Why Does Milk Supply Decrease Over Time?
Everyday, I hear about women worried that their breast milk supply has somehow decreased as their baby gets older. They are nervous that because their breasts aren't leaking anymore, their milk has dried up. And they are terrified that if they don't somehow get that supply back up, their baby won't have any milk. It's a real fear for a lot of breastfeeding women, but why does milk supply decrease over time? Does it mean your body isn't making enough milk for your baby or that something's wrong?
Actually, it's the complete opposite. Although it might be disheartening to see your milk supply decrease over time, there's actually a really good reason for it. According to KellyMom, you most likely will notice a change in your supply after about three months as your hormones level out. Your breasts may feel less full, your leaking may have stopped, and your milk letdown may not be as noticeable anymore. This is because the hormone prolactin begins to slow down once breastfeeding is established (the three month mark) and starts producing at a level that is more the norm for lactation in your baby's later months.
When you think about how your baby has changed since the beginning of your breastfeeding journey, a decreased supply makes sense. According to La Leche League International (LLLI), the more you nurse, the more milk you produce. This is why extra pumping sessions can increase your supply and give you a back-up of milk to store in a freezer. But as your baby nurses less often, such as sleeping through the night or no longer needing to eat every two hours, your breast milk regulates itself, producing only the amount it thinks your baby needs.
Breastfeeding USA noted that as long as your baby is gaining weight well and having plenty of wet and dirty diapers, your milk supply is fine and not actually decreasing — just regulating. As your baby grows, they will spend less time on the breast and that, in turn, will make it feel like your milk supply has gone down. Try not to worry too much about it and just take note if your little one shows signs of not getting enough to eat. Chances are, your breasts are just doing what they do — being amazing.