Whether you’re a new mom or seasoned supermom, it’s completely normal to have more things on your mind than you can keep track of! One of the things that might concern you is low milk supply and whether or not your baby is getting all the nutrients he or she needs. This is completely normal and there is no need to lose sleep over it, because most moms are actually able to produce a healthy amount of milk for their babies. There are various factors that might make you think you have low milk supply, but these issues can be solved so that your milk production increases naturally. We did the research so you can better understand the reasons behind low milk supply and what you can do to address them. Keep reading to find out more!
One reason you may think you have low milk supply is because your baby is not latching properly. What we need to understand about breastmilk production is that it is stimulated on a supply and demand basis. Your breasts are triggered to produce milk the moment your baby latches and feeds. The removal of milk then tells your body to make more. So, the more milk is expressed or removed, the more your body will produce. If your baby is not latching properly, he or she may not be able to get the milk out and therefore affect your supply. You might need to try different latching positions until you achieve what you and your baby are most comfortable with. For further assistance, you can always consult your doctor or a lactation expert to help you out!
Newborns feed frequently, almost every 2 to 3 hours on average. However, every baby is different and there is no one size fits all rule for feeding schedules. Whether you follow a fixed schedule or feed on demand by watching your baby for signs of hunger, you would know what works best for you and your little one. If you’re looking to help stimulate breastmilk production, you will need to express milk regularly. Frequently expressing milk will help ensure your body consistently produces a healthy supply.
The rise in cortisol, the stress hormone, can also affect your milk supply. Many moms experience physical, mental, and emotional stress due to the demands of pregnancy and caring for your baby 24/7. A good solution is to always be surrounded by people who love and support you. Get help from your spouse or other family members, so you can have adequate amounts of rest while taking care of your baby.
Certain over-the-counter medications, such as cold and allergy medicine, may decrease your milk supply because these contain a decongestant. It is good to always tell your doctor that you are breastfeeding before they prescribe you any kind of medication to ensure it’s safe for you and for your baby.
If you are having problems with breastfeeding and your milk supply, it is always best to consult a lactation expert or your doctor. Breastfeeding is truly a personal journey, but it is also important to surround yourself with people who will support you all the way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to seek help when you need it!
Sara Novak, How to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply, November 2020.
Donna Murray, Causes of a Low Breast Milk Supply and What You Can Do About It, April 2020.
Donna Murray, Breastfeeding With A Retained Placenta, April 2020.
Donna Murray, Common Causes of a Decreasing Breast Milk Supply, July 2020.
The Royal Women’s Hospital, Low milk supply.