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Breast Feeding

Breast feeding

08/21/2000

Question:

I am a nursing mother of a 4 month old and the two weeks I began to become very tired, dizzy, hungry, and have lost some of my milk supply. I am also on the depo-provera shot.

Answer:

Generally, progestin-only forms of hormonal contraception, such as the Depo-Provera injection are not associated a drop in milk production. However, some mothers report a drop in milk production after receiving/taking a progestin-only contraceptive, especially if it was taken during the first 4 to 8 weeks postpartum. It would be less common for a drop to occur if the first injection is given at 4 months, but if the signs of an apparent decrease in milk production were noticed shortly after you first received Depo-Provera, it is possible that it contributed to the drop. If you were using this form of contraception for several weeks to months before noticing a drop in milk production, it is unlikely that the two things are related.

Since you also have become "very tired, dizzy, hungry," it probably would be a good idea to call your physician and discuss your general health. Certain maternal conditions may result in some of the physical symptoms you mention and also affect milk production. These include thyroid conditions, tobacco use, depression, anemia or a new pregnancy. Trying to lose weight too quickly also may contribute to the symptoms listed.

The most common cause of a decrease in milk production is mismanagement of breastfeeding. At 3 to 4 months some mothers try to lengthen the time between breastfeedings when the baby may still need frequent feedings, or they get busier and don`t realize a feeding has been delayed or missed. Adding or increasing the amount of infant formula or other foods, such as baby cereal in baby`s diet can also lead to decreased milk production.

You don`t mention what makes you think your milk production has decreased. If this response doesn`t include the information you were seeking, write again and include those details. All the best!

Reference:

Riordan J& Auerbach KG (1999). Breastfeeding and human lactation (2nd ed.). Sudburym MA: Jones & Bartlett.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Karen Kerkhoff Gromada, MSN, RN, IBCLC
Adjunct Clinical Instructor
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati