There’s one problem most of the new moms face, low milk supply. It could be a false alarm, but sometimes it isn’t one. There are times when your milk supply could be running low, that’ll reflect in your baby’s behaviour.
Is your baby crying too much these days, or seems agitated? If everything else checks in OK, you should probably pay attention to your milk supply. There are numerous reasons behind the low milk supply, which we will discuss in this post.
So let’s get into it!
Signs: Knowing If The Milk-Supply Is Low Or Not
It’s vital to determine if you’re producing less milk or not. Not only is it harmful to the baby, but it’s not suitable for the mother either. Therefore, it’s essential to assess this problem as soon as possible and seek professional care.
Here are the three signs that’ll help you in knowing if the milk supply is low or not:
1. Poor Weight Gain
Weight loss after birth is quite normal. Newborn babies lose about 5 to 7% of their weight in the early postpartum period. But afterwards, they regain at least 4-7 ounces per week as well. If this is not happening, and your baby is not gaining the usual weight, it’s time you seek professional help.
Another alarming sign that you will come across is dehydration. If your baby is not producing tears while crying, hasn’t passed urine in several hours, looks lethargic, and has a soft sinking spot on his head – your baby is dehydrated. Moreover, he is probably dehydrated because he has been experiencing milk shortages.
3. Insufficient Wet or Dirty Nappies
Insufficient wet nappies are the last sign that may help you figure out if your milk supply is low or not. Babies should be damp, smelly, and should have a record of 6-8 wholly soaked nappies in 24 hours. Anything, otherwise, would probably indicate a problem that needs medical attention.
Reasons Behind Low Breast Milk Supply
Now that you’re familiar with the signs of low breast milk supply, it’s time to learn about the reasons behind this issue. In addition, learning about the problem can help you reverse it with healthy habits and lifestyles.
1. Mom’s Poor Diet
Since you’re the mom, it’s apparent that you’re in charge of producing breast milk. Consuming unhealthy foods or having an unbalanced diet can directly affect the supply. Therefore, it is vital to eat healthy in order to keep producing milk during breastfeeding.
Adding garlic, chickpeas, almonds, fenugreek, dark leafy vegetables, and oatmeal can help boost the production.
2. Mom Under Stress
Taking care of a baby is not an easy task. There are a million things to manage that usually contribute to stress and anxiety. This leads to the production of cortisol and adrenaline. Both inhibit the release of oxytocin which is responsible for milk “let-down.” Therefore, cutting down stress and loving the process can help increase the milk supply.
3. Incomplete Latch
An incomplete or poor latch can also cause a significant decrease in breast milk production and supply. It is so because if the baby doesn’t latch properly, the breasts don’t empty as they should. Instead, it’s the emptying of breasts that stimulates the production of more milk. Thus, to ensure that your breasts don’t run out of milk, ensure that your baby is positioned ideally.
3. Cutting Down Feeding Time
It’s essential to give adequate time for your breasts to empty. If you don’t, your milk supply will inevitably suffer. Try breastfeeding your baby for at least 8-10 minutes on both sides to avoid this problem once and for all.
4. Unhealthy Lifestyle
Everything a mother does affects her baby. For example, if she is smoking, skipping meals, or not massaging her breasts from time to time – it will cause a drastic decrease in the breast milk supply. To avoid these issues, make sure that the moms take care of themselves and pursue a healthy lifestyle.
5. Alternating/Supplementing with Formula Milk
The arch-enemy of your breast milk’s supply is formula milk.
So if, in the very beginning too, you start to alternate breast milk with formula milk, there will surely be a decrease in your breast milk production. That is because your breasts work on supply and demand – the more you breastfeed, the more milk they produce.
So, alternating with formula milk can decrease that supply and demand process, creating trouble for your baby.
6. Taking Hormonal Oral Contraceptives
While contraceptives don’t affect the milk supply of many others, some may experience this issue. It’s due to estrogen in the pills or patches that causes the decrease in breast milk, especially if taken before your baby is four months old.
7. Scheduling Feedings
Scheduling when to feed your baby and when to not can also disrupt the demand and supply chain. Once disturbed, this can lead to low breast milk production. So, to make sure that you don’t go through this, please don’t schedule feedings.
Feed your baby whenever they are hungry, and you’re good to go.
8. Skipping Feeds at Night
It’s natural to want to skip breastfeeding at night. But it’s essential to not give in to the desire and feed your baby if he wakes up at night.
The interval during the night can be quite a lengthy one. In addition, it can potentially trick your body into believing that it’s OK not to produce milk anymore. This can eventually lead to a decreased breast milk supply, and in turn, affect your baby’s health.
Improve Your Breast Milk Supply
Having a decreased breast milk supply is not something unfixable. Here are some of the easiest ways to improve your milk supply:
- Use a breast pump to maintain good flow
- Massage your breasts from time to time
- Switch between both the breasts
- Aim for the perfect position of your baby so that he latches properly
It’s incredibly essential to look out for fake signs as well. Sometimes, it might feel like your milk supply is low, but it isn’t. Therefore, it’s always better to consult with a healthcare professional. In addition, try to improve your lifestyle, improve breastfeeding positions, and never schedule feeding periods for the baby.