Breastfeeding Difficulties: Milk Supply Limit

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Did you know some women simply have a milk supply limit, making it impossible for them to exclusively breastfeed for an undetermined amount of time? Read this post for details. 

mother nursing baby

I am so excited to have a guest post by my good friend, Kelli. Kelli and I have known each other since Jr. High. We also went to the same university and both majored in English (she in English Teaching and me in Technical Writing).

Kelli’s oldest child is about 9 months younger than Brayden and she is a Babywise mom. Kelli has such a great understanding of the theory of Babywise, and she has always been my person to talk theory with. Thanks Kelli!


When expecting my first child, I planned that I would breastfeed, as suggested, for one year. However, when my first son was about four months old he began to be less satisfied after eating. He would empty both sides each feeding, and still be wanting more. Most of the time he would cry for a while after he was done.

At first, I assumed he was just having a growth spurt. I cut back from 3 to 3 ½ hour intervals between feedings to 2 ½, but after almost a week, he was becoming increasingly upset and not sleeping well.

Read: Hunger Cues: How To Know if Baby is Hungry

I called my pediatrician and told him what was going on. He said some women (many in fact) only produce a certain amount of milk, and that once that became insufficient for the baby it was time to supplement with formula. He said this was not merely a growth spurt or a diet problem on my part. He suggested that I continue to breastfeed, but offer a bottle as well after each feeding.

This was upsetting at the time because, of course, I felt disappointed that I would have to use formula, and a bit like a failure. However, once I finally got my son to take the bottle he was much more satisfied and happy. The doctor also assured me at my next visit that I had done well and that I had solely breastfed through the most important months. He said even if I had to quit altogether at four months that at this point calories was calories for the baby. I was able to continue giving breast and bottle feedings until my son was about seven months old. At that point he found the bottle to be more convenient and weaned himself.

On my second son, knowing the problem would come, I pumped and gave bottles weekly so he would know how to take one when the need arose. I also took fenugreek (a natural supplement said to increase milk supply) daily. My second son did go until five or six months before needing the formula supplement, but I’m not sure if that was just because he required less, or because I introduced solids sooner, or that the fenugreek worked. Perhaps it was a combination. He went until about nine months old before he rejected the breast.

Milk Supply Limit pinnable image


How To Increase Your Milk Supply

To other mothers who may be experiencing this, I have a few suggestions.

The first is to make use of fenugreek, get rest, drink enough, and do all those things that we know help milk supply. Most importantly, though, is to recognize that the problem is real and to be willing to give your baby the nourishment he/she needs by supplementing.

A good friend of mine who is a nurse practitioner in a family practice says that she often sees this problem and is so frustrated with mothers who allow babies to experience discomfort and lose weight because they are opposed to formula feeding. Yes, breast is best, but not at the expense of baby’s health and comfort.


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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias
    September 16, 2009 / 4:19 PM

    I'm curious whether Kelli was ever tested for a thyroid issue? A similar thing happened to me and so I went to my doctor, not the pediatrician, because I had other physical symptoms as well, such as fatigue, irritability and weight loss. She ran blood tests for all sorts of vitamin deficiencies, and a thyroid test. Turns out I had Postpartum Thyroiditis, a pretty common condition that often goes undiagnosed because its' symptoms are written off as a result of having a new baby. It usually starts 2-4 months after birth and becomes worse before switching to hypothyroidism for a few months, then evening out by the 1 year mark. It is also known to cause breastfeeding problems. Some women who have thyroid issues before getting pregnant are never able to successfully breastfeed 100%. However, with medication the thyroid issue can be managed and milk supply should come back in that case. And I totally agree that supplementing is not evil 🙂 Tobias was happily mostly breastfed and probably 10-25% supplemented with formula until I weaned him at 9 months. Babywise actually has good tips for successfully supplementing without causing a further drop in milk supply for breastfeeding mothers.

  2. Megan D
    September 16, 2009 / 4:50 PM

    Thank you for discussing this Kelli. I had a simular situation with my daughter, with a few exceptions. She really wasn't that fussy after eating or showing signs of hunger. At about 6 months we went to the Dr. for something else and I learned that she had lost almost a pound. I would encourage moms to frequently weigh your baby at home to make sure they are continuing to gain weight. I did not do this. I started to take fenugreek again and make sure that I got enough water and ate enough.She will NOT take the bottle and she is sensative to milk & soy so I could not do traditional formula. What we did was increase her solid food feedings to three times a day at 6 months and I contined to breast feed her 5 times a day. The downfall to this is she wakes up in the early morning for a feeding again but I would rather have her "catch up" on her weight gain than sleep through the night. I just wanted to add my experinace since this issue will not alwasy be accompanied by fussiness after feeding.

  3. Elise and Lane
    September 16, 2009 / 6:50 PM

    Thanks Kelli! I had almost the exact same experience and none of my friends could really relate. Although I planned to go a year it didn't work out either- but in the end my daughter turned out healthy, happy and fine!

  4. Emily
    September 16, 2009 / 7:23 PM

    I need some advice and this post makes me think that this is a good place to ask…I nurse my son (6 months old) and often give him a bottle of expressed milk then pump for that missed feeding. Since he's been eating solids he eats a TON of them (just introduced them less than a month ago and he's already finishing 2 jars and would eat more if I let him). When I give him a bottle then pump I'm pumping MUCH less than I did pre-solids. He would consistently drink an 8 oz bottle before and since starting solids I'm getting out less and less (7 oz, then 6 oz, now barely 6). I always nurse him BEFORE offering solids and he has started to be more fussy at the breast like he's frustrated. I called a lactation specialist and she said not to worry, but my gut tells me something is up. Any advice? I know breastmilk (or formula) is the BEST thing right now and that he needs the most nurishment from his liquids but I feel like he's eating more and more solids and then seems to be taking in less and less liquid! Any advice would be WONDERFUL!!!! thanks!!!!

  5. powdergds
    September 16, 2009 / 8:12 PM

    At around 4 months I also began having milk supply issues. Unfortunately, my son refused formula. (The next baby will get some formula from the get-go – I didn't even think of that until I read about it on this blog and it was too late!)I tried several different brands and consulted my pediatrician for ideas. None of them worked. She said that he would eventually get hungry enough and take it, but I wanted to exhaust my other options before putting him through that. So, I read, read, and read some more about milk supply. Bottom line – I had to empty my breasts more often. We were on a three hour schedule at the time, so I started pumping in between feedings and then feeding that pumped milk to my son after nursing. I also kept up the dreamfeed longer than he probably needed it and added a 1:30 am pumping (he had been STTN for a couple months)and woke him to feed him at 5:00am (normal morning waketime is 8:00). After 6 LONG days of this, my supply was back where I needed it to be and I had a MUCH happier baby. He is 6 mo now – I have dropped the dreamfeed, but still pump at that time. I also still pump at 1:30am and wake him to feed him at 5:00am and put him right back to bed. Becasue of my supply issues, I have accepted the fact that a four-hour schedule is not realistic for us as long as I'm nursing, and that's okay. A book that I found very helpful is The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk by West and Marasco. Like most breastfeeding books, it is very anti-schedule, but the basic information is fabulous. You just have to ignore the "we hate babywise" section. 🙂 Also, I have been taking More Milk Plus herbal suppliment made by Motherlove Herbal Compmany. It has proven to be more effective for me than Fenugreek alone. For those prone to milk supply issues, it's hard to find a balance between the principles of Babywise (which I stand by 100%!) and the fundamentals of lactation (more feedings = more milk). However, it IS possible to unite them both and have a happy, healthy, breastfed baby. Hope this helps someone out there!

  6. Ben and Jenny
    September 16, 2009 / 8:40 PM

    This post comes at a perfect time for me. My daughter is now 7 months and we have been supplementing with breastmilk or formula after her 11:00 and 3:00 and 7pm feedings for the past month. I work 2 days/week and noticed when I was pumping that my supply was going way down. She has always been a fast nurser (5 min/side) and I actually had to hold her head to get her to nurse more than 2 min. She would get impatient and not wait for let down. I think she began to like the speed and ease of the bottle. ANd shorter nursing periods has led to less milk. I have been fighting guilt about not making it to a year. As an athlete, everything in me wants to make it to the "finish". Thanks for helping me to wean with a little less guilt.

  7. Redheads
    September 17, 2009 / 2:52 AM

    This happened to me right around 4 months!! I also had a sudden medical condition (unrelated) and had to stop BF immediately to take medicine. I truly think that I am one that can only produce so much milk. I always wondered if it was because my breasts are extremely samll (barely A cups!). I know they say that size doesn't matter in breastfeeding, but I think if the woman has EXTREMELY small breasts, than she is limited. Also, my breasts never grew or swelled during pregnancy. Not until after birth did they enlarge.Thanks for sharing. Next time, I will do the Fenugreek as well and be ready to supplement.

  8. Kelly
    September 17, 2009 / 3:53 AM

    Thanks for sharing your story! After my twins were two months old my husband finally said that trying to nurse them was going to make me go crazy. We both agreed to stop. It was such a hard decision. I cried and cried (after many lactation visits). I hated reading "breast is best" as if I were giving my girls second best. It is something I still grieve but in the bigger picture I am thankful for formula that allowed my children to grow and thrive.

  9. Jenn
    September 17, 2009 / 3:58 AM

    Thanks so much for this post. It is so easy to feel guilt when breastfeeding doesn't go as planned. I had lots of issues breastfeeding my son and tried everything suggested and struggled through for 6 months. I always said that I would do it different the next time around and not feel guilty for having to supplement. Now here I am with a 4 1/2 month old who seems to be eating every 2 hours and yet not quite fulfilled. I have taken my own advice and supplemented with a bottle before she goes down at night. Reading your post and some of the comments was just what I needed to be reminded that there are so many other women out there with a similar problem. Time to put the guilt aside and do what's best for my growing baby girl. Thanks!

  10. akhughes
    September 17, 2009 / 1:31 PM

    this could have been me writing this post as I had almost the exact same experience! (mine starting quitting at 5 months) even now, it's still a little hard to know that BF is done with my little guy and I DREAD being asked by people! but in the end, I know that he is getting the nutrition he needs and that is definitely the most important thing. It is hard to explain to people that BF for a year or more though! I took fenugreek & pumped 4x a day for 6 weeks trying to get it back. in the end, I had to realize I had done all I could. I am glad to know I'm not the only one who this happened to!

  11. ym
    September 17, 2009 / 3:57 PM

    Thank you SO much for this post. I have had a similar experience starting at about 3.5 months. I have been trying everything to increase my supply and have often felt alone and frustrated because my other b-feeding friends didn't seem to have this problem at all! I'm glad to know that there are others who have experienced this! Thank you, thank you! 🙂

  12. becca & nathan
    September 17, 2009 / 4:44 PM

    Thank you for sharing your experience, however I do have to disagree with your doctor, based upon all of the literature on breastfeeding that is out there. Well, actually, maybe he is correct that there are SOME women who can't produce enough milk. However, though I agree with many Babywise principles, I think that their breastfeeding advice is incomplete and often just wrong. This is why so many people have an issue with Babywise, because it does seem to encourage a drop in milk production between 3-6 months, which contributes to early weaning in many situations. I just think that people need to look honestly at the breastfeeding information out there before deciding that their body is in some way "defective". In my own experience, I had supply issues around 6 months and had to also add back a dreamfeed and feed before and after naps in order to successfully breastfeed to a year and beyond, as recommended by the AAP.

  13. Aprile
    September 17, 2009 / 6:08 PM

    I agree with "becca." I too have had issues and did a LOT of research. The percentage of women who have milk supply issues related to a medical condition or a physical limitation is VERY small. It's true that one of the weaknesses of babywise is how it does not take into account basic priciples of lactation. There is the token "keep tabs of your milk supply and add a feeding if necessary" here and there, but that's the extent of the discussion in books 1 and 2. For many babywise moms, milk supply is no problem (I wish I was part of that group!). For those who for whatever reason are prone to milk supply issues, it's a big challenge. I would be very interested in a poll of how many babywise moms experience milk supply issues around 4-6 months. I would not be surprised if it was SIGNIFICANTLY more than women who are not so structured with their feeding times. By the way, I am a big fan of Babywise and don't intend to sound like I'm knocking it. However, if I had stuck with it doing things completely "by the book" I would have had to stop exclusively breastfeeding much earlier than I wanted to. I HATED admitting that the "crazy demand-feeding laction people" (how I have affectionately referred to lactation specialists in the past)were right about how to sustain a good milk supply, but once I did, I got things back to where they needed to be and, Lord willing, will make it to the one year mark nursing exclusively. There was no way I was going to give up on Babywise, but I did have to "tweak" it a bit. My son will eat every 3 hours until he's weaned and sometimes he "snacks" because I need to get an extra feeding in even though I'm not very full. Don't send the Babywise police after me – it's what I have to do to keep my boy well fed. 🙂 I love the blog – thanks so much for all of the MUCH NEEDED information!

  14. Michael and Natalie
    September 17, 2009 / 7:12 PM

    I agree with Rachel. My doctor informed me that the percentage of woman who actually suffer from having insufficient milk worldwide is less than 2%. More nursing does equal more milk. Also, I don't think "calories are calories" is necessarily a fair way to compare formula to milk. As I'm reading the ingredients to Enfail it reads, "Reduced Minerals Whey, Nonfat Milk, Vegetable Oil (Palm Olein, Soy, Coconut, and High Oleic Sunflower Oils), Lactose," and continued with "less than 1% of the following". The third ingredient is vegetable oil. That isn't the same as what's coming out of the breast, especially since breastfeeding passes along antibodies to whatever illnesses I am currently exposed to, along with those I've already had. To truly determine whether or not there is a lack of milk requires physical and blood tests. All that being said, formula is not evil. If I had had a baby diagnosed with failure to thrive I wouldn't have thought twice about supplementing with formula. However, feeding an older baby every 2.5 hours or 3 hours instead of four hours will not necessarily keep them from sleeping through the night. We all know babies who don't follow any sort of schedule and sleep through the night. After a certain age, I believe 2-3 months, a baby who has been growing steadily and reached 11 pounds is metabolically able to sleep through the night. It is as much a function of the brain as of the stomach. I fast once a month and do not awaken hungry in the middle of the night because I haven't consumed enough calories during the day.If one chooses to formula feed instead of breastfeed, that is not a moral choice. To me it's like the choice to use a substitute that is almost perfect and much more convenient. But I just don't feel it's exactly the same thing with exactly the same benefits.

  15. Michael and Natalie
    September 17, 2009 / 7:13 PM

    I mean Aprile 🙂 I agree with Aprile.

  16. LC
    September 18, 2009 / 12:40 AM

    Well I have never liked BF and only pumped for the first several weeks for both my kids. People just need to relax and realize that the most important thing is that your baby is growing or thriving. This cult our culture is building is ridiculous. Wet nurses at one time were around to help out with issues such these. We should be thankful formula is available if things don't work out. Even though both my kids were primarily formula fed they have been healthy with no problems at all….so chillax and enjoy your well-fed baby.

  17. Julia
    September 18, 2009 / 11:41 AM

    thank you for sharing this. i think i am going thru this right now. i nursed my daughter for 6 months. now with my son, he is 8 months and I'm just not producing alot. i have to pump at work and I'm only pumping 2-3 ounces (he drinks a 6-7 ounce bottle). i've been taking fenugreek for a long time, probably 4 months. i just don't think my body is used to nursing this long because i only went 6 months with my daughter.he IS very interested in solids, so he gets alot of nutrition from that, but i know at times i have to give him a bottle after he nurses.Luckily we have some frozen milk, so hopefully that will get us thru to a year.

  18. SAmom
    September 19, 2009 / 7:41 AM

    I have the same problem – the bedtime feed my daughter drinks for a minute on each breast and then starts moaning and crying. My let down OR milk supply is probably the culprit, but only at this feed. When I give her some expressed BM she gladly drinks it, which supports my suspicion. Now if one pumps in the morning and give it to her after she attempted BF, would your body get the message to make more milk AT NIGHT or only IN THE MORNING – how does it work? It feels so wrong to give her EBM. If I would stop that she would probably wake up 3 h later, demanding a feed again, which on the one hand may stimulate the body to produce more milk at night?Why is it, according to the posts above that BW kills your supply? It is not as if we BW moms ever refuse our babies milk? Is it because of what I am describing here? It feels as if STTN does decrease my supply – as soon as she starts STTN, after ±3 nights things go back to one or two night feeds again, which obviously means I am losing my supply, right?

  19. Michael and Natalie
    September 20, 2009 / 1:18 AM

    I think what saved my milk supply was from the day I dropped the dream feed (at 12 weeks) until I started to prepare for weaning her (10.5 months) I pumped EVERY night without fail, always, at 10:30 pm. As soon as I dropped that pumping session my milk supply decreased incredibly. I started to dry up almost within the next few days. You might want to consider starting to pump at that session to see if you can increase your supply.

  20. SAmom
    September 20, 2009 / 9:56 AM

    Thanks for the advice, "Michael and Natalie". I will start pumping tonight before bedtime. I just battle to pump at night, at least to get a significant quantity.

  21. Michael and Natalie
    September 20, 2009 / 1:25 PM

    When I first started to pump, I would get maybe 1.5 oz on the left and maybe less than 1 oz on the right. By the end I could get almost 3 oz per side, at least. I just have to warn you that it is so tedious to pump EVERY night like that, but I believe its what kept my daughter from self weaning.

  22. Drews*Mama
    September 21, 2009 / 12:45 AM

    Thanks Kelli and Hello Val! 🙂 I have an 8-month-old son…I also had the problem of my milk supply dropping, I think around 6 months. I just thought he was hungry bc it was time to start solids. After a few weeks and many visits to the Lac Cons, we realized he was only getting 2.5-3 oz a feeding. I tried More Milk Plus, but it didn't work and I was worried about him not getting enough. (The only strange thing was that he didn't seem to ever lose weight?) Anyway, I finally started taking Reglan, a prescription drug for stomach problems but was found to increase milk production, per my Lact Cons's suggestion. That along with nursing every 3 hours for a week began helping immediately. It's about a 4-5 week process, 100 pills, but the doctor said I may end up having to take it again if I want to finish out his first year. It's supposed to be safe for the baby and has no side effects for short-term use, but I still wonder if it really is ok. ??? I know that you're not a doctor 🙂 but I just wanted to hear your thoughts on this.Thanks!Laura

  23. Plowmanators
    October 2, 2009 / 3:23 AM

    Manda, I am not sure if she was. Did you know that you can have a thyroid issue that makes it so you basically never lose your milk? I was talking to my neighbor the other day and she has that. She has six kids and has never lost her milk! Even after they are weaned.

  24. Plowmanators
    October 2, 2009 / 3:25 AM

    Thanks for sharing Megan! I like what you said about preferring her to catch up than to STTN. I think that is a wise choice.

  25. Plowmanators
    October 2, 2009 / 3:29 AM

    Emily,I would try pumping more to get more stimulation. Most babies at 6 months won't sit and suck on the breast in order to stimulate production–there are much better things to do! So I would pump either right after each nursing or before you go to bed just to stimulate.You can also try taking fenugreek or other herbal treatments. Be sure you get enough rest, water, healthy foods, etc. Another thing to consider is that many women just can't pump as much as baby gets older. I don't know if that is because there is less to pump or becuase of something else…but it isn't that uncommon.

  26. Plowmanators
    October 2, 2009 / 3:31 AM

    Thanks for sharing powdergds! You are certainly dedicated!

  27. Plowmanators
    October 2, 2009 / 3:32 AM

    I am glad it was helpful, Ben and Jenny 🙂

  28. Plowmanators
    October 2, 2009 / 3:34 AM

    Kelly, so true. It is so great that formula is out there so babies all have a shot!

  29. Plowmanators
    October 2, 2009 / 3:35 AM

    Jenn, I am glad it helped you out!

  30. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 3:36 AM

    akhughes, it does happen to quite a few women!

  31. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 3:36 AM

    You are welcome YM!

  32. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 3:50 AM

    Becca and Nathan,I am not sure what literature you are referring to? The literature I have (published literature) is in line with the doctor here.

  33. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 4:05 AM

    Aprile, I, too, would be interested in such a poll if it were done blindly and without prejudice. Actually, in breastfeeding support groups I am in online (that are anti-scheduling), there is a high number of mothers who have supply issues at 4-6 months (or seemingly). There are difficulties around age four months that apply to all babies, not just BW babies.Also, Babywise does say that there is the risk of milk supply issues for some women in following PDF. It is in the book. Also, it is in the book that you need to do what you as the parent think is best, so no need for the BW police 🙂

  34. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 4:10 AM

    Michael and Natalie, who says eating 2.5-3 hours prevents baby from STTN? I also fast once a month (except while pregnant and nursing) and don't wake hungry the next morning. BUT while I am pregnant or nursing, if I don't eat what I should in the day, I DO wake up early the next morning starving. That is definitely something to take note of because a baby is rapidly growing, so you can't necessarily compare hunger patterns of a grown adult to that of a growing baby.

  35. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 4:12 AM

    LC, I agree; we should be very glad formula is available so all babies can have a chance to be healthy 🙂 I love it…chillax

  36. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 4:13 AM

    You are welcome Julia!

  37. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 4:17 AM

    SA Mom,Some say to not give expressed milk from earlier in the day at night because that will interfere with milk supply (I believe I read this on Others say it is fine; the body is still producing it (I think this was from Healthy Sleep Habits?). Your body would only know to make more at night if you pumped more at night…not in the morning. Your baby sleeping through and then not sleeping through is not a sign of losing milk supply. This is a normal pattern for many babies. Some sleep through and never look back, but many go back and forth for a while.

  38. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 4:19 AM

    That is a good idea Michael and Natalie. I plan to do that when we drop the DF, though not for supply reasons. I don't have supply issues. But just to have a stockpile in the freezer. Oh, and the nursing mothers companion book says it is normal to pump 1.5 ounces per hour. So if it has been two hours since baby ate, you can expect to pump about 3 ounces.

  39. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 12:55 PM

    Laura, I have heard of lots of moms taking it, but I haven't ever researched it myself. My neighbor and good friend is a lactation consultant (la leche league member and anti-schedules 😉 ), I will ask her her thoughts on Reglan. She is very up to date on her research.

  40. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 1:23 PM

    For Beccan & Nathan, Aprile, and Michael and Natalie, I have been pondering things over the night and had a few points for you to consider. First, as I stated earlier, not only BW moms have difficulty with milk supply. I am a member of several breastfeedign support groups and see lots and lots of questions from moms losing milk supply, and these are demand-feeding moms. Second, I think it is highly possible that BW moms notice difficulties in lacation sooner than demand feeding moms. Since the BW mom is attempting to maintain a schedule, she will notice irregularities in her baby's eating pattern sooner than the mom who is feeding at random times. So statistically, it might not be that more BW moms have difficulty than demand feeding moms, just that they notice it more often/sooner (though I having seen anything that says more BW moms have difficulty at all). Third, so far as the 2% worldwide experience this genetic problem…I don't believe that statement in the least if it is given definitively. They might be able to say "we project that less than 2% worldwide…" and that I could consider, but not "less than 2% worldwide…" There is no way for them to know that without taking a fair sample of all cultures/genetics worldwide and applying that. That just seems an insurmountable task. Perhaps what the doctor has read (or heard) is only a projection and was not stating it as hard fact. Everything I have ever read on it has been a range (10-20%) because it is just too hard to know for sure what and who has it. There are going to be millions who never see a doctor at all about problems. They would have never been checked out. Even if the numbers are "only" 2%, that means there are still 2% of women out there who need to know this is a possibility. Continued…

  41. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 1:24 PM

    And fourth, I am currently reading Babywise book one again and have been paying special attention to the breastfeeding information. My belief is there are a lot of women who experience difficulty because they are not following the book precisely and are instead trying to follow what the "perceived" rules of BW are (things that float around the internet and through word of mouth). I will be doing a post on this when I am through the book and done taking my notes, but for now:1-I believe many moms resist growth spurts because they worry that they are getting "off schedule." I don't think these moms know it is growth sput and resist it, they just don't treat it as a growth spurt first. This hurts milk supply. 2-I believe there are also moms who don't follow all of the rules of BW for lactation. One example is making sure you wake your newborn at 5 hours in the night. I know that many women don't follow this. BW states that you need to do this to ensure milk supply.3-Others are anxious to have the 'perfect' BW baby and push things before baby is ready for it (things like STTN and the four hour schedule). BW says to not push the four hour schedule; there is no need to go there before baby is ready, and you need to follow baby's cues for it. Still, many women want to move to the four hour schedule despite baby showing all signs that he is not ready.4-Many erroneously start to assume that baby isn't sleeping well (or as well as they would like) due to some problem with their milk, so they start to supplement with formula. This starts a downward spiral. This is not something specific to BW parents; this is a common problem among BF moms who have access to formula.BW gives lots of guidelines to follow for milk supply and tells the mom to monitor supply closely. These are all rules I have followed to a T. I have never wanted to lose my supply. There are women who can have an adequate supply no matter what they do. They never lose their milk once they lactate for the first time. There are others who just can't maintain an adequate supply. I know moms on both ends of the spectrum (from all types of parenting) personally. Then there are moms who do just fine so long as they do the basic eat right, rest, water, get enough feedings, etc. There is just so much variance and so many factors to consider…it is hard to pinpoint exactly what contributes all around.Just things to ponder 🙂

  42. KC0521
    October 12, 2009 / 10:28 PM

    My little guy is almost 5 months old,I have been feeding him cereal and some solids ( carrots, applesauce, and sweet potatoes) with the cereal 3 times a day, along with nursing him 5-6 times a day. My question is this.. He has been waking up around 45-50 minutes into 2 of the three naps and is nirsing from both sides, even though he had just ate around an hour before.This is causing a disruption in his sleep time! Does it sound like I do not have enough milk for him when I nurse?! Should I try supplementing and see how that goes? His weight is in the 10-15% for his age and height. He seems so hungry when I feed him the solids- he has at least 1 tbsp and at least 1 jar of baby food. I just worry im not supplying him with enough breast milk.. any suggestions?

  43. SBA
    October 13, 2009 / 10:35 PM

    Thanks for this post! I am a BW mom to 3 kids, ages 4 yrs, 2 yrs, and 8 wks. I have low milk supply and have struggled a great deal with this in all 3 cases. My children stop gaining weight before they are a month old (or in the case our our infant, she never gained even 1 ounce when we were exclusively breastfeeding). I have done everything from fenugreek to supplemental nursing systems to ongoing lactation consultant meetings, etc. It's been heartbreaking.If and when you WANT to nurse your baby and can't, it can be hard to believe that formula feeding is the right route… but it is, and we must accept this as best for baby and ourselves. I recently blogged on this – specifically the emotional and spiritual components of accepting this – at Blessings,Susan

  44. Plowmanators
    November 11, 2009 / 5:58 AM

    KC0521, I can't really say from that information. I would talk to your pedi about it to get his/her take on the situation.

  45. Plowmanators
    November 11, 2009 / 5:59 AM

    Thanks Susan!

  46. Amber Saffo
    January 6, 2010 / 6:53 PM

    This post has been soo helpful to me. My little one is 5 months old and I am starting to lose my supply. Over the last month we have been moving to a 3.5 hr schedule. This is mainly b/c I don't get home quite in time for his after work feed, and then I was pumping again. I have started to add back in the night time pumping to help my supply. I think this weekend I am going to really focus on pumping/feeding more often and see if that helps. Also, I am not going to push him to a 4 hr schedule, which seemed to be the trend I was heading for. This blog has been so helpful to me! Thanks for posting and everyone for commenting 🙂

  47. Plowmanators
    January 20, 2010 / 6:53 PM

    Amber, you are welcome and thanks for sharing your own experience!

  48. davelenap
    March 2, 2010 / 5:09 PM

    hi! A GKGW mom for 18 years, but this is my first time on here…WISH i'd known sooner about this! It's the ideal help! I'm going through the milk supply nursing issues. With my first 2 I needed to supplement w formula at 4 ms, & they weaned off themselves 6-7 mos. My 3rd i was able to nurse 12 mos, but supplemented with lots of cereal (made with formula) at 4 mos. Now with my 4th, same problem low wt.gain/waking earlier (low supply) at 5 mos. Now 5.5 mos ainning well with cereal, fruit, and soon more food. My question, how do I reconcile a 3 hr NR schedule (6x)I need to keep my milk, with a regular solid meal sched. Can't feed solids every 3 hrs can i? thanks! Lena

  49. Plowmanators
    March 16, 2010 / 5:30 PM

    Lena,I fed every three hours on a solid schedule with my older two for a while. This is what I did:7 nurse/solids10 nurse1 nurse/solids4 nurse7 nurse solids (but you could move solids to 4 and just nurse here)10 nurseHope that helps!

  50. babers20
    April 1, 2010 / 2:37 AM

    I'm so glad to read all of this. I went back to work almost four months after she was born. My supply practically cut in half the second I went back to work and had to a.) sleep through the night with no motn pumping and b.) had to pump instead of bf all day. Now I am sick with Strep and need to pump only for 10 days while on the antibiotic. I know it is time to stop because i barely get anything out while pumping and it will only get worse. I take fenugreek, drink the tea, eat oatmeal, drink a gallon of water a day, and pump every three hours and still nada. I get very little out. And yet with all I do, every post that says physical limitation is not really possible and "have you tried…" breaks my heart. It makes me want to keep trying the impossible. But i'm exhausted and i know its time. :(I feel sooooooooooo guilty about putting her on formula. And I feel so sad that I don't get to breastfeed anymore. I love that special time with her. It makes me sad it is coming to an end. So it is great to hear others go through this. Until you experience it, it is tough to understand. People who don't have supply issues tend to think the rest of us didn't try hard enough or that it is Babywise, when in fact, sometimes we just can't. My daughter is on a three hour schedule and I still can't do it. However, if keeping up supply meant waking up and pumping in the middle of the night and waking to feed at 5am, i'd probably not do it. There is a lot to be said for being a rested mother. Plus I have to work, so sleep is important.Thanks again for all the posts!

  51. Plowmanators
    April 13, 2010 / 11:07 PM

    Thanks for sharing your story and I am glad this post could help you out!

  52. Danielle
    November 8, 2011 / 8:12 PM

    I have a couple questions that I think might relate to this section. When my daugther was about 4 months old we switched to a 4 hour schedule and she did great for a little while. She would sleep 10-12h before waking for her first feeding. If she woke up at 5:30am I would feed her from one side put her back to bed until 7:30,8.But then at about 6 months she started waking up for that earl feeding consistently – and it got earlier and earlier. Last night it was 3am! It feels like we are back at the begining. She is now 7.5months has been eating solids since 5.5 months. I have tried adding an extra afternoon feeding but then she doesn't eat much at the next feeding. Her naps are also terrible.She wakes 45min into her nap and I have tried everything. How many ounces/cal should she be gettin in a day from milk? I pump about 5 ounces per feeding and it used to be 6-7. In the mornings I would get 10ounces. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  53. Michael and Natalie
    November 8, 2011 / 8:44 PM

    Danielle you should join the Chronicles group on Google groups and ask you question there.

  54. Plowmanators
    November 24, 2011 / 3:34 AM

    Danielle,I don't know how many ounces for a baby that age since I just breastfed. Since she is waking early from naps and waking in the night, I would guess she is either hungry or having some sleep issue (I know that seems to cover everything 🙂 ). Just be sure you feed her until she is full. You might try taking it back to 3-3.5 hour schedule. You might need to pump more often to get your supply up, also.

  55. Vrinda
    March 31, 2016 / 5:29 PM

    Hi! In the evenings my breast are not as full (or engorged I should say) as in the morning. She seems to be doing fine since she isn't asking for food before her next feed. But I have noticed she spits up more in the evening and it is more yellow and has thicker chunks (more fat I presume?). Do you think she is having a hard time processing a more fatty meal? Sorry if this isn't the right place to post this comment- couldn't figure out a good place. Thank you so much!

    • Valerie Plowman
      April 4, 2016 / 10:57 PM

      I think the spitting up more in the evening is pretty normal–as is your lower volume of milk. I don't know if it is caused by difficulty in fat digestion or not. If it bothers her, you can try gripe water after she is done eating. I love gripe water!

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