Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Low Milk Supply

For our La Leche League (LLL) post this month, I just took an excerpt from 'The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding' by La Leche League International. If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it, along with attending a breastfeeding support group...whether it be LLL, Educated Mommy's 'Milk Monologues', or another group you have locally.

Don't forget that Educated Mommy hosts the Sioux Falls monthly LLL meeting at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday (the second Thursday of the month), and *also* hosts the new Milk Monologues group every Thursday morning at 9:30!

Anyway, I hope you find this excerpt helpful for minimizing your low milk supply!

If it seems that your supply is not meeting your baby's needs, then it is important to determine what is interfering with your production of milk. The following factors can cause or contribute to a lessened milk supply:

  • Supplementing. Supplementing with even an occasional bottle of formula, juice, or water can interfere with a mother's milk supply. Supplements fill up the baby and cause him to wait longer for the next feeding, thereby decreasing his sucking at the breast. The more formula he gets one day, the less milk the mother's body will make the following day. Supplementing causes a mother's breasts to produce less, not more.
  • Nipple Confusion. A baby can become confused by the use of any artificial nipple, as it requires a different type of sucking. If your baby is not sucking properly at the breast, he will not be able to stimulate your breasts to produce enough milk.
  • Pacifiers. Some babies are willing to meet their sucking needs with a pacifier, which may significantly reduce their sucking time at the breast. Pacifiers can also lead to nipple confusion.
  • Using Nipple Shields. Nipple shields worn during feedings interfere with the impulses to the brain that normally come from a baby sucking directly on his mother's nipples. The milk secretion and let-down of the milk is slowed down - directly affecting the amount of milk the baby receives. Nipple shields can also lead to nipple confusion.
  • Scheduled Feedings. Delaying the baby's feedings until the clock dictates a certain amount of time has passed can interfere with the supply and demand system of milk production. Feeding on demand usually assures an adequate supply.
  • Placid, Sleepy Baby. Some babies sleep most of the time and nurse only infrequently and for short periods. If this describes your baby, and if he is having few wet or soiled diapers and not gaining weight, it is important for you to awaken him regularly, stimulate him with gentle handling, and encourage him to nurse at least every two hours. You'll need to decide how often he should nurse, until he learns for himself how to get enough to eat.
  • Cutting back on the Length of Feedings. Long nursings can help assure an adequate milk supply. Cutting them short can prevent your supply from increasing as your baby's needs increase. Also, the fat content of the milk increases later in a feeding. On the other hand, a baby who nurses almost continually and never seems satisfied may not be sucking correctly. A baby who is satisfied will end the feeding when he is full.
  • Offering Only One Breast per Feeding. After the milk is established, some mothers prefer to nurse at only one breast per feeding if baby is gaining well. If you are working to increase your supply, use both breasts, but don't limit baby's sucking time at the first breast.


MissLndhs said...

And what if you still have low supply? I'm doing my darndist being a working mom, pumping 2-3 times a day at work n having trouble making enough for his bottles for the next day. Has anyone tried supplements like Fenugreek or brewers yeast? Or how about the prescription Reglan?

Evie said...

MissLndhs - I have heard good things about Fenugreek...not sure about the others. I would highly recommend that you talk with a lactation consultant in your area, or attend a LLL meeting or other breastfeeding support group.

Are you in the Sioux Falls area or elsewhere? I would be happy to help you find the support you need!

Anonymous said...

I have a heart baby that tends to drink a lot while Im gone, probably because it is easier. He likes to nurse when Im home (he is on all night) but he wears out easily. Im really struggling with pumping. I would rather snuggle my baby then sit with a machine and count ounces in the hope that I can supply enough while Im gone. :(