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Breastfeeding Magazine

Milk Extraction, menstruation and decreased milk supply



by April Brand
(Wiggins, MS)


Visitor Question: My daughter, who is 10 weeks old, would not latch very well whenever i tried and I had to return to work after 6 weeks maternity leave so for the first 4 weeks of her life I pumped every 2-3 hours, expressing appx. 6 oz per session.

My husband or myself would then feed her the expressed milk in a bottle. At about week 5 I increased my time to 3-4 hours between pumping and was expressing about 7-8 oz each session. Well at week 6 I got my period and I’m not talking about a little bit of spotting, I’m talking heavy flow for 3 days then moderate for 2 then spotting for another 2 days. I returned to work at week 6 and have been pumping every 3 to 3.5 hours but for some reason my milk supply has diminished dramatically. By dramatically I mean that I’m lucky to get 3 ounces from both breasts. I have been taking a fenugreek tincture for about a week and a half and it seems to be doing no good. I was supposed to get my period yesterday or today but have not gotten it yet.

My question is multi-part
1. Why would I get my period so soon, especially since I have been exclusively pumping since day 3?

2. Is there any correlation between menstruation and decreased milk supply?

3. What, if anything, can I do to increase my milk supply to at least match my daughters appetite? She eats 4 ounces every 2-2.5 hours.

Breastfeeding Magazine Response:
Most moms will have their periods return when they stop the “around the clock” nursing, there is less time spent at the breast (or pump) or their baby starts replacing breast milk with some solid foods. This could also be the reason for your decreased milk supply.

However, some moms do notice a temporary drop in breast milk supply for a few days right before their periods each month due to hormone changes, but then things usually return to normal quickly.

Our best advice is to increase the fenugreek and pump as often as possible.

Also, continue to pump even after you are no longer getting much (or any) milk. This will signal to your body to start making more.

Your daughter is beautiful.

Good luck!

Comments for
Milk Extraction, menstruation and decreased milk supply

Thank you by: April Brand

Thank you for the quick response. I have ordered more fenugreek but this time it is in a capsule form so maybe I won’t have to choke it down. The three suggestions that you mentioned as to why my menses started so soon do not apply to my situation. I still pump around the clock, I wake up at midnight and 3 AM to pump. I’m have been trying some relaxation techniques and they seem to help about a quarter of the time. I am always open to suggestions from you and your readers though. I hope to supply my daughter with breast milk till she is at least 6 months but am praying to be able to last throughout her first year. And thank you for the compliment, I think she’s beautiful too!! ( But I’m her mom!)

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