Milk Extraction, menstruation and decreased milk supply
by April Brand
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.