Why You May Experience Low Milk Supply

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WhyYouMayExperienceMilk supply is something I’m always concerned with since my son is exclusively breastfed.  I’ve heard the horror stories from many woman who say they have a low milk supply.  Sometimes the supply is believed, or found to be so low that it doesn’t provide the necessary nutrition for their babies to grow and thrive.  I never wanted this to be the case with me, so I did plenty of research early on.  In addition, I (as well as my husband) went to many breastfeeding classes and consulted lactation consultants before and after the birth of our son.

I wanted to share with you all 4 reasons why you many experience low milk supply.  There are many more reasons, so these four are not an end all, be all.  If you feel you have an issue with your supply, please consult your physician and/or a lactation consultant.

Keep in mind that adequate supply is fueled by adequate demand.  Here are a few reasons why anything that hinders the latter can lead to a problem.

1. Supplementing. Adding formula to your baby’s diet results in your baby taking less of your milk.  The result:  This causes your breasts to produce less milk.

2. Infrequent feedings. Too much time between meals can be extremely harmful to your supply, because your breasts won’t be stimulated often enough to produce an adequate amount of milk.  You should go no more than 4 hours between feedings to prevent this.

3. Short feedings. Cutting nursing sessions short (for example, five minutes on each breast) won’t sufficiently drain your breast.  Your baby will not get the fattier and most nutritious hind milk by doing this.  Thus, resulting in poor weight gain, and a slew of other issues.  By not sufficiently emptying your breast, they won’t be stimulated to produce more.

4. Pacifiers. At times, some babies spend more time spent sucking on a pacifier and are less inclined to suckling on the breast. Less suckling means less milk production, because your breasts are not being stimulated.  The result:  Body doesn’t send the message to them to produce more milk.

There are many resources out there that you can utilize for finding out how you can increase your milk supply.  KellyMom.com and WhatToExpect.com have great information and a plethora of it for all things breastfeeding.  I reference both myself in my research, and used much of the information I got from them to share with you in this post. 

I can not stress enough that if you feel you have a serious issue with your supply, as in your baby doesn’t appear to be gaining weight, is not wetting and dirtying enough diapers in a given day, or is lethargic (not the normal newborn/baby sleepiness), consult your physician or a lactation consultant.  Lactation consultants are lifesavers when it comes to breastfeeding, because they are extremely knowledgeable and provide wonderful support.  La Leche League is a great resource for finding out more information about Lactation Consultants, what they do, and where you can find one.

I hope this information was helpful to you (and your baby)!


6 thoughts on “Why You May Experience Low Milk Supply

  1. I am exclusively bf-ing my son right now too (well, almost — we started baby food last week, but that’s mostly getting smeared on his face right now). I would add a couple more reasons — not drinking enough water, and trying to lose weight by cutting down on carbs. Both of those can really tank your supply, too. Thanks for getting this info out there!
    Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout recently posted…What we’re reading these days, January 2014

    • Your welcome! :-) That’s great your EBF and introducing food as well! I’m sure he’ll be gobbling up baby food in no time and still getting that good mommy milk too. Yes, staying hydrated is key and eating good nutritious meals, and not dieting as well. I felt like those were the two obvious, so I wanted to give some possibly less known reasons for those that may be struggling and doing the aforementioned two.

    • Thanks so much! That’s so awesome you EBF for the first year, I plan on doing the same with my son. Lactation consultants really are the best, so knowledgeable and caring. I wish more women knew about them and utilized them before and after having a baby.

  2. This is all sooo true! It’s why now if a mom is telling me that they are hearing form the doctor to supplement when they had a perfectly healthy baby, I say to run! It’s their way of trying to get these vicious companies to make an extra buck, including making an additional buck themselves. Most women don’t have low milk supplies, they are just not getting the proper instruction and training on how to breastfeed. The percentage is extremely small who actually have the low supply issue…it’s like 3% or something like that I forget. Breastfeeding on demand directly at the breast is something that people HAVE to do. I had a friend who tried to pump in between very very early and just give a bottle of the milk instead of nursing at the breast and her supply definitely tanked. It does take a lot of time, but they are our babies. We have to give them the best. We brought them into this world. Breastfeeding just takes your time, not your money…it’s FREE! :)
    Brittnei recently posted…When Should You Start To Homeschool?

    • I couldn’t agree with you more! In my research and in the classes I’ve taken I’ve learned the same thing about low milk supply in women; in that they have a low supply, when they don’t! You only need one breast to feed a baby, so the fact that we have two means we have extra, for the most part. I say run too, and do your research. There are so many ways to increase supply, and to do it naturally too. The drug companies pay the insurance companies, and they pay the doctors, so they push formula on women, and those who are uneducated give in. I could go on forever, but I know we see eye to eye on this, so I won’t. I’m so glad we are well informed and doing what’s best for our little one’s. Your right, breatsfeeding does take time, but I wouldn’t change giving my son the best for anything. And is being free is a lovely bonus! Oh how miraculous God made the female form! :-)

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