Posts Tagged ‘milk production’

Am I Making Enough Milk?

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Often breastfeeding moms wonder “Am I making enough milk?” After all with breastfeeding there is an element of faith required since there really is no way to measure how many ounces of milk your baby is getting. Sometimes breastfeeding mothers mistakenly interpret the following 5 situations as an indicator that they are not making enough milk:

1. I never feel “full” anymore! – During the first 8 weeks when you are establishing your milk supply, you are likely to get the sensation of feeling “full” or even slightly engorged. However once your milk supply is well established, you are less likely to experience this feeling. Your body will naturally learn to regulate milk production based on a pattern or rhythm of breastfeeding and/or pumping.

2. I used to leak all the time, now I hardly ever do! – This is similar to what is stated above. During the initial weeks of breastfeeding you are likely to leak a lot however once your body knows how much milk to make for your baby, you are less likely to leak. You may start to only experience leakage during irregular prolonged times between feedings. Personally I was really happy when I stopped leaking and didn’t have to mess with breastpads anymore. Also a friend taught me a trick; light compression on the breast can help stop leakage. On occasion I found myself leaking, I would try to discreetly push on my breasts with my forearms or by crossing my arms.

3. I don’t get much milk from pumping! – Remember that your body responds very differently to a breastpump than to your own baby’s suckling. The amount you get from a pumping session does not necessarily accurately reflect the amount of milk baby gets while nursing.

4. My baby frequently pulls off the breast while nursing – This comment is commonly heard around the 4th or 5th month. During this age baby can suddenly seem less focused¬†while breastfeeding¬†and might even pull off¬†of¬†the breast frequently. Sometimes mothers worry that their baby is doing this¬†because the milk is not flowing sufficiently, however it’s more often related to development. At this age babies become more aware and attentive to their surroundings. Sometimes nursing in a quiet or less stimulating environment can help baby be more focused on nursing.

5. I don’t feel the “letdown“¬†-¬† I clearly remember saying this to a friend of mine shortly after my 3rd baby was born. I was a little worried since I had definitely felt it (even to the point of it being slightly uncomfortable at times) with my other two boys, particularly during the newborn stage. However my friend, who also happens to be a La Leche League Leader, assured me that it was okay that I didn’t feel a letdown. It could have been because it was my 3rd baby and my body had already been lactating for quite some time by that point?¬†I am not exactly sure why I didn’t experience the sensation of a letdown with him. My friend really encouraged me to focus on the signs that indicated he was getting enough milk.

What are the indicators that a baby is getting enough milk:

1. Baby is gaining weight. According to Kellymom, on average, a breastfed baby gains 6 oz per week.

2. Baby has approximately 4 to 6 wet diapers in a 24 hour period.

3. Baby is nursing frequently. Newborns generally nurse at least 10 times in a 24 hour period.

4. Baby appears satiated. Typically a baby is calm and content post mama’s milk…this is¬†often jokingly referred to as being¬†”milk drunk”.¬† And oh¬†boy is it a sweet sensation to hold a blissfully milk drunk baby in your arms. :)

An important part of breastfeeding is believing and trusting that your body is strong and capable of nourishing your baby!

Enjoy your nurslings!!

-Sarah

Top 5 Ways to Increase Your Milk Supply

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

While having a low milk supply can be challenging and frustrating, it does not always necessitate supplementation. There are several simple things you can try at home to help boost your milk production.

1. Nurse your baby – Because breast milk production is a supply and demand process, typically one of the most effective ways to increase your milk supply is to increase the frequency at which you nurse your baby. Allow baby to nurse on demand or even offer frequently to assist in establishing a plentiful milk supply.

2. Examine Latch РOf course increasing the frequency at which you nurse your baby is only effective if baby is latching properly. A proper latch results in a more efficient supply and demand process. When baby is latched properly the breast receives adequate stimulation to signal milk production.

3. Nourish yourself – Making breast milk is a lot of work for your body. Be sure you are fueling your body with healthy foods, staying well hydrated, and well rested in order to maintain an optimal milk supply.¬† Consume foods that are known for increasing a mother’s milk supply such as oatmeal or Brewer’s yeast. Make yourself a yummy batch of Lactation Bars to enjoy. Or better yet, ask your partner or a friend to make them for you so you can focus on nursing baby and resting.

4. Avoid Use of Artificial Nipples РBabies, particularly newborns like to suck. It is calming and organizing for them to do so, hence the popularity of pacifiers. However allowing baby to engage in non-nutritive sucking at the breast as a source of comfort (as opposed to use of a pacifier) can be beneficial to the overall breastfeeding relationship and avoids any potential nipple confusion.

5. Consider Using herbs and/or Medications – If you have tried basic ways to increase milk production (such as the ideas listed above) without a positive impact on your milk supply, you might consider use of herbs and/or medications under the guidance of a health care provider. The most commonly used herbs to help increase a mother’s milk supply are fenugreek, blessed thistle, and alfalfa. There are also a few prescription drugs available to increase milk supply, however these are typically reserved as last resort options if natural methods have not been successful.

Have you experienced breast milk supply issues? If so what helped you be able to maintain an adequate milk supply for your nursling?

-Sarah

PS. Don’t forgot to submit your picture for tomorrow’s Fan Photo Friday!