Illness and diminished milk supply

My daughter will be four-months-old this week and I have had a good breastfeeding relationship up until two weeks ago when became ill. My daughter is exclusively breastfed and I have never had a problem with supply until now. Ever since I have been sick, the amount of milk I produce has diminished. I work full-time and pump at work. My daughter nurses on demand and I pump in the evenings as well. Is there anything I can do to increase my milk supply?


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

I'm glad to hear you have enjoyed such a wonderful breastfeeding relationship with your daughter. There are several reasons you could be dealing with a diminished milk supply at this time:

  • During an illness, especially an extended illness with fever, you body could be slightly dehydrated, and that could be causing a decrease in your milk production.
  • Are you taking any medications? If you are taking a drug that contains antihistamines, as do many products sold to help relieve the symptoms of a cold, you might see a decrease in your milk supply. Are you taking birth control pills? They can reduce the milk supply in some nursing mothers.
  • Are you drinking herbal teas? Sage (often recommended by herbalists for sore throats and problems with congestion) and peppermint teas can reduce the milk supply.

Once you're back on the road to good health, most likely your milk supply will rebound. In the meantime:

  • Get lots of rest. Bring your baby to bed with you and allow her lots of access to your breasts. Frequent nursing is very important in rebuilding your milk supply.
  • Evaluate your use of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. Since medications for a cold only help to alleviate symptoms, you might want to consider doing without them.
  • Drink plenty of water. Bring a pitcher in and place next to your bed so it's easy to stay well hydrated while resting.
  • Look at your intake of tea. Even black tea is a diuretic, and you don't want to become dehydrated. Use common sense. If you are only having one weak cup of tea (herbal or otherwise) before bed each day, it is doubtful that this is affecting your supply, but if you are drinking one cup after another it could definitely be impacting your milk supply.

If you are still concerned about your baby's intake, keep an eye on the number of diapers she wets each day, and her stooling pattern. A healthy 3 month-old baby usually wets between 5 and 6 diapers each day, and has regular, substantial bowel movements. If her output starts falling below these levels you need to talk the situation over with your daughter's health care provider.

Need Advice?
Get answers from iVillage experts and other moms just like you!
Question Details
  1. Pick a subject:
Connect with 1,039,394 members just like you
Share your knowledge, ask questions.