N.D. wrote-- That's great you made it to the year. I don't know how you did it - I failed both times! 10 months was around when my supply declined. Any tips for when I do this again?
Thanks for the question-- first you made it 10 months! That is not at all failing! That's great!
I was never one to make tons and tons of milk so I think this is a good question for me to actually answer...
A bit of background first... I had a combination of a very content baby who didn't fuss even when he was obviously not eating enough, a little guy who would not nurse all I made and I was not really making enough to feed him. So he wasn't gaining weight real well in the early weeks. Thanks to an amazing lactation consultant (which I'd highly recommend at any point in the journey you reach a road block) we worked through early issues with extra pumping to increase my supply.
At 6 weeks we started letting our son sleep through the night-- so the first thing I did was to keep setting an alarm to wake up and pump and save the milk. If he has been gaining fine I might not have done that, but it definitely kept my supply up. I would also pump right after he nursed (again, this was to feed back to him to help him gain weight normally but helped my supply).
Once we were past those hurdles and he was only nursing 4-5 times throughout a 12 hour day (and not any at night) I would just pump after the morning feeding when I was extra full and before I went to bed at night. Since he goes to bed between 7-7:30 there were lots of hours left before I went to bed and when I'd feed him again. So I was never going without pumping/nursing for over a 9 hour or so period of time.
I totally think taking Organic Fenugreek (found at your Health Food Stores in a capsule) several times a day was a huge help. Early on you may smell like maple syrup -- you read that right-- taking this is natural and increases your supply. I know some people like it in other forms like whole or in teas-- but I recommend this throughout nursing!
Once we started introducing solids I would still nurse first and at his usual times and then feed him solids. I think that's important for you to keep supply up (and of course for baby). And the final biggie was staying hydrated and well fed-- especially on running days when my body needed more fuel! It can be easy to slack on that once nursing and a baby become such a routine.
I hope that helps. When I put my mind to something I can be a stubborn mule. I feel blessed this worked out but I also know it was not without a lot of hard work, tears and effort along the way! Thanks for the question!