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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.