The most common reason for milk supply to drop when exclusively pumping is not pumping enough. Sometimes moms who are pumping more milk than is needed by baby feel like they’re wasting time by pumping too much and they cut back dramatically on pumping.
However an oversupply of milk can quickly turn into an undersupply. Whenever you have an oversupply, keep storing the milk in the freezer and make slow, deliberate adjustments to your exclusively pumping schedule. I recommend to either pump one minute less at each session or drop one session per week – until your output matches your baby’s intake.
If you’ve recently cut back on pumping any more dramatically than that, it may have caused your milk supply to plummet. Return to your prior pumping schedule and your milk supply should rebound.
If you haven’t cut back on pumping, be sure you are pumping at least 8 times in 24 hours with at least one time in the middle of the night.
Here’s some additional things to try:
- Review the 27 common causes of low milk supply. Perhaps you have become pregnant or have started birth control pills, both of which will cause your supply to drop. If none of those causes make sense:
- It could be your breast pump. Even new pumps are occasionally defective and older pumps wear out over time and while they may seem to work, the power of the suction may have dropped so low that it’s not effective. Be sure to check all connections for a good fit. Also check the tubing for kinks or punctures. Look at the membranes – are they soft, flexible and not clogged? If everything checks out with your breast pump but you have a suspicion that it may still be the problem, you can rent a hospital-grade pump for a week. If your supply comes back up you’ve found the problem. If not:
- Are you frequently eating health food? If the busyness of daily life is causing you to skip snacks and meals this can cause lower milk supply. Be sure you’re getting at least 1800 calories each day, preferably spread out over 3 meals and 3 snacks. If you have been eating well then:
- Perhaps you are wore out, run downed or stressed. Managing all the demands on your time and maintaining a commitment to exclusively pumping may be taking its toll. Do not hesitate to ask for help from family or friends. A bit of help with cooking, cleaning, errands or childcare can go a long way toward relieving stress and can help your milk supply to rebound. Next, be sure to:
- Take Lactiful Supply Max or your own herbal blend that increases milk supply and stimulates multiple letdowns. Then be sure you:
- Check out the 11 ways to increase milk supply or see our article index for many articles on the causes and solutions for low milk supply. Also consider:
- Marathon weekends. I don’t mean go running, I mean pump as much as possible over the weekend to kick your production into high gear going into the next week. And finally:
- Dip into your frozen milk reserve. If you’ve built up a freezer bank of stored milk, now is the time to use it so that baby is getting the best nutrition possible. After all, maybe baby is simply going through a growth spurt and can’t be filled up or maybe there’s a new stress in your life that’s negatively affecting your pumping performance. While any drop in milk production can cause panic, sometimes these things just work out in a few days time.
One of the great things about exclusively pumping is that you can measure and closely monitor exactly how much milk your body is producing each day. Follow the advice in this article and you will see your milk supply increase!