Bye Bye, Milk SupplyEmily Malone
I feel really lucky that for 10 – almost 11 – months, Cullen and I have been blessed with a really great breastfeeding relationship. Despite a few ugly bouts with mastitis and Cullen’s refusal to take bottles for many months, overall things have gone really well. A good latch, a healthy supply, minimal leaking, adequate nutrition – you can’t ask for much more than that.
But recently, something has changed. Cullen got a bad cold two weeks ago, and I knew he was having trouble eating as much as he usually does. His stuffy nose prevented him from eating for long stretches of time, and he mostly snacked for a few minutes at most. At the same time, we traveled home to Ohio – a 3 hour time difference and a change in our usual routines and schedules. Things were definitely a little off for a few days.
Suddenly, I noticed that I felt significantly more…empty. I used to go 3 to 4 hours between feedings, and one of the ways I knew it was likely time to eat again was that my breasts felt heavier, and well – bigger. Suddenly 3 hours would pass and I’d still sort of feel like a deflated balloon. It wasn’t my imagination either. My letdown felt a lot less intense, and Cullen’s feeding time has pretty much halved. Enter – PANIC.
Even though Cullen is 10 months old and I plan to wean him around a year, I still selfishly wanted it to be my choice. I didn’t want it to happen quite so quickly. Honestly, I’m not ready. I know that this is relatively normal for being this far into breastfeeding, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly. I haven’t changed anything with diet or medications, so I think his temporary decrease in feedings is what set it off. I just hope it’s not too late to get it back!
I’ve stepped up his feedings and have temporarily added a few more in. He’s also been waking up in the middle of the night, which makes me think he’s hungrier than normal. I used to just soothe him with a pacifier during night wakings, but this week I’ve been feeding him in hopes that my supply will come back. I’ve also added in an evening pumping session, and I am eating everything in sight. Avocados, olive oil, nuts, chocolate – the more the better. It’s tough work, I tell ya.
I got a bit more than I had been from last night’s pumping session, so I’m hopeful that perhaps things are headed in the right direction. It seems kind of silly to be obsessing about milk supply this late in the game, but, like I said, I wasn’t planning on weaning quite this early or this quickly. Let’s hope I don’t have to!
Read more from Emily on her personal blog Daily Garnish, where she creates healthy vegetarian recipes, recaps her latest running adventures, and chronicles life as a new mom to her son and two crazy dogs. You can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too!