Saturday, November 29, 2008

Long Nights, Diminishing Milk Supply, A Fussy Baby and Guilt-Ridden Mama

Nights are really hard for me right now. My baby is 10 months old and still breastfeeding. She loves food, so during the day she eats lots of solid foods and doesn't need to nurse much. At night however, she nurses several times for comfort. She's small for her age and I know how important breastfeeding is, so I've indulged her feedings at night. Last night she woke up several times and I couldn't comfort her. I tried to nurse her, but there just seemed to be no milk for her to get. She got even more mad and worked herself up into a full-blown fit. I could not figure out what to do for her, so I handed her to my husband while I went to the kitchen and filled a sippy cup with water for her. My husband got her calmed down and she drank the water in a hurry. She must have been so thirsty! I also realized that my mouth was so dry I didn't have any saliva. I got back up and drank a full glass of refreshing water. By morning I had enough milk to nurse her.

With four babies I have never had a problem with diminished milk supply. I've been blessed to always have enough milk to meed my baby's needs, and sometimes I seem to even have an over-abundance of milk. I read that during pregnancy the milk supply generally diminishes around the 4th to 5th month. I'm just about 8 weeks along in my pregnancy, so this is very frustrating. I don't know if my milk supply is less right now because of the pregnancy, or if it has to do with something else like nutrition. I'm sure I need to drink more water, so I will definitely pay more attention to that, and that should help. It's hard too because I can't take my multivitamin in the morning without feeling sick, and I have a hard time remembering to take it later in the day if I miss it in the morning. I know I need the nutritional support, but I'm struggling to get it right now. I'm also so tired every day that I need a nap in the afternoon, and I know the extra nutrition can help give me more energy. I've heard that Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is excellent during pregnancy, so I have been drinking that, but I'm not sure if it has any impact on milk supply.

My goal has always been to nurse each of my babies for at least 12 months. The shortest I've breastfed a baby is 13 months, and the longest is 16 months. I have never struggled to meet my goal until now, but I've also never breastfed during pregnancy before now. I still have that goal in mind, and we have less than 2 months before my baby will be 12 months old. I'm determined to hang in there and put more focus on giving my body what it needs so I can provide my babies with what they need. I'll start by drinking more water! I may also need to keep a full sippy cup for the baby near the bed each night just in case.


  1. Cherylyn,
    You need to not beat yourself up on this one. Your body can only take so much and it's letting you know that. Everything positive that breastfeeding can do has been done. Going to formula for a couple of months certainly shouldn't harm your child. I had the same problem and went to formula and it was the best thing I could have done for both of us. It just isn't worth all of the time baby is hungry and there is not enough milk. I was always of the impression that when you were pregnant that it wasn't a good idea to nurse anymore unless you have a surplus of nutrients...what do I know that was 20 or 30 years ago. I always say err on the side of your baby and make sure that you can get some rest (for the ske of both babies)!

  2. It should still be ok to nurse while you are preg. Your uterus isn't going to contract much and it isn't going to send you into preterm labor. I think that is why people think that you can't nurse when you are prego. It might have an effect later on in the preg because of the stimulation might bring on contractions, but she will be older by then. There is a tea called Mother's Milk by Yogi Tea. You can get it at Good Earth. I have to drink that the whole time I am nursing, but if I didn't get enough water I still didn't have enough milk. I am not sure if you can drink it while you are pregnant. You would have to research it a little bit.

  3. I've been making a big effort to drink lots of water, and there has been enough milk to satisfy her since that night. I'm not concerned about uterine contractions this early in the pregnancy, especially because I don't have a history of preterm contractions. My main concern at this point is getting enough to eat and support my body nutritionally. One thing my midwife found in my urinalysis is that my ketone levels are a bit off, meaning that my body is using smooth muscle for energy right now. My protein levels are good though, so she said it's mostly likely a result of the breastfeeding because I need so much to support all of the nutritional needs. I'm constantly hungry lately, and I have to eat all day long just to keep myself sated.