I Don’t Think I Have Enough Milk: Low Milk Supply

 One of the most common concerns among breastfeeding moms is making enough milk for their babies.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our breasts were transparent with ounce markers so we could see exactly what baby is getting?  Often times, a problem with milk supply doesn’t really exist, but when it does, and we aren’t seeing adequate weight gain, pees or poops, the following are some things to remember about milk production:

  • Milk production in the early days is driven by hormones.  The earlier the baby gets to the breast, and the more frequently, the better the foundation is laid for a good long-term milk supply.
  • Milk production in the later days (after the first couple of weeks) is driven by milk removal.  The more frequent milk is removed, the faster the breasts will make more milk.
  • Skin to skin contact stimulates a rush of breastfeeding hormones.
  • If baby is not latching well, there may not be adequate milk removal and breast stimulation.
  • Breastfeeding hormones are highest in the super early morning hours. If you are going longer than 5-6 hours without removing milk, your day time supply can drop.
  • Pumping is not as efficient as a baby that is breastfeeding well.  When returning to work, moms normally experience a drop in milk supply.

What can you do?

  • Nurse your baby early (after birth) and often.
  • If you suspect you truly have a milk supply issue, contact a local IBCLC for help, and in the meantime, nurse more frequently, and pay close attention to your baby’s output.
  • Keep up with nighttime feeds.  Go no longer than one 5-6 hour stretch without removing milk.
  • Spend as much time in skin to skin with your baby as you can.
  • Ensure that your baby is getting a deep latch, taking about 1 inch past your nipple into her mouth.
  • Use the hands-on pumping technique for more efficient pumping.
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