August is breastfeeding awareness month as you all probably know. What could I possibly say that is new, exciting and somehow impossibly insightful? Well, what I can tell you is that it is the most amazing form of bonding on the planet. I breastfed my own little love for 2.5 years. Now at 6 years old he still finds solace laying upon my breast when he is sad or down.
My milk had a hard time coming in. I had an early c-section due to preeclampsia. I was knocked out on magnesium for the next few days and when I tried to pump (it was too toxic for my babe in the NICU) I was barely getting anything. I thought, well I guess that’s that. I wont be breastfeeding. The nursing staff encouraged me to continue to try. I did. Pretty soon I was dripping milk everywhere! It was a bit horrifying…I went through a gazillion tee shirts before I realized there were actual boob pads for this milky problem.
Do I have low milk supply?
Often times we think our supply is low when it’s really not. Here are some of the things you may experience and think your supply is low:
– Breast milk dissolves much faster than formula so these babies need to feed more often. If baby is feeding often this is a good thing!
-sudden increases in nursing is likely a growth spurt.
-your baby is not nursing as much as before. Babies learn quickly. The older they get the more efficient they are at extracting the milk.
-You breasts feel soft again. This is also normal as you adjust to your babies feeding habits.
-You are getting little or no milk when you pump. Babies are far more efficient at getting the milk than a machine. Pumping is a skill and is also dependent on the machine.
**If you are truly worried about your supply, consult a board certified lactation consultant.
Potential causes for low milk supply.
Here are some causes of low milk supply:
-supplementing breast feedings with formula feedings. “Nursing is a supply & demand process. Milk is produced as your baby nurses, and the amount that she nurses lets your body know how much milk is required. Every bottle (of formula, juice or water) that your baby gets means that your body gets the signal to produce that much less milk.”–Kellymom
-If baby is sucking on a pacifier she may not cry to be fed as often, which reduces your flow. Your body is saying baby doesn’t need to feed as much, lets produce less milk.
-breastfeeding is all supply and demand. When you have scheduled feedings, this can interfere with that and reduce supply.
-Even if baby is sleeping and you are drained and all you can think about is sleep, if you skip the nighttime feedings can also interfere with milk supply.
“For the most part, milk production is a “use it or lose it” process. The more often and effectively your baby nurses, the more milk you will make.”–Kellymom
Ways to increase supply.
Your breast milk is all supply and demand. The more you breastfeed you infant, the more milk your body will make.
- incorporate pumping in between feedings. You can even pump right after breastfeeding if they don’t feel empty.
- Take care of yourself. This includes healthy snacks and plenty of water. Being healthy will help on the milk supply!
- Some moms take to lactation enhancements such as cookies and teas. Products that contain fenugreek, alfalfa, flaxseed meal, oats, and brewer’s yeast are used as natural enhancements. But do your homework and consult with your doctor or lactation consultant before utilizing these products to ensure their safety and efficacy.