Diminished supply due to medication?

I am a first time mom with a three-month-old boy. Deciding to breastfeed him turned out to be a tremendous undertaking and we are now encountering another bump in the road. Last week I was hospitalized for a few days and tried to pump regularly to keep my milk supply up. I was unable to nurse him at all for a few days because of medications I was receiving. I later found out that one of the medications they were giving me suppressed lactation and my milk supply is greatly diminished. I am also trying hard to rebuild my supply he becomes very fussy during feedings and sometimes screams until I give him a bottle. Have things gone so far that I am going to have to wean him altogether? I think that breastfeeding has been one of the most wonderful things I have ever decided to do. It has been well worth all the difficulties thus far.


Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It is wonderful that you were able to work through early difficulties with breastfeeding and go on to establish a great nursing relationship with your son. Sorry that you've hit another "bump in the road." Hang in there. Although I don't know what medication you were given in the hospital that decreased your milk supply, this should not cause lasting problems, or necessitate weaning your baby from your breast.

If your supply decreased over a period of just several days to a week, it should not be too late to turn things around and get your baby (happily) back to your breast. Can you take a couple of days and spend it resting with your baby? Get in bed with your baby (probably a good idea after just returning from the hospital) and allow him lots of skin-to-skin contact. He may want to spend a lot of time nursing. Allow him to finish the first breast offered, and come off on his own, before offering the other side. Frequent nursing should build your supply back to the level he needs within about 3 days. In the meantime, increasing the frequency of feeds will allow him to get the amount of milk he needs. Since he has been refusing to nurse at some feeds, this nursing vacation may help to gently coax him back to your breast, while giving you the rest that you need.

If is still refusing to nurse, as you are gentling him back to your breast, it will be necessary to express your milk for each feed that is missed. If using a single pump, spend about 20 to 30 minutes, changing sides as the flow slows to a trickle. If double-pumping you will only need to spend about 15 minutes expressing your milk. Wishing you a speedy recovery, with your baby contentedly back at your breast!

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