Milk supply is something I’m always concerned with since my son is exclusively breastfed. I’ve heard the horror stories from many woman who say they have a low milk supply. Sometimes the supply is believed, or found to be so low that it doesn’t provide the necessary nutrition for their babies to grow and thrive. I never wanted this to be the case with me, so I did plenty of research early on. In addition, I (as well as my husband) went to many breastfeeding classes and consulted lactation consultants before and after the birth of our son.
I wanted to share with you all 4 reasons why you many experience low milk supply. There are many more reasons, so these four are not an end all, be all. If you feel you have an issue with your supply, please consult your physician and/or a lactation consultant.
Keep in mind that adequate supply is fueled by adequate demand. Here are a few reasons why anything that hinders the latter can lead to a problem.
1. Supplementing. Adding formula to your baby’s diet results in your baby taking less of your milk. The result: This causes your breasts to produce less milk.
2. Infrequent feedings. Too much time between meals can be extremely harmful to your supply, because your breasts won’t be stimulated often enough to produce an adequate amount of milk. You should go no more than 4 hours between feedings to prevent this.
3. Short feedings. Cutting nursing sessions short (for example, five minutes on each breast) won’t sufficiently drain your breast. Your baby will not get the fattier and most nutritious hind milk by doing this. Thus, resulting in poor weight gain, and a slew of other issues. By not sufficiently emptying your breast, they won’t be stimulated to produce more.
4. Pacifiers. At times, some babies spend more time spent sucking on a pacifier and are less inclined to suckling on the breast. Less suckling means less milk production, because your breasts are not being stimulated. The result: Body doesn’t send the message to them to produce more milk.
There are many resources out there that you can utilize for finding out how you can increase your milk supply. KellyMom.com and WhatToExpect.com have great information and a plethora of it for all things breastfeeding. I reference both myself in my research, and used much of the information I got from them to share with you in this post.
I can not stress enough that if you feel you have a serious issue with your supply, as in your baby doesn’t appear to be gaining weight, is not wetting and dirtying enough diapers in a given day, or is lethargic (not the normal newborn/baby sleepiness), consult your physician or a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are lifesavers when it comes to breastfeeding, because they are extremely knowledgeable and provide wonderful support. La Leche League is a great resource for finding out more information about Lactation Consultants, what they do, and where you can find one.
I hope this information was helpful to you (and your baby)!