Ask an Expert: Milk Supply During Pregnancy

By Wendy Wisner, IBCLC

Fan Question: Need a little advice on re-lactation!! Baby girl is 2 yrs old and I’m currently 32 weeks pregnant. I stopped producing “milk” about 8-9 weeks ago but that hasn’t deterred her from nursing on colostrum! Is it possible to start producing “milk” again, or do we wing it till the new baby arrives? I drink nothing but water, eat oatmeal everyday, and take my prenatals religiously! Any and all advice is appreciated.

Unfortunately, during pregnancy your milk supply isn’t controlled by “supply and demand” (i.e., how frequently your child nurses), nor is it influenced by how much you are eating or drinking, or the types of food you consume. I wish there were more you could do to increase your supply, but the hormones of pregnancy are too strong for this, and your body is preparing primarily for your new baby. Pregnancy hormones affect all mothers differently, some losing their supply right away, some noticing very little change in supply, and some only noticing the drop later. It sounds like you were on the luckier end of the spectrum, with your milk disappearing in the second trimester, and your colostrum coming in soon after. Though it certainly isn’t as plentiful as a full milk supply, many babies are happy with colostrum. It’s full of good nutrition and immunities, and keeps your toddler interested. (Keep in mind that colostrum is a laxative, so don’t be surprised if your two-year-old has looser stools for a while.) The fact that your daughter is still enthusiastically nursing is wonderful if your plan is to continue nursing her once the baby arrives. In just a few short weeks, you will have a full milk supply again and both of your children will be VERY happy. Kudos for nursing during pregnancy, and for planning to tandem nurse!

unnamed Wendy Wisner is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), writer, and mother of two amazing boys.  In addition to her work with breastfeeding moms, she has published two books of poems, and a handful of articles about mothering and breastfeeding.  She blogs at www.nursememama.com.

Comments

  1. My doctor told me during my pregnancy that if I’m not getting enough nutrition for me and the baby my body will give the baby the nutrition even what is stored in my body if need be, So maybe what was going into your breastmilk is going to the baby now? I’d ask your doctor if it’s safe to take extra vitamins.

  2. I had planned to tandem nurse my three year old and my newborn because I really thought that my girl was never going to wean herself but at about 33 weeks I was getting ready to nurse het too sleep and she said, no mommy bobos are for babies and I’m a big girl cause I’m gonna be a big sister. I was so proud of her and happy that she did it on her own but a little sad too. I noticed earlier that week that my milk had changed to colostrum so I think that played a big factor in her decision. She did try to nurse a few times after the baby arrived but only fur a few seconds and was done. I’m glad I was on the later end of that spectrum as it showed dd to nurse until she was 3 years 4 months

  3. My breastmilk supply dried and im currently 21 weeks pregnant. Will the colostrum come any moment? I really want to do tandem bfing.

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