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    Home ›› 5 Signs your milk supply is decreasing

    Home ›› 5 Signs your milk supply is decreasing

    3 signs your milk supply is decreasing (and what to do about it!)


    4 min. read


    While 68% of women start breastfeeding, 20% stop between 6 and 8 weeks after birth.1 Breastfeeding for at least 6 months is recommended,2 while 2 years is ideal,3 and being able to overcome issues such as low breast milk supply will help mothers be more successful in their breastfeeding journey.


    Here we’ll explore everything you need to know about decreasing milk supply including: 


    • Two signs your milk supply is decreasing
    • Three false indicators of a decreasing milk supply
    • 8 low milk supply causes
    • Five tips to increase low milk production
    • Using combination feeding to help if you’re not producing enough milk


    Read to discover our simple guide to low breast milk supply, so you and your baby can move forward with a happy, successful, feeding journey.

    Three signs your milk supply is decreasing


    Spotting changes in your supply will help you ensure your baby is getting sufficient nourishment. Here’s how to know if your milk supply is low:


    1. Your baby doesn’t wee or poo as much. If your milk supply has dropped, and your baby is not getting enough at each feed, you will notice their output (how often they wee and poo) will also drop.
    2. Your baby loses weight rapidly. Whilst it is completely normal for your baby’s weight to fluctuate, rapid weight loss, particularly if combined with lower output, is one of the signs of low milk supply.
    3. Your baby is dehydrated. Signs that your baby is not getting enough milk include dehydration. A baby with a dry mouth, dark urine, or jaundice, could be dehydrated.

    Top tip: Has your milk supply dropped? It’s important to know how much milk your baby needs to ensure they are getting enough. Check out our simple guide to how much your newborn should drink for all the information you need.

    Three false indicators of a decreasing milk supply


    As well as signs of low milk supply, there are also indicators which you may think are associated with decreasing milk supply but aren’t:


    1. You don’t leak milk. While leaking is a common indicator of let-down, not everyone who breastfeeds will leak.
    2. It’s hard to express milk. Some individuals find expressing breastmilk difficult, especially if their baby is feeding a lot or their breasts are engorged.
    3. Baby wants to feed a lot. Babies do settle into a breastfeeding schedule, but this can change. For example, during growth spurts or when they are teething.

    8 low milk supply causes


    Now you know the signs your milk supply is dropping, let’s explore the low milk supply causes:4


    1. Your baby is not latching on properly.
    2. You are not feeding your baby often enough.
    3. Recreational activities such as alcohol, smoking, and drug use.5
    4. If you have had breast surgery in the past.6
    5. When you are feeling under the weather.
    6. Medications such as dopamine, ergotamine, and pyridoxine.7
    7. High levels of stress and anxiety.8
    8. Spending time away from your baby, for example, if they have to stay in hospital.

    What you need

    Five tips to increase low milk production


    It’s easier than you think to increase your milk supply. Here are five simple tips to increase low milk production:


    1. Feed on demand. It is completely normal to breastfeed 8-12 times in 24 hours.9 Rather than trying to stick to a strict schedule, follow your baby’s cues and feed them when they’re hungry.
    2. Check your baby’s latch. For advice, speak to your midwife or a local breastfeeding consultant. They will be able to help you ensure your baby is in the correct position for feeding and latching on properly.10
    3. Empty both breasts at every feed. When they finish on each side, offer the other side. If they don’t empty the breast, hand express or use a breast pump to draw out any remaining milk. This will signal to your body to make more.
    4. Express your milk. Using a breast pump to express breastmilk in between feeds can help to build up your milk supply. 

      Top tip: With the Philips Avent electric breast pump and its quick and comfortable pumping, you can express more milk in less time* and help increase your milk supply. Consistency is key, so express when you’re at home and on the go to maintain your supply.11

    5.  Look after yourself. Getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and eating well will help to maintain a good milk supply.

    Using combination feeding to help if you’re not producing enough milk


    For some, deciding to combi-feed is a great way to ensure your baby is fed enough. Here’s how you can use combination feeding to help if you’re not producing enough milk:


    • Expressing your milk can help to build your supply, as well as give you a break from breastfeeding.
    • Choosing a bottle that mimics the breast will make the transition from breast to bottle and bottle to breast easier for your baby.


    Top tip: Philips Avent Natural Response baby bottles, available with or without AirFree Vent, in silicone or glass, are a great choice of BPA-free, anti-colic bottles that mimic the shape of the breast with a soft and flexible teat ideal for combination feeding. Mix and match the bottles and cup parts to create the product that works best for you.


    • Expressing while you feed your baby can help to increase and maintain your milk supply.
    • Only start to combination feed once your baby has an established breastfeeding routine.
    • Introduce bottles gradually to lower your risk of uncomfortable, swollen breasts, or mastitis.
    • Only introduce a bottle when your baby is calm and happy, not when they are upset, tired, or hungry.


    Top tip: Once you’ve started bottle feeding, make sure you know how to bottle feed the right way with our simple guide.


    With this guide, we’ve helped you understand the signs, causes, and tips to increase low breast milk supply. Whether you want to continue exclusively breastfeeding or choose to combi-feed, with the right support and steps you’ll be able to make a success of your parenting journey.


    * Based on milk flow initiation time (time to Milk Ejection Reflex — MER) results.

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