Hi all. I'm 20 weeks pregnant and nearly positive that my milk has dried up. DS is 19 months and is only nursing once per day (his choice, not mine) and has been doing that for the last few months. Occasionally he'll ask to nurse before bed, but it's almost exclusively a first thing in the morning routine now. This pregnancy was a surprise, and we didn't intend to try for another until DS was 2 because I wanted to make certain he got at least 2 years of breastmilk. I knew that bm often dries up or changes in taste during pregnancy and I didn't want to risk that happening. But, of course, I can't do anything about that now (not that I regret this pregnancy by any means, its just that it wasn't my plan). My question is, then, is there anything I can do to bring my milk back safely during pregnancy? I tried making him nurse more frequently and he wasn't having any of that! I will, of course, talk to my midwife (who is also a LC) before making any final decisions, but I'm hoping to hear some ideas that I can discuss with her. Also, if it turns out that nothing can be done, what should I give DS as a substitute? Or does he even really need anything extra? He eats very well, very balanced most of the time, so I don't think there is anything lacking there. I attempted to discuss this with his pediatrician but she was really of no help. She recommended whole milk, but I don't really feel comfortable giving him that, seeing as how it is meant to grow a 1000lbs, small brained, four legged animal, not a human. No offense to those who drink milk, I just have a personal opposition to it.
I apologize if this is a common question. I did a search but couldn't anything that answered my question exactly.
Thanks so much.
I really don't know but I'm pretty sure there's nothing you can do. Your body needs the resources and energy normally used to produce milk to grow a small human being, so it is natural and good that your milk dried up.
As far as I understand past a year old, or the time when a child starts eating a lot, they get almost all their nutrition from food. I look at my milk as a bonus, sort of like a vitamin...nice but not really necessary if you are eating a balanced whole-foods based diet. Unless your child has specific health problems I really don;t think you need to give them anything. I know many toddlers who were weaned at 12-18 months without any additional supplements and were very healthy.
Oh, one more thing: due to health complications my friend had to suddenly wean her then-18 month old daughter and immediately after noticed she started eating WAY more than she had when she was nursing, to make up for the lost nutrition from breastmilk. You may notice this with your child and that too would be natural and good....
Mama since 2010
Multicultural living in Europe
I don't really think there is anything you can do. This is a normal part of pregnancy for many woman. I had the exact same experience (20w pregnant; 22m weaned quickly and without issue). I know it can feel sad. And most toddlers will self-wean at this point. The rare kid who dry nurses through pregnancy and/or pregnant woman who keeps a milk supply is quite rare, although they sometimes appear on these boards.
You can choose to give a nutritious beverage (cow's milk, soy, coconut) if you want but it isn't necessary for his health if he eats a healthy diet. Our mainstream ped wasn't concerned in the least. Cow's milk isn't some magic health pill. We do eat dairy and the kids do eat cheese and yogurt.
I'm just a hair over 23w with my second and my 20 month old is still nursing. I feel like my milk dried up sometime ago but my son still insists on nursing. (I actually had no idea there was a term such as "dry nursing" so thanks, JudiAU, for mentioning that!) I'm planning on just letting DS do what he wants--if it's to continue to nurse, then I'll let him continue to nurse. If he stops, then he stops. I always thought we'd wean when he was ready, so the ball is still in his court. :)
Like the others, I am pretty sure it's normal during pregnancy for your milk to dry up. That being said, I've also read of stories of women whose children weaned during a pregnancy only to want to start again when the new baby arrives.
In the meantime, as long as your DS is eating mostly well-balanced meals/snacks, I wouldn't stress too much.
Good luck, mama!
More frequent nursing and galactogogues (spelling??) like oats, hops, and fenugreek *might* bring back a dwindling supply, but the progesterone in pregnancy counteracts lactation so it could be a big challenge.
Yup. One other thing is to make sure that you are well hydrated--- it's amazing how big of a difference that can make. Other than that, all you can reallly do is make sure he understand he can nurse and encourage him to do so (at 19 months I would make sure you were offerring at least every couple hours during the day so it is on his mind: "don't offer, don't refuse" is a weaning technique at that age and many children will wean though no yet ready to).
As for nutrition, I think the common advice is that children need a full fat milk source until *at least* two. For most Americans, that full fat milk source is cow's milk. Ideal? No, but better than most other alternatives. Some people like goats milk. You need to be very careful with picking a non-animal based "milk" because at that age it should be full fat.