I have dealt with oversupply issues with DS, so this is a shock to me. DD is growing fine, but recently, letdown doesn't come after 20 seconds like it used to, but u to 2-3 minutes into nursing. I also feel like my supply is lower than before. I got my first PP period last week and assume it has to do with it. I'm drinking 5 quarts of water per day and taking LOTS of fennugreek but don't see any improvement. I'm thinking of renting a hospital grade pump to pump 5 minutes after each nursing session to provide additional stimulation? What do you think? Any hints? I'm scared like crazy I might be loosing my milk.
I've dealt with slow letdown before. And it's frustrating. It's especially frustrating because it seems like the more you worry about it, the worse it gets, because the stress can inhibit the letdown reflex. Pumping mamas go through this, too-- when they begin to think they're not pumping enough, the added worry inhibits how much they're able to let down for the pump, which in turn makes the problem worse.
It's important to remember that letdown is a reflex with a strongly psychological component to it. It can be conditioned-- trained, if you will. I trained mine once, accidentally, to respond to one page of my Dr. Sears Baby Book, the one where he describes the process of letdown. I would find myself having trouble lettting down, and in frustration I'd reach for the book. Then once, just as I was reading that page, the letdown happened to occur. Soon, every time it was slow, I'd open to that page, start reading, and Whammo! there would be the milk.
My point is that routines and little rituals can really help. If you start to make a habit, whenever you can, of doing things in the same order each time-- sit in the same place, say the same words to baby, drink a glass of water before you begin, put on the same music-- having those little habits can start to condition the reflex to happen more easily. Also, does your baby fuss and thrash around when the letdown is slow? I've come to believe that the thrashing and fussing is the way that babies encourage a faster letdown. Switch nursing can also help-- that's when you switch sides multiple times during a single feed. It's a classic supply-increasing technique.
I always did find that my supply dipped during my period, once my period had returned. My DS used to take two hours to fall asleep, the first few days of my period. But it always seemed to rebound after a few days, especially if I kept on letting him nurse frequently.
I think it's extremely unlikely that you're losing your milk. It doesn't just dry up with no explanation.
I wouldn't go overboard with the hydration. Enough is great for supply, but too much can have the opposite effect. Drink to satisfy your thirst, but there's no reason to go crazy with it.
I really wish I could be of more help. I do wish you the best, though. I know it's easy for me to say relax, since it's not me that's struggling- but really, relaxing may be the answer, so if you can find some way to take your mind off it while you're nursing, that may help.
Best of luck!
I also had oversupply but saw my supply dip during my period. I sometimes suspected too that my kids had learned to be lazy due to the oversupply so even a normal flow might have seemed slow to them. Either way, there was more fussing. I treated it like a growth spurt and just let them nurse more often.
I have also read that a calcium/magnesium supplement can help with low supply due to menstruation. Of course check with your doctor. This is not something I tried, but just something I ran across when trying to find info for someone else in the same situation.
Thanks! I think DD might have had a growth spurt on top of my period. My letdown is now back to normal, especially if I breathe in deeply and exhale just like during meditation. It helps a lot. I even had some engorgement over the weekend and DD had huge pooplosions which hint me to think she ate extra.
I did buy a supplement though for nursing (Vitanica) and I stopped coffee completely. I agree with the PP about being lazy, when I first notice my letdown I actually spray out milk, DD doesn't need to suck, just swallow... She might be somewhat "spoiled" by that and then get fussy if she has to "work for her milk".