Has Your Milk Dried Up Overnight? Signs, Causes & Best Solutions

Milk Dried Up Overnight

Breast milk supply and milk production stay on the mind of nearly every breastfeeding mother once she begins her breastfeeding journey. Producing enough breast milk is a constant goal, and when something happens, such as a quick or all at once low milk supply, it can be devastating.

There can be many reasons why you aren’t making more milk quickly. Understanding the reason behind the loss of all the milk you had been producing is often the first step in figuring out how to get the milk flowing again and increase milk production.

This article will discuss things like breast milk supply causes, ways to increase your low milk supply fast, and whether your breastmilk supply can make a comeback if you have dried up completely.

Has Your Milk Dried Up Overnight? Clear Signs that It Has

If you exclusively nurse, you may suspect that your milk supply has dwindled or even dried up entirely. If you pump, you may also think you have a decreased milk supply.

It’s difficult to know that this is the case, however.

Nursing mothers cannot see or accurately measure how much milk their infant is consuming when nursing. Sometimes new mothers assume that they are not producing an adequate amount of breast milk if their baby seems hungry often, but it could just be a growth spurt, cluster feeding, or soothing session that your baby wants.

Mothers who pump often worry that they are underproducing if they aren’t getting a lot of output in the bottles they pump. However, your body tends to make more milk when nursing than pumping.

Since it can be challenging to know whether you have a low milk supply, there are certain signs that you should look out for to help you determine whether you are drying up or if you are worrying unnecessarily.

Red Flags for Milk Production

The following are the signs to watch out for when you’re worried that your milk supply has dried up or is drying up:

  • Your baby isn’t gaining weight
  • Your baby isn’t producing wet or dirty diapers
  • Your baby seems or is dehydrated
  • Breasts feel softer suddenly
  • Breasts don’t leak milk
  • Little or no milk is produced when hand expressing

While any of these factors doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to breastfeed, you should still pay attention when you notice that one of these factors is true for your situation.

Hand expression, especially a little while after a nursing session or while in the shower, should cause at least some milk to leak from the breasts. Hand expressing mimics the movements of the mouths of babies who breastfeed, and hand expression should cause milk to drop into the breast so that you can breastfeed.

If your baby is breastfeeding regularly but isn’t producing many wet or soiled diapers, they are often not getting enough nutrition from breastfeeding and are most likely dehydrated.

What Causes Low Milk Supply?

Several things can cause low milk supply. If you suddenly find that you aren’t producing enough breast milk, the first step is to figure out what caused it. Sometimes it’s an easy correction. Other times, it will take the intervention of a lactation consultant, a medical professional, or just lots of hard work with a double electric breast pump.

The following are some of the causes of a decrease in your breast milk supply.

Milk Dried Up Overnight

Medical Issues

If your milk production has made a noticeable sudden drop, first look towards medical causes. While most mothers don’t fall into this category, a small percentage do.

Most mothers would think that if a medical procedure, medication, illness, or condition would cause a low breastmilk supply, the doctor or medical professional would tell you. However, it’s not always that simple.

Sometimes the doctor doesn’t know that you are breastfeeding. Other times, it’s a simple lack of communication. Regardless of whether or not you are told that you may not produce enough milk due to a health or medical reason, you’re still going to have to deal with it.

The following are some of the medical reasons you may not be able to make more milk or, in some cases, not produce milk at all.

Hormonal Disorders

Your hormones play a significant role in producing breast milk and your milk supply. If you have thyroid issues or are taking hormonal birth control, you may find that you cannot produce enough milk to feed your baby.

If you have a known thyroid disorder, contact and work with a lactation consultant to understand your options. Sometimes there are medications you can be prescribed that can help regulate your hormones so that you can produce as much milk as you need to feed your little one.

If you are taking birth control, the fix may be stopping the use of this medication and changing to what is called the “mini-pill.” The mini pill is recommended because it is progestin-only, which aids in producing breast milk. This means you can be on birth control to prevent pregnancy or make your periods more regular and have no issue producing enough milk for your baby.

Breast Surgery or Injury

If you have had surgery on your breasts or have had a major injury that involved your breasts, you may find that you cannot produce enough milk for your little one. If you have trouble producing a full milk supply and have had surgery or injury in the past, this may be the culprit.

If you were breastfeeding successfully and then had surgery on your breasts or sustained an injury, it could decrease your milk supply. A lot of pumping, nursing sessions, and speaking with your doctor may be able to get your milk to the level it needs to be. Still, if not, there is no shame in donor milk (pumped milk that another woman produced), supplementing with formula, or switching to formula.

You may find it nearly impossible to get your milk in with success if there has been an injury or surgery involving your breasts, especially your milk ducts.

Other Causes of Sudden Decrease in Milk Supply

If you are confident that there is no medical reason for your milk to have dried up, you need to dig deeper to figure out the cause. There are several things that could be behind a sudden drop in milk supply. The key is to be honest with yourself and find the cause.

The following are some non-health-related issues that may cause your breast milk to dry up.

Stress

We stress about a lot when we are breastfeeding. We worry that the baby isn’t gaining weight in the early weeks, especially if you are the parent of a low birth weight baby or a preemie. We worry that the baby isn’t latching well. We worry that we won’t ever figure out what we’re doing.

Those first few weeks of the breastfeeding experience are often ones of confusion, stress, fear, and worry. And that can make your milk supply dry up.

Try to relax. It is difficult to see how much milk you produce when you exclusively nurse. Your body follows a supply and demand schedule when it comes to milk supply, and when your baby needs more milk, your body often picks up on this cue and supplies it.

Try to relax. Follow a consultant or doctor’s advice, and trust your body. Worrying will only create a problem in milk supply where there isn’t one and make a problem in milk supply worse if one does exist.

Increasing breast milk supply

Dehydration

If you’re making less milk than you were, and it’s a sudden drop, consider how much water you drink.

We all know that we need to drink water throughout the day, but it’s easy to fall short of that eight glass a day minimum when trying to take care of a newborn and figure out what this whole breastfeeding thing is all about.

A basic rule of thumb is that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water.

If you want to get your supply back quickly, start drinking more water. Many mothers swear by coconut water, as well. The claim is that it can drastically increase your pumping output.

Adequate hydration is essential for health reasons, and increasing your water intake can also result in more milk for your baby.

Scheduled Nursing

If you are feeding your baby breast milk by following a schedule, you may see a drastic drop in your milk supply. To increase supply, you need to be feeding on demand. This means that when your baby is hungry, you nurse. If you are exclusively pumping, you need to follow your child’s hunger cues and pump as frequently as your little one eats.

Your body will produce as much milk as your infant needs, usually. If you follow an infrequent nursing or pumping session schedule, you may need to start pumping or nursing more to get your supply back.

Not Pumping Frequently

Going back to work after having a baby can be challenging. During the first few weeks home with your baby, you have much more time to nurse, pump, and learn your baby’s hunger cues.

However, once you return to work and are away from your baby, you have to pump when your baby would normally feed. Missing pumping sessions can cause your milk supply to drop quickly and dramatically.

Be sure to pump while at work or away from your baby. Get up in the night to pump if your child sleeps through a nursing session. Keep stimulating your milk supply, and your body will continue to produce enough.

How to Increase Milk Supply Fast

We have discussed some of the causes of a low milk supply or sudden dry-up to your milk supply. Once you find the cause, how can you get it back quickly?

This is one of the situations in life in which time is of the essence. The longer it takes to build your milk supply back, the more likely you will not be able to get it back.

To combat this, you can do things to increase milk supply fast.

Try not to let yourself be discouraged if one thing doesn’t work immediately. Move on and try something else. What works for one mother may not work for another. Just keep trying, try not to stress yourself out, and stay determined and optimistic.

Power Pumping

Power pumping is not for the faint of heart. It is time-consuming, and it takes a lot of work. It is also one of the most effective ways to get your milk supply back.

Power pumping involves using a breast pump, and pumping for ten minutes, then stopping for ten minutes. Then you repeat this process for one hour. This needs to be done twice a day, for two days straight.

This is not an overnight process, but it is one of the fastest ways to increase your milk supply. The whole process needs to be done correctly. Try not to skip any pumping sessions while power pumping.

If you find that halfway through the process, you are producing more than enough milk again, don’t stop and assume that all is back to the level it should be in terms of milk production. Keep going and using your breast pump. Any extra milk produced can be added to your freezer stash.

Drink Water

Staying hydrated is one of the most important factors in producing enough milk to successfully breastfeed your baby. New mothers may think that because they have already given birth, they can go back to things like soda, coffee, and other drinks rather than the water they had to consume so much of while pregnant.

While it is true that you can spoil yourself with a soda or coffee here and there, replacing it with water and expecting to have a high milk supply will often produce the opposite effect. Breastfeeding requires you to stay hydrated if you want to continue feeding your baby.

How to increase milk supply

Relax

When you’re feeling stressed, it can take a toll on your mood, relationships, and milk supply. Breastfeeding mothers often find themselves stressed due to the sudden change from using their body to grow a baby to using their body to feed a baby.

When you think you’ve got everything figured out when it comes to pregnancy, babies make their grand appearance, and you’re an amateur all over again. This can cause a lot of stress and worry, and it can make feeding your baby via breastfeeding seem like an impossible task.

While it would make life easier to turn off the stress, that’s not realistic. If you feel depressed, talk to your doctor. There is help available that can improve your stress level and mental health.

If your stress is mostly from the breastfeeding process, speak with a certified lactation consultant and learn as much as you can about the process, ways to de-stress, and ways to improve your supply.

Also, take care of yourself. Eat regularly, and eat healthy foods when you can. Get plenty of sleep and rest. Take time for yourself to be your own person.

Lactation Tea and Lactation Cookies

There are products that you can purchase that will help you to get your supply back up. Explicitly marketed toward breastfeeding mothers, these teas, chocolates, brownies, smoothies, and other snacks are usually full of ingredients that are known or believed to increase milk production.

You can also make lactation snacks and drinks yourself with a recipe. These can be found online, in books, or given to you by your doctor or lactation specialist.

Can breast milk come back after drying up?

A certified lactation consultant will be able to give you a more accurate answer to whether your breast milk can come back if you have entirely dried up, based on your own unique situation.

Generally speaking; however, the answer is yes. You can bring back your supply as long as you stick with the methods given to do so. If one thing fails, try another. Don’t give up hope.

Fed is Best

If you try everything, speak with a professional or your doctor, and the milk supply just isn’t returning, try not to dwell on it.

Not everyone can breastfeed, no matter how much time and dedication they put into it. As long as your little one is fed, it’s all that matters. Never be so determined to get your supply back that you jeopardize your child’s health.

There are options when it comes to feeding your baby. You can look into donated milk, which involves finding an organization, and either getting free milk pumped by another mother or purchasing breast milk. You can supplement your low supply with formula and even mix the two in the same bottle. You can also switch to exclusively formula feeding.

While it is the hope and dream of many mothers to breastfeed successfully, if you fall within the category of women who cannot produce enough to sustain your baby, you are no less a mother. You are not a bad mother. You are doing what you have to feed your baby.

Fed is best. Always.

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