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tan253's avatar

Is breast milk lower at night?

Asked by tan253 (2818points) May 3rd, 2012

The reason I ask is because like clock work between 6 – 10 she screams like she’s hungry and cries if I show her the boob.
I’m very confused as during the day I feel as though I have an over abundant supply as she chokes and coughs during let down and I can hear the milk squirting out then come 6 she’s screaming and tugging at the breast like a demon – she pulls at the nipple and cries and i do notice that let down doesn’t happen, I normally have 3 during her nursing but between these times I normally have 1 sometimes none.
So I’m wondering if I should give her a bottle during these times – does anyone know?
I know I’ve asked this question before which was a while ago so now Im’ starting to think it could be because my supply dwindles.
I just tried calling my LLC ladies but no one was available.

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14 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I would try the bottle and watch her reaction. That will tell you a lot. Good luck. If she’s fussing and crying and then calms down with the bottle that’s your answer.

gailcalled's avatar

Why not pump and fill a little bottle or two when you are overflowing and then use it between 6 – 10?

Of course you can give her a bottle of breast milk. When I was breast feeding, we didn’t know about breast pumps and I would occasionally leave the baby with my mother and a bottle of formula. No harm done.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@tan253 Gail had a good idea. Have you tried pumping then? I know you said the pump didn’t work well but when were you trying it?

SuperMouse's avatar

How old is your daughter? At that point how long has it typically been since her last feeding? I ask because between 6 and 10 p.m. are the prime hours for colicky babies to be screaming. Could she be colicky rather than hungry?

wilma's avatar

If you supplement with formula every night, that could affect your milk supply. If you are going to supplement at all, I would try to used pumped breast milk.
I think that it’s quite normal for her to be fussy at that time of night especially with a colicky baby. I would try to deal with her fussiness with some of the colic management things that you could do, like the 5 S’s.
Evening time was always when my colicky baby was the worst. She acted like yous does and it might just be something that you have to get through.

wilma's avatar

I guess I didn’t answer your primary question about the milk dwindling at night.
I would say no not really but it might seem that way right now because she is not happy and not feeling her best. You are probably more tired and stressed than earlier in the day, your milk might not let down as easily at that time. I would try to hold her off a bit with the other calming strategies and also boost your supply with extra fluids for yourself. Try to keep calm and try to relax. I know it’s hard to do with a screaming baby. Then after you have waited a bit, try again and get her to feed settle for the night.
Could it also be a problem with something that you are eating during the day? Some food that you have earlier in the day that is bothering her in your milk at night? You might try eliminating one thing at a time to see.

tan253's avatar

hey Guys,

I tried the bottle – 3oz of it (formula) and she drank a small amount (½ an oz) – she was calmer on it than my nipple but she was still fussy with the bottle as well but I’m not sure if that was a learned behavior from the nipple (trying to get milk out)

I think she could be colicky… she’s 6 weeks now… and she seems in pain – she also cries even before i give her the nipple – she just has to look at it and she cries.

@SuperMouse her last feed was probably only 40 minutes prior to her fussy time – then she feeds every 10 minutes, but doesn’t feed – just gets grumpy and pulls and yanks – she’s fine through let down though… once that finishes she gets grumpy again.

@Adirondackwannabe the pump still doesn’t work for me but i can pump 2oz after I feed her, but I’m going to ask the Pedi tomorrow.

I’m so happy if it’s just a normal thing and i have to just go through it – I’m just worried I’m starving her as I’d rather exclusively breast feed.

Thanks though….

Adagio's avatar

If it is your desire to breastfeed I would definitely not offer formula, if there is a problem with your own supply of milk it would only exacerbate the problem. As a general rule of thumb, the more often you feed the more milk you produce, the less often you feed the less you produce, it’s the way it is. She could also be in a growing spurt which often unsettles babies. Let me encourage you to keep persevering with the exclusive breastfeeding.
PS. If you think it would help you feel more secure in what you’re doing, I suggest you speak with a lactation consultant, in New Zealand there is plenty of help, free help, available for women who want to seek that assistance, hopefully it’s the same where you are.

tranquilsea's avatar

Your milk supply will increase depending on how much your baby needs. If your baby is going through a growth spurt then she’ll nurse more and more and your body will react by making more milk. She may be fussy until your body transitions.

If you are wanting to successfully keep breastfeeding then don’t supplement with formula at all.

It sounds as though she may just be generally fussy. My first born had long periods throughout the day where nothing seemed to calm him down. In hindsight I think he simply didn’t like being a baby lol.

Edit: breast milk does not decrease at night until the baby starts sleeping more and more. Then you’ll find that you’re engorged until your body adjusts.

wilma's avatar

I agree with @Adagio and @tranquilsea I would really try not to supplement. If supply is the problem, that will only make it worse.
The “in pain” part sounds like colic. It is painful, just like gas can be for us. Try putting her on her tummy, sometimes that feels better and helps things move. If she seems to want to suck on something but gets frustrated with your nipple, a pacifier at that time might be a help. She can chew and bite on that instead of you, and when she has gotten past the painful frustration then your milky nipple will be soothing to her.

SuperMouse's avatar

I agree with those who say to try to avoid supplementing. It really sounds like colic. Colic begins at around six weeks and the time of day of her fussiness is right.If she is feeding well throughout the day, dirtying and wetting plenty of diapers, and is growing, she more than likely is getting plenty to eat. I would check with your doctor for your own peace of mind but it really sounds like it is colic which is totally normal but a a real challenge. Good luck!

tan253's avatar

Thanks guys, she was up at 4am till 7am quite happy last night, chatting away, laughing whilst her poor father and I were just trying everything to calm her and make her sleep I think she thought it was a game for she found us tremendously amusing – but that obviously means she’s not starving during that fussy period – it’s so scary sometimes but I have messaged quite a lot about this on Fluther – and everytime everyone is so encouraging it’s truly wonderful.

Fluther should have a big party so everyone can meet each other and say their Thanks for helping them through tough times – I really appreciate it and will come back to read your comments regularly when she goes through her ‘fussy’ times to stay strong!

tranquilsea's avatar

@tan253 I remember what it was like with my first (who’s now 17). He screamed and screamed if I put him down….ever. That lasted from week 3 to when he was 5 months old. I remember checking his diaper, making sure he wasn’t being poked or pinched anywhere, then trying to feed him…all to no avail. I put him in a baby carrier and bounced him him like mad throughout that time. Thank god for my husband, who would spell me off.

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