Below are some of the most common reasons why your breastmilk could be decreasing at 3 months with some possible ways to overcome the issue.
Every first-time mother is anxious about breastfeeding and whether her baby is getting all the nourishment s/he needs. Read this article to know more about the possible reasons why your breast milk could be decreasing after 3 months.
Human breast milk production starts around the 16th week of pregnancy. The first milk produced after your baby’s birth is the yellow colostrum, which is thick and creamy. Three days after birth, your body starts producing white milk in response to hormonal signals. Your milk supply is regulated by the ‘demand and supply mechanism,’ meaning that the more milk your baby sucks from the breast, the more milk is produced by it.
An adequate milk supply depends on a host of factors. Sometimes, you may find that your milk supply is dwindling when you cross the three-month mark. This may cause you to go in for milk supplements, thereby causing your milk supply to decrease further. Lactation experts advise you to breastfeed as long as possible and counsel you on these specific areas of concern. You can easily set right some of the minor issues that can be affecting your milk supply.
Reasons Why your Breastmilk could be Decreasing at 3 Months
It is usual for your breasts to produce more milk than necessary at first, leading to engorged breasts and milk leakage issues. But once your baby falls into a regular breastfeeding routine, after 4 to 6 weeks, then milk supply may decrease slightly as your baby is nursing frequently and your breasts are now regulated to produce enough milk to meet his/her specific demand.
Softer breasts after the first month do not indicate a low milk supply. Your breasts do not store milk but produce milk as your baby feeds and are therefore less engorged and softer.
Your baby feeds on ‘reflex‘ in the first months after birth, but s/he uses their oral motor skills to feed after three months. This, in addition to the changes in his/her oral and facial anatomy as s/he grows, may affect your baby’s ability to nurse effectively. This could cause a drop in your milk supply.
Some babies may have some congenital anomalies like tongue tie that can hamper them from nursing properly. Some babies may not be latching well and thus fail to remove milk from the breast effectively.
Your baby undergoes a growth spurt at the age of 3 months. This makes them feed often and longer, which may cause you to think that your milk is insufficient erroneously. If you start milk supplementation or use formula feeds, assuming your milk supply is low, it can cause a further drop in supply.
Milk supply can also decrease when the number of feeds per day goes down. Your baby could also miss feeds during the night if s/he doesn’t wake up for feeds.
When you go in hormone-based contraception, like birth control pills, the hormones can cause a decrease in your milk supply.
Pregnancy is another cause of a decrease in milk supply as the pregnancy hormones come into play and suppress the hormones responsible for lactation.
Ways to ensure a continued adequate supply of milk
- Get the help of your lactation expert to help your baby latch properly and feed effectively.
- It is essential to feed your baby frequently, and as often as s/he demands. You can gently wake your baby for feeds in the night if s/he sleeps during feed times.
- It is important to pump your milk manually or by a breast pump between feeds to signal your breasts to produce more milk. Use both your breasts to feed in order to stimulate them to make more milk. Keep a check on your baby’s weight gain, urine output, and stool output and if the parameters are all normal, rest assured that s/he is getting enough milk. Do not go in for milk supplements, as it may cause your supply to decrease further.
- Eat foods and herbs like fenugreek that promote a good milk supply. Eat balanced and nutritious meals and drink plenty of water to keep your supply up.
Taking sufficient rest and refrain from stressing too much. Seek medical help if you still have doubts about your milk supply.