Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

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Expand view Topic review: Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

Re : Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

Post by glimmer » Sun Sep 26, 2010 08:37 am

I agree with everything being sad. You tend to come to an equilibrium. Also, the fat content
in your milk goes up as the infant gets older, so they need less quantity for the same amount of calories. Also if they get the breast at most feeds, they tend to drink less during the bottle feed and make up at other times. You body will adjust to this pattern and reduce the production
for the pump session.
Now - I do not recommend anybody do this, but just to give you the extreme: I have a horrible
time pumping and my daughter would only have 2oz between 9am and 3am (plus solids - she was older than 6 months at the time). She made up for in during the remaining 18h without problems.
I did nurse her on demand all through the night though. While this might be a bit extreme, it worked really well for us.

Re : Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

Post by catherine » Fri Aug 27, 2010 08:43 am

Sweeeet!!! We should all be so lucky!

Re : Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

Post by rebecca2 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 07:35 am

Catherine, fortunately my pediatrician is both an experienced breast-feeding mom of 3 and a lactation consultant! How often do you see that combo?! It is one of the things I really liked about her at our prenatal apt. At 2 of our check ups, my son was hungry and she offered to let me BF in the exam room for as long as I needed after our apts. It is so nice having a DR be so supportive. I plan on asking her about my prolactin levels too.

Re : Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

Post by catherine » Fri Aug 27, 2010 07:15 am

Call me a cynic but don't expect your pediatrician (unless an experienced breast-feeding mom) to provide huge insight. I think that they don't often see mothers nurse much past the first 2-3 months and so don't know that much about the physical dynamics. Sadly, 3 kids in, my rule of thumb is "if they don't have breasts, then just smile and wait until the "mansplaining" is over.

Re : Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

Post by rebecca2 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 06:20 am

Thanks ladies. At last check my son was gaining appropriately. At his 2 month checkup he weighed 4 lbs over his birth weight which is average. We have another apt next week, so maybe that will shed some light on things. Hopefully, Catherine's suspicion is correct and things are just "settling down". I guess after 2 premature deliveries, I'm just paranoid that my body will fail us again.

The other thing that surprised me was I either had breakthrough bleeding or my period over the weekend. (I'm not sure, If it was my period, it was very light and not my *normal*.) I didn't think most women got their period until at least 6 months when they start introducing solids.

Re : Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

Post by catherine » Fri Aug 27, 2010 04:42 am

One thing that often catches people by surprise is that after a while (and I'm thinking that you might be in this zone) is that as your breasts "settle down for the long haul" things change pretty distinctly. You may notice that they shrink a little, that they seem softer, they don't seem to fill as much and you may not leak or let down involuntarily as much as you used to. These are not necessarily signs that your supply is failing, simply that it is modifying because your baby's nutritional needs are changing. As his rate of growth slows and his stomach capacity expands you aren't required to generate milk at such high volumes for such frequent throughput and so as a "nursing pair" you come into equilibrium. So long as you can maintain that relationship, including the freedom to ramp up nursing events to respond to growth spurts etc. then you can expect to carry along like this for as long as you want.

It is one of my pet peeves with "nursing information" in baby books etc. is that they give the impression that nursing and milk supply once established (ie. the first 2-3 weeks of life) remain static thereafter and any changes that may occur are "harbingers of DOOOOOMMMM" and evidence of incipient supply collapse. Not true if your baby's weight gain and development is staying on track and they are adequately hydrated.

Re : Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

Post by sonja » Fri Aug 27, 2010 04:34 am

Sorry - I don't know anything about prolactin levels, but I know that my breasts didn't ever feel as full as they did those first few weeks. Is your baby gaining weight normally?

I hope that you get the answers that you are looking for.

Breastfeeding and prolactin levels?

Post by rebecca2 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 02:32 am

Does anyone know much about prolactin levels while breastfeeding? I think my milk supply might be dwindling. My son isn't crying, but my breast don't feel full like they used to even in the mornings when it has been 6 hours between feedings. I pump once a day and I've notice a decrease of 2-4 oz during this session. I'm still getting 12+ oz though and my son only takes 3-4 ounces when my husband gives him a bottle. (He gets one bottle/day and I pump during this time.)

I've been having lots of intense headaches, so I went to my PCP yesterday. He thinks it is tension headaches, but did blood work to rule out pituitary issues. My T4 and TSH were normal, but prolactin levels were on the low side at 29. I'm exclusively BF my son. He just turned 3 months old, so I haven't introduced solids yet. Does this low prolactin level mean my milk supply is drying up? I have an apt with my OB in a month, but I'm trying to decide if I should see him sooner. Does the prolactin level mean anything once BF is established, or is it more of a concern immediately after birth?

I guess, I'm comfortable with my milk supply right now, but I'm concerned this might be a sign of future problems. I'm worried that since my body gives out so easily during pregnancy it might do the same with BF. You know--everything is fine right up until the train wreck.

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