Written by Editorial Team
“Am I producing enough milk?” This is a very common question and often baffles mothers who are breastfeeding. This often leads to tension in mothers and some even panic that they are not being good mothers. Well, first of all, it’s not your fault, secondly, it is a very common issue and lastly; it is an issue that has solutions. Most often, this worry arises when mothers feel that their breasts ‘do not feel full’ or the milk is not leaking.
However, both these observations imply that your milk supply has adjusted itself to the baby’s needs. So, stop blaming yourself, relax and try to find out the causes and what you can do to overcome the problem instead of stressing yourself out which can also result in the low secretion of milk.
In This Article
For most women, it is the delivery of the milk that is the actual issue and not the production. However, if your baby is not gaining enough weight, and feels hungry, you could be on the other side.
There are quite a few low milk supply causes and we are listing them below for you:
Apart from these, waiting too long to start breastfeeding or not breastfeeding enough can also impact breast milk supply/ Women who supplement breastfeeding in earlier stages can also see some effect on breast milk production. Though many women worry about low breast milk supply, insufficient breast milk production is rare. Research has it that most women make breast milk, which is greater by about 1/3rd of the milk their babies drink.
If you are worried about producing less than required milk, the biggest indications would be given by your baby.
New-borns lose some of the birth weight and then gain the same after about 10 to 14 days. Your baby should keep on gaining about 28 grams every day till he is 3 months and about 14 grams from the age of 3 to 6 months. This is a sure indicator that the baby is getting enough milk, implying you are producing enough
A well-nursed baby should pass at least 3 stools a day in the first month of life. Now, this frequency will go down to once in two days after the first month
Though wet diapers is not a very good indicator of being well fed, yet your baby should typically wet 7-8 cloth diapers and 5-6 disposable ones
A baby typically has a small stomach, so he feels hungry every 2-3 hours. This means the baby takes in at least 8 feedings a day. This is again an indicator that the baby is nursing well and you are producing enough
The baby gets latched on properly and you can notice him swallowing the milk
You can read more about signs that your baby is getting enough milk here.
Often mothers complain about low milk supply at night. Well, this is because your hormones work its best in the morning and towards the evening they tend to slow down and absolutely drop down by night. It is expected that your doctor will make you aware of this situation and guide you to use breast pump during this time.
Many women complain that a low milk supply during breastfeeding makes your baby a little bit irritated because he is not getting enough to fill his stomach. The situation is also bound to put you under stress. However, you should know that babies do have something like a ‘cluster feed’, which is they feed frequently for some hours in a day, and that generally happens in late evenings and nights. This will render your letdown reflex a bit slower owing to a slower hormonal response.
To avoid a low milk supply at night, try taking some rest in the afternoon when the baby is sleeping and have a nutritious lunch followed by a healthy snack in the evening. Cuddle your baby to increase the breast milk supply as well.
The experts will say that pump as much as you can. If you are solely dependent on pump then you will be advised to pump often. At the same time, it is important that you keep in mind not to overdo it. Pumping in the middle of the feeding and after feeding even for smaller durations can help to boost breast milk supply. 2 hours or so should be ideal. If you feel the need, you can maximum push it for another hour, but not more than that.
Here are some tried and tested tips on pumping breast milk.
Most importantly, keep in mind that a low milk supply is not a letdown. Studies say that every one in three women goes through this and they raise healthy babies. Moreover, there are numerous options to cope with this crisis that are medically safe both for you and your baby.
You have to know that the glands secrete milk when there is demand, the more the baby feeds, the more milk your breasts produce. Frequent nursing sessions stimulate milk supply, so it is important to keep feeding your baby so that your body identifies the need and produces milk.
Here are a few important tips to help you increase your breast milk supply:
The important thing is to identify the signs that you are producing less milk. Once you identify them, consult your doctor. Improved breastfeeding skills generally work for a majority of mothers. But if nothing seems to work, there could be some serious health problems. Always remember, nursing is a simple demand and supply job!
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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