Breast milk Supply- do you have enough milk?

13 Dec

Breast milk supply is always a hot topic.  I often hear women say they quit nursing because they don’t have enough milk. However, according to midwives and doctors, all women have enough milk to nurse their babies unless they have a serious medical condition that would prevent them from producing enough milk. Well, I must say milk supply goes up and down depending on a lot of factors such as stress, being away from baby too long, illness, not drinking enough water, not experiencing a let down ete

When a mom doubts herself , one of the first things she will probably do is to pump so she can measure how much milk the baby is getting. The problem with that is formula fed babies and breastfed babies have different eating schedule. Breastfed babies eat more often than formula fed babies.  So don’t try to measure how much milk your baby is getting by using the bottle but by how many wet diapers your baby has. a baby should be wetting at least 6 diapers a day…better yet most babies wet their diaper about every 2 hrs or so or after a nursing.

How do you know when a breastfed baby is full?

Breastfed baby will stop nursing when they are full by falling asleep on the breast,  letting go of the breast, do what is call a non-nutritive suck where they are not really drinking just comfort sucking,  they will unclench their fist and relax their bodies.

Simply things to do to maintain adequate milk supply

  • The more a baby suckle at the breast, the more milk you will produce period.  So nurse on demand,  not on a schedule and don’t the watch the clock.  Most newborns will spend anywhere from 10-30 minutes at the breast. It is all about supply and demand.
  • Make sure you have a proper latch and the baby is actually swallowing milk. If the baby is not removing enough milk due to improper latch, milk supply can be low.
  • Drink alot of water
  • Know the baby growth spurt periods, baby becomes very hungry and fussy. They to want to  nurse every hour and looks like they are always hungry. You begin to feel as though you can’t supply enough milk to keep them full.  This is the time when moms doubt that they have enough milk to feed their babies. The babies are just growing so they need to eat a little more often. This is not the time to give formula and some dr will tell moms to supplement the milk. Supplementing your milk will only cause milk supply to drop.  Just  let the baby nurse as often as he or she wants. Milk supply will increase and growth spurts last for only a short times.  Society also puts undue stress on a mother by telling her baby is a burden because she has to sit  nurse the baby and you got stuff to do around the house or babies should be able to go without food for4  hours, put them on a schedule so you can have free time etc. Remember they are only a baby once and soon they will be talking back to you. Enjoy this time and use it as a time to relax.

What to do if you really start experiencing a low milk supply?

Low milk can start anytime but most moms may experience low supply around six months when baby is more active and mom nurses less,  baby may start some solid, mom returns to work and away from baby for long periods of time, pumping at work less than every 3 hours,  stressful time ete.

Let baby nurse more often during the day and at nights. If you are working during the day, be sure to pump at least every 3-4 hours and let the baby nurse at nights. (if working see pumping and working post http://wp.me/po6Jt-1S) Sleep in with the baby especially if working during the days.

Make sure baby empties the breast and you are getting letdowns.  If milk is left back, breast signals to brain to produce less milk.

Drink alot of water, try to drink a cup before each nursing session and do breast compression.(see Dr. Jack Newman on breast compression) If milk is still low, drink tea containing fenugreek, fennel, blessed thistle, nettle just to name a few 1-4 times a day. You can buy tea made specially to increase your milk like  motherlove more milk   at your health food store or online.  Start with one cup and see how full you get then increase by a cup if needed till you get enough milk. There are herbs that can increase milk supply but be careful to read side effects if making your own blend.

What if you tried all of above and baby is not gaining weight, Sometimes it is not that the mom does not have enough milk, it is the baby that does not know how to nurse properly.

  • Check if the baby has a proper latch. Most newborn have a hard time latching because their mouths are tiny.  If the baby is smacking, clicking or making weird sounds then the latch is not good and then baby might not be getting enough milk. Make sure that the bottom lip is out and not tucked in.  refer to http://tinyurl.com/ylmqj8y  and http://tinyurl.com/ykygsdj
  •  Check to see if baby is tongue-tied.  A tongue-tied baby cannot stick their tongue out. They cannot nurse well and will lose weight because they cannot get the milk out.  Ask you pediatrician if you suspect that the baby is tongue-tied.
  • Make sure your ped is using a breastfeeding weight chart and not a formula weight chart.
  • Consult a lactation

A breastfed baby is a happy baby. It is worth the effort. Good luck.

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2 Responses to “Breast milk Supply- do you have enough milk?”

  1. Usenlyillen May 21, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian, iwspo.net

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