Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Breastfeeding - Milk Supply

So the phone rings. I check the caller id and it’s no one I know but I pick it up anyway. I don’t ignore the unknown numbers anymore. It is often a mom looking for breastfeeding help and more often than not it’s about milk supply.

“How do I know my baby is getting enough? My baby wants to nurse all the time. My baby is fussy even after nursing. My baby has been on a great schedule of nursing every 2 hours but now wants to nurse all the time. Am I producing enough for my baby? Do I have a low supply?”
After talking with these moms and delving a little deeper into their breastfeeding relationship it often can be explained away to a growth spurt, a baby that wants to be a cluster feeder, or maybe the mom has an oversupply. However, on rare occasion it really does appear that the mom’s concerns are quite real and she needs help increasing her supply. So how exactly do you go about increasing your supply? There are many positive ways to go about it.

  • NURSE FREQUENTLY for as long as your baby wants to nurse. Plan to spend the next day or two doing little else than nursing and resting. If you have a sleepy baby, wake him and encourage him to nurse.

  • OFFER BOTH BREASTS AT EACH FEEDING. Let the baby nurse on the first breast as long as he is actively sucking and switch when he comes off the first breast on his own. Then you can burp him and offer the second breast. If he doesn’t stay active, try breast compression to keep him nursing longer.

  • TRY BREAST COMPRESSION. Once the baby is latched on well, breast compression may help the milk flow more quickly to give him positive reinforcement and keep him actively feeding longer.

  • ALL YOUR BABY’S SUCKING SHOULD BE DONE AT THE BREAST. Avoid pacifiers and bottles. Drinking from an artificial nipple requires a different type of sucking than nursing at the mother’s breast. If you have to supplement temporarily, there are many alternatives to the bottle. Pacifiers can interfere with extra time at the breast which is so essential to building your milk supply.

  • GIVE YOUR BABY ONLY HUMAN MILK, IF POSSIBLE. Avoid all solids, water and juice. If you baby is currently being supplemented with formula, DO NOT abruptly stop. Cut back on them gradually as your supply increases. Keep in contact with your health care provider to monitor your baby’s weight gain while your supply increases and supplements decrease. On a daily basis you can count your baby’s wet diapers and bowel movements. You should expect these to stay stable as you decrease the supplement.

  • DRINK PLENTY OF LIQUIDS AND EAT A WELL BALANCED DIET. Try to have a glass of water with you each time you nurse and eat a wide variety of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.

  • GET PLENTY OF REST AND RELAXATION. Sounds funny but the more rested and relaxed you are the faster your milk will increase. Cut back on the non-essentials and use your energy to make milk for your baby. If someone asks what you did today, you can say “I made milk, what’s your super power?”
If you have any other questions regarding milk supply or another question about breastfeeding, please don’t hesitate to call. I’m Sarah Alberts, the Sioux Falls La Leche League leader, and that’s what I’m here for. I love helping women and babies in their breastfeeding journey. You can reach me at 605-271-7578 or salberts0909@gmail.com. Elegant Mommy provides a place for us to hold meetings every second Thursday of the month at 6:30. We would LOVE to see you there!!!

*All information above is found in the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

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