Is my milk supply dropping?
My personal summary of what I found when I thought my milk supply was dropping
A common question amongst breastfeeding mums. Not being able to see the intake the baby is having makes it difficult to tell if your baby is getting enough from you. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see through boobs? Well, since that’s not going to happen in my lifetime, let me share with you a couple of points I recently found when googling to see if my milk supply was dropping.
The feeling of not being full, leaking less, not feeling the letdown anymore, baby feeding frequently (cluster feeding), not being able to pump much (or maybe nothing) are all reasons that mums question themselves and the amount of milk they are producing. Are these feelings highlight for concern? Well, yes and no. Confused? I am, because I experienced these which made me worry that I wasn’t producing enough breastmilk for my baby.
They say that your milk production is directly linked to supply and demand. Each time your baby removes milk (or you pump), your breasts will produce more milk. But what if your baby is not drinking for any number of reasons, (mine was teething at the time when I became really worried) and you couldn’t pump any milk? The fear of my breasts not being emptied and therefore not making more milk was my reasons to worry. And so I consulted with Dr Google which told me, if my baby didn’t feed well I should pump regularly. Pumping for me was hard, not very successful and to be honest, not one of my favoured activities to do. And naturally, when we don’t want to do something we procrastinate, or you do a half ass job at it to get the task done.
I breastfeed my first son until he naturally weaned at 23 months so I thought second time round would be a breeze, but it wasn’t. I was very wrong! The worry is real and exists even if you’re a second time, third time, how ever many time mum. We all worry as mums.
Which in turn can have a negative affect on your supply. You worry and stress and your body can respond negatively. So, what do we do? We post on social media asking fellow mums what their suggestions are to increase your supply. I’ve been there and done that. Drinking plenty of water, skin to skin contact, eating oats, consuming lactation cookies, drinking smoothies, have some ginger beer, nurse often, eat a well-balanced diet, don’t forget your vitamins, drink Milo, and so much more.
To honest, this summary only scrapes the surface of the information out there about this topic. I could write books and books on it, but I won’t. Because if you are a mum like me, you don’t have time to read and read and read.
There are lots of articles that try and give a mother’s peace of mind by providing a list of indicators that your baby IS getting enough. These can include:
– 6+ wet nappies in 24 hours
– At least one soft yellow poo per day
– Generally settled between feeds
– Wakes by themselves for a feed
– And Your baby is gaining weight
Generally, if your milk supply is low, its temporary and can be improved with appropriate support. There are lots of products and suggestions out there that you can utilise, but it is always a good idea to seek the advice from your GP, Australian Breastfeeding Association or a lactation consultant.
For me, my baby is doing all of the above indicators so I’m going to try not to worry so much about my milk supply and instead, enjoy a cookie, stay hydrated and have lots of naked cuddles.