Tips for Low Milk Supply
*Do not take this information as a supplement to medical advice; always check with your provider and your babyâ€™s provider before making choices in your babyâ€™s medical care.
You just had your baby. You read all the mommy blogs, took the breastfeeding courses, and felt confident that breastfeeding would be a breeze going in to have your baby. Now, youâ€™re home, you donâ€™t sleep when the baby sleeps, your boobs hurt, you canâ€™t get your baby to calm down, and you start noticing your little oneâ€™s skin tone turn the shade of a banana.
Panic ensues! You head to the doctor, and the doctor tells you that your supply is low and that the baby is jaundiced. And now, you have to bring your sweet baby to be readmitted to the hospital.
Now, before you go and beat yourself up, and give in to the pressure that society places on moms to solely breastfeed, take a deep breath and relax. Yes! You know â€śbreast is bestâ€ť is practically plastered all over social media, crunchy mom blogs, and your hospital pamphlets. But, sometimes, breastfeeding needs some training wheels. You arenâ€™t meant to go straight down BMX hills with your tatas.
Letâ€™s chat about whatâ€™s going on, how to fix it, and where to get help for low supply and latch issues.
Suppose you are low on breastmilk. A number of things could be happening. Maybe you had a traumatic or early delivery that delayed breastmilk production onset. Its possible baby was delivered via c section, and perhaps skin to skin was delayed. In very rare cases, moms will truly not have the ability to produce breastmilk. Hypoplastic breasts or hormone imbalances can cause a low milk supply.
But, chances are, if your production is low, itâ€™s most likely due to less â€śdemandâ€ť being placed on your production.
Breastmilk is produced through your bodyâ€™s response to the need that the baby places on your body. If you arenâ€™t stimulating often, it will signal your body not to produce as much breastmilk that is needed to feed your baby.
How can you fix this? See a few tips below:
1. Meet with an IBCLC. Contact your pediatrician or hospital and see what support they have for you. You may be able to make an appointment with a local or even an online IBCLC (some insurance companies can cover these visits, so check with your doc). Even if a consult is pricey, if it works out, it may save you hundreds of dollars spent on formula. So keep that in mind when weighing the cost.
2. Wear that baby! Keep baby close, a nurse on demand. Skin to skin is beneficial for both you and your baby. Donâ€™t put the baby on a clock, but donâ€™t let your newborn go longer than three hours between feeds during the day and no longer than four to five in the evening. As production regulates, and the babyâ€™s medical provider dictates, the baby will be able to go longer between feeds.
3. If you are pumping, try power pumping to bring in supply. At the end of this article, you will find some amazing resources on power pumping. But you pretty much will take a â€śpumping vacationâ€ť and pump on and off in one-hour intervals. Livingwithlowmilksupply.com says to set aside one hour to pump. Pump for 20 minutes (both sides at the same time), rest for 10, pump for 10, rest for 10, and pump for 10. At least do one session a day, more to see a better increase.
4. Hand express milk between feeds. This is a great way to get your breasts stimulated more often.
5. Try to pump on one side while nursing on the other.
6. If you are pumping, make sure your flanges are the right size. This is very important as too big or too small can affect supply.
7. Have baby checked for a tongue tie, and if one is found, advocate you get it clipped.
8. If you have to supplement, a supplemental nursing system can provide great support for you and your baby. This allows the baby to receive formula while nursing, so you are not missing that extra stimulation.
9. Take a nursing vacation. Ignore housework, have someone else bring you food, and just spend the day wearing and nursing the baby.
10. Lastly, do not beat yourself up over this. There is a reason that lactation consultants cost a pretty penny, and their certification exam is quite difficult. Breastfeeding can be challenging, and just know that loving on, talking to, and holding that baby is what truly gives baby those extra IQ points.
Hope these tips help!
See below for some great resources if you have a low supply.
Power Pumping: https://livingwithlowmilksupply.com/power-pumping-to-increase-milk-supply
Lactation Education Resources: https://www.lactationtraining.com/resources/educational-materials/handouts-parents
Causes of Low Milk Supply: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/low-milk-supply/faq-20058148