Breastfeeding Chat - Low Milk Supply
Breastfeeding is often one of the first subjects our clients bring up with us. Sometimes they are concerned that either they won't be able to breastfeed or that they will have lots of difficulty. Generally they've heard something either through a friend, on Facebook, or in a mom group about how difficult breastfeeding will be. We are even hired specifically for our expertise.
There are many breastfeeding issues that may arise when starting your breastfeeding Journey. The most commonly addressed issues are low milk supply, pain during nursing, and fussy baby. The good news is often these are very easily remedied!
Low breast milk supply often stems from either improper latch or baby not draining the breast efficiently. Often in mom groups you'll hear things like, "Eat oatmeal!", "Try Fenugreek!", and a host of other remedies that you can take or eat. These are called Galactogogues. The issue with these is that they're sort of like a Band-Aid. They may help boost supply temporarily, but typically they are not a long-term solution.
An important thing to do when you suspect you have low supply is to talk with a breastfeeding professional.
Most hospitals in our area have IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) on staff. Additionally, many hospitals have excellent breastfeeding educators and support groups. We also have wonderful private Lactation Consultants (LCs) who can come to your home and assess any issues you may have. These are excellent resources to go to when you suspect you might not be making enough milk.
About 6 weeks after baby is born we often she panicked posts on Facebook from new moms. Why around 6 weeks? Because around then our breast milk supply tends to level off. Generally if letdown had previously been uncomfortable it starts to be painless, and engorgement typically stops as well. This change can worry women that they are now not making enough breast milk. By in large, you're still making plenty of milk.
The best gauge for the amount of milk that your baby is getting is output.
So, watch for wet and dirty diapers. If baby is having an adequate number of both, usually you're fine. If you find baby has not had an adequate number of wet diapers ( put an appropriate number of wet diapers here), baby becomes lethargic, or you suspect baby is not gaining enough weight, be sure to bring it up to your pediatrician. It is important to make sure that your baby is being adequately fed.
There is a less common occurrence called Insufficient Glandular Tissue (IGT) in which mothers cannot adequately produce enough milk for their babies. Oftentimes these mothers are met with resistance when considering something like formula. It is important to understand that formula or donor milk and breast milk don't need to be mutually exclusive. Sometimes families choose to combo feed. This is a great choice for someone who would like to continue breastfeeding but cannot support baby on breast milk alone. The most important thing when it comes to feeding baby is just that. Feeding baby.
When dealing with low milk supply it is important to keep in mind that typically your baby is probably getting enough milk, and if baby isn't there are ways of assessing and remedying the situation. Being concerned that your baby does not have enough milk is very normal, natural, and common.
Most of the time low milk supply is not a reason to discontinue breastfeeding.
With the right guidance you and your baby will continue to have a happy, healthy breastfeeding relationship.
Curious about how we can help you and your breastfeeding journey? Click here to learn more about how Postpartum Doula Support can help you have a smooth start to your breastfeeding relationship.