So you’ve made the decision to breastfeed- great! The first few days are going somewhat okay. Not great, but not terrible. You’re encouraged to keep going. And then it seems like it’s not enough. Maybe you’re constantly nursing your newborn, or maybe you’re concerned about their weight. Dear mom, before you panic, let’s talk about how a lactation consultant can help you with simple ways to increase your milk supply. And with our thanks to Amwell for sponsoring this conversation, we bring you more breastfeeding success advice and tips.
Almost all mothers who breast feed go through a period of questioning whether or not their supply of milk is adequate. Some mothers simply aren’t able to produce enough milk to meet the needs of her baby. According to many experts, true insufficiencies of milk are very rare.
A lot of women think their milk supply is low when it actually isn’t. Thinking this can happen if you lose the feeling of fullness in your breasts or if the milk stops leaking from your nipples. Babies that go through growth spurts may want more milk than usual, and these more frequent feedings may leave your breasts less than full.
What Causes Low Milk Supply
A mother’s milk supply may diminish for a brief period of time if she isn’t feeding her baby often enough due to nipple pain, or a poor latch on technique. Illnesses or estrogen containing birth control pills may also affect the production of milk.
You can discuss latch techniques with a lactation consultant from Amwell, if you’d like.
How to Detect Low Milk Supply
If you question your milk supply at any time, consider the following:
- Is your baby routinely fussy after every feeding?
- Is he having difficulty going the appropriate duration between feedings?
- How is the stress-level in your life (this can affect the taste and production of milk) and in your home (which can affect your infant directly)?
Your lactation consultant can also help you figure out the root of the problem and come up with other possible reasons that you may not have considered already. Sometimes it’s just helpful to get a second opinion on these things.
What You Can Do About Low Milk Supply
First things first, you should make sure that your baby gets frequent feedings and that nothing is wrong with your nipples or your milk ducts.
If you’ve eliminated what you can and you’re still unsure, speak with your lactation consultant about potential solutions.
If you question your supply in the first 2 months, consider feeding on a strict 2.5 hour routine for 5-7 days. If your milk production increases (demonstrated by your baby being more content and sleeping better), work your way back to a 3-hour minimum.
If no improvement occurs, you might want to consider supplementing with a formula to give you peace of mind and your baby more calories.
If you question your milk supply in the 4th month, try adding a few extra feedings to your daytime routine. Also, consider your caloric intake as mommy—if you are dieting, you should stop. This can adversely affect your milk supply.
Additionally, you could step back to a strict 3-hour routine and then gradually work your way back to where you were (probably a 4-hour routine by this point) and see how things go. If you have no improvement after several days, supplement with formula.
The four-day test involves adding one to two ounces of formula after each nursing period. Then express your milk with an electric breast pump, doing 10 minutes per side. Keep track of how much extra you are producing. If your milk production is plentiful, the problem lies with your baby.
He is either not latching on properly or is a lazy nurser.
If additional stimulation doesn’t occur from pumping and you’ve reviewed everything else, then you may be among the 5-10% of women who can’t provide a sufficient milk supply.
Learn and discern what is best for your family (nursing or bottle-feeding) and make no excuses for your decision. It is your family! And do not feel like you’ve failed if you cannot continue breastfeeding.
If you would like to schedule a visit, I have a special code for you that you can use (twice!) – and it will get you 50% off. Use code: NEWMOM10. Your first visit, for example, will be reduced to $65. Your next visit will be reduced to $37.50
It expires on 12/31/17 so you will need to use it by the end of this year.
Have you spoken with a lactation consultant or do you plan to? Let me know what your experience was like.