply with her second baby, and the fenugreek did well for her.

    I haven’t had any definite problems, but when it seems as though my baby isn’t getting satisfied by the milk she can get from me, I’ve always turned to oatmeal plus drinking more water. Seems to take care of it nice and easy.

    When I’ve pumped, I’ve noticed a similar effect to what tncastro said. While my flow generally didn’t flat out stop, it would slow significantly after a few minutes and pick up again if I kept going. Really fascinating to watch sometimes.

  7. Thanks for this post and all the comments. I am breastfeeding and since going back to work it seems like I am just not producing enough. To make things more difficult my daughter started a growth spurt last week and we’ve gone through all the frozen milk I had stored. Since I already drinnk gallongs of water every day, I am definitely going to try the fenugreek and eating more oatmeal. Hopefully it helps!

  8. If you have low milk supply and you are pumping or breastfeeding all the time, I’d recommend using a product called Breastea from http://www.breastea.com It was recommended to me by my lactation consultant, and it has helped my milk supply tremendously.

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