Maybe the Most Important Thing You Can Do, to Increase Breast Milk. But You Won’t Like Hearing It

Once you get your breast milk supply going good, it is troubling when you begin to see a drop in the amount you pump.  You used to get 5 ounces per breast during most feedings, then it dwindles to 3 ounces and sometimes only 2 ounces.
This is fairly predictable, unfortunately. Finally, your baby is sleeping from 10 PM to 3 or 4 AM.  You take advantage of this sweeeet opportunity to rest your abused and exhausted body.
Then, you sit down and pump as usual, but you are getting less breast milk.  Why?  You think, “I’m doing all the same things I did before.  Why am I getting, less milk?”
Blame mother nature.  She cruelly created a hormone called Feedback Inhibitor.  This nasty hormone pays attention to changes in breast milk production. When you catch those extra Z’s when your angel is sleeping through the night, Feedback Inhibitor rears its nasty head. 
Here is how Feedback Inhibitor works.  If it notices a time when less milk is being used, it signals the mammary glands to make less milk. This will affect the amount of milk you make all day long.
It is a good hormone when you are weaning, but it is not smart enough to know that you are just trying to get some much needed rest.  It only knows that less milk is used, so it keeps the milk supply lower.
So, here is how to fix Feedback Inhibitor.  And you can’t shoot the messenger.
Start pumping or breast feeding at least one time between 12 and 3AM.  This will begin to get it back, but it may be slower than the next option.
If you are determined to get your supply back to normal, pump at least 2 times between 10 PM and 4 AM. 
The moms who breast pumped or breast feed for 12 months or more will tell you that night pumping or feeding is super important.
I wish I could tell you that you could sleep through the night.  It has been a couple of decades since I had my last baby; I still remember how much I desired a full night’s sleep. 
This is the truest example of delayed gratification.  Your reward will be a healthy, happy child. 
Remember to take good care of yourself. Take your vitamins, eat well, ask for help and rest anytime you can sneak in a little shut eye.

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Comments

  1. I have never heard this before : ( My son is now 14 months and has been sleeping throuhg the night for the last 2 months. I have been pumping (durning the day after he nurses)& taking hurbs with little results. So my qustion is, if I poke at him at night to have him nurse (he sleeps in my bed) or pump through the night. Is it to late to get what I have lost back? I used to be able to pump 7 to 8oz (from each breast) every 3 hours after his birth. Then over winter time he would nurse then I would pump & still get 3oz out of each breast that I gave to my sister in-laws foster baby. So now that I am just getting 1oz out of each breast I am heart sick. I would love to be able to get enough to freeze again. So can you tell me if I have waited to long to get my milk back????

  2. It probably is not too late. But you shouldn’t need to wake him. Just try getting up for about 15 minutes about 1:00 or 2:00 and see how this works. I know that personally and stories from other moms that once you give up that evening pump, your breast milk does tend to decrease. When I started again in the evening, it increased. But don’t push yourself, you have done such a great job already. If you are still nursing and getting a little extra milk, then you are doing incredible. Good Luck!

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