Causes of Low Milk Supply and how to Fix it Fast!

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Are you here because your milk supply seems to be unproductive? What could be the cause of low milk supply and how do you fix it?

In this read, you will learn some of the most common causes behind an underproductive milk supply and action steps you can take toward giving it a boost.

Further down, you’ll see an index of what information you can expect to get in this post so you don’t leave before you get to what interests you most!

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What Causes Low Milk Supply?

Having to worry about a drop in milk supply can be crippling for some new moms. Especially when breastfeeding is something you have such high hopes to accomplish.

Take a look at the reasons below as to what causes low milk supply and then scroll down to see some low milk supply false alarms that may give you some relief!

  • Eating and being exposed to anti-lactation foods
  • Not eating enough
  • Hormones/Menstruation
  • Stress
  • Baby not nursing enough
  • Baby has a bad latch
  • Sleepy Baby/Jaundice
  • Birth Control
  • Pacifier

Causes of Low Milk Supply while Exclusively Pumping

Quickly, take a look at some reasons why an exclusive pumper may not be producing enough milk. 

  • Not pumping frequent enough
  • Poor performing breast pump
  • Pump parts need changed
  • Not fully emptying your breasts

Low Milk Supply False Alarms

There are some events while breastfeeding that can trigger you to think your milk supply may be low.

However, most of the time these are just false alarms!

Below you will see a bulleted list of the common reasons a breastfeeding mom may worry her milk supply is low.

  • Baby does not sleep for long and wakes up often at night.
  • Baby cries a lot.
  • I can’t express any milk.
  • I gave baby a bottle and he gulped it down.
  • Baby sucks on his hands all the time.
  • Baby is not content at the breast and is difficult to feed.
  • My breasts are soft and flaccid.
  • I don’t leak breast milk.
  • I don’t feel a letdown.
  • Baby wants to breastfeed often.

Foods that Can Hurt Milk Supply

Just like there are galactagogues (foods that increase milk supply) there are also some foods and herbs that can hurt a woman’s milk supply.

The foods and herbs I’m about to list may not affect everyone in the same way.

However, taking precautions and staying away from them while you are experiencing a decrease in milk supply may be the right move to make.

Anti-Lactation Foods:

  • Mint
  • Cabbage Leaves
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Yarrow
  • Thyme

Foods and herbs that cause low milk supply infographic

Poor Nutrition and Low Milk Supply

Honestly, sometimes it’s not as much about what you do or don’t eat, but more importantly – just getting in enough calories can be the liquid gold ticket!

This is not the time to diet or restrict calories at any level while you are breastfeeding and producing breast milk for your growing baby.

Your body is already using significant amounts of energy to create liters of breast milk per day –  and that’s hard work!

So, feed your boobs by feeding your appetite!

Amazingly, on average, women burn an extra 500 or more calories per day just from making breast milk! (source)

Milk Dust protein lactation powder works wonders to increase milk supply!

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Foods that Increase Milk Supply 

Take a look below at some foods that are known to be superstars in the boosting milk supply fast arena.

  • Oatmeal
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Coconut Milk
  • Milk Thistle
  • Fenugreek
  • Flax

I have some yummy lactation recipes you can also try that worked out great for me!

You must also try my perfect no-bake boobie bites! I would whip up a large batch of those at least once a week and snack on them throughout the day.

Another milky miracle cure is the pink lactation drink – you’ll love it!

Speaking of drinks, did you know that Body Armor drink is great for breastfeeding and milk supply? 

Milk Supply and Menstruation

Oh, hormones… can’t say that I enjoy these mood altering chemicals. They not only make a mess of you during pregnancy, but months or even years postpartum too!

The biggest reason my milk supply plummeted wasn’t my diet or any of the other mentioned reasons I listed above, but the un-welcomed return of my period.

Yes, it can be true that your menstrual cycle may hold off as long as a woman is lactating.

However, every one is different and you really never know for sure when Aunt Flow will be back knocking on the door.

What to do when Your Period Causes Low Milk Supply

The common cause of a returned period while nursing seems to be lack of breast tissue stimulation.

Once your hormones start to level back to a normal range, your milk supply should return back to what a normal output generally looks like for you.

However, some women, such as myself – noticed about a 1-2 ounce decrease after every menstrual cycle.

Some women may experience a more severe drop in supply. 

In order to help treat your low milk supply during your period you can start a regimen of calcium and magnesium supplementation during the beginning of ovulation.

Ask your doctor about dosage and safety if you consider taking any supplements while breastfeeding or pregnant.

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If You’re Breastfeeding and Think Your Milk Supply is Low

There may be some issues causing your low milk supply while breastfeeding.

As I mentioned above, the common reasons for low milk supply while breastfeeding may have come about because of a bad latch, jaundice/sleepy baby or nipple confusion because of a pacifier.

While we are on the topic of breastfeeding, let me ask, how valuable of a feeling it would be to know you invested in your ability to provide your baby with the best breastfeeding experience?

What about allowing yourself to receive priceless guidance and knowledge on how to maintain and even master your milk supply so you never need to worry and stress?

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology teaches you how to conquer your milk supply and perform the crucial techniques in order to have breastfeeding and milk supply success.

You can invest in your best breastfeeding experience for only $19 and if you choose to enroll today using this link, I’ll also send you a free pumping course as a an added gift! Just contact me once you’re done enrolling!

What if Baby’s Latch is Causing my Low Milk Supply?

Babies that have a tongue-tie may have a harder time latching on and draining enough breast milk to initiate the supply and demand switch.

There are tongue-tie revisions that can be done to help correct your baby’s latching issues. Your pediatrician will address your concerns and refer your baby to get the help he or she needs to correct the problem.

See the infographic below to help you achieve the best breastfeeding latch with your baby to avoid any milk supply problems.

Baby breastfeeding latch visual infographic

Sleepy Baby That Won’t Wake up to Nurse

Some babies will just be sleepier than others and that can make it almost impossible to wake the little bundle up to nurse properly.

Jaundice can sometimes be a factor that can cause a baby to be extremely sleepy.

Tips to wake up a sleepy baby to nurse:

  • Take off their clothes before you nurse them.
  • Tickle their feet or head while nursing.
  • Try a more upright nursing position.
  • Nurse them in a bright room.
  • Blow on them while nursing.
  • Play with their mouth, cheeks and chin.
  • Massage their back and legs.
  • Change their diaper.

Exclusive Pumping and Low Milk Supply

For the exclusive pumper, it’s easier to gauge how much breast milk you are actually making per day and comparing that with how much your baby drinks.

Exclusive pumping and obsessing over milk supply sometimes goes hand in hand unfortunately, I completely get why though.

Your day is consumed by pumping and getting as much milk output as you can, usually as quickly as possible too!

I have a solution for the pumping mom who is tired of being confined to the wall half of the day! 

Your freedom system is comprised of two main units – the portable Genie Plus and Freemie Collection Cups.

The Genie Plus is powerful, compact and portable.

The Freemie Collection Cups are literally the answer to pumping anywhere at anytime with no questions asked!

If you think this pumping kit set up sounds like a good fit for you, pleases use my exclusive discount codes I have for the Genie Plus breast pump.

7 Tips to Correct Low Supply while Pumping

  1. Change your pump parts
  2. Get a more powerful and efficient breast pump
  3. Switch up your pumping schedule: Free Pumping Schedules
  4. Massage during pumping and hand express after
  5. Pump in the middle of the night
  6. Pump more frequently with a portable pumping kit
  7. Ensure you are fully emptying your breasts at every session

Pumping Routines to Increase Low Milk Supply

  • Power Pumping
  • Cluster Pumping

How to Power Pump:

Power pumping is a full hour long pumping session broken up into shorter intervals.

Pump for 20 min. / Pause for 10 min. / Pump for 10 min. / Pause for 10min. / Pump for 10min.

I recommend using this method twice per day (until supply improves) morning and night.

How to Cluster Pump:

Cluster pumping is meant to mimic a baby cluster feeding to initiate the increase in supply and demand.

To correctly cluster pump, you will be pumping for several hours throughout the entire day in short intervals.

There is no exact science to this method of pumping, but here is a sample schedule to give you a better idea of how it would look.

7am Pump for 5 to 15 min. / 7:30am Pump for 10min. / 8:30am Pump for 5-10min. / 9:00am Pump for 5 min. – so on and so forth.

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Conclusion

Let’s recap what we learned about low milk supply and what can be done to conquer and turn it around!

Your diet, the foods and herbs you eat and are exposed to may be contributing to your low milk supply.

If you are nursing and believe your milk supply may be low – remember these tips and ideas before you panic!

If you are exclusively pumping and worried that milk supply may be low, you can try these solutions listed below.

Before you go…

Get prepared for breastfeeding before your baby arrives in the comfort of your home with an online breastfeeding course. 

This is a great option for removing and eliminating some of the milk supply and breastfeeding hardships covered in this post.

Read Next: Does Mother’s Milk Tea Work to Increase Milk Supply?

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The content of this website is for informational and entertainment purposes only. This isn't medical advice and if someone relies on it to their detriment, I am not liable.