When you become a mother, you find yourself immediately hardwired to worry about your child. One of the first worries you may experience as a new mom includes, “Is my milk supply enough for this baby?”
Breastmilk supply is demand-driven, meaning, the more breastmilk you remove from your breasts, the more breastmilk your body will make. Demand the breastmilk, receive the breastmilk. It’s a relatively simple concept in most cases.
Commonly, mom’s mistake typical and healthy newborn behavior as “low-supply.”
Behavior that May Have You Fooled
Here are several behaviors that you may think are signs of low milk supply, but aren’t:
- Baby behaving fussy or whiny
- Baby acting hungry more often (this is how your baby helps your body create more milk as they grow)
- Baby waking more frequently at night
While unpleasant, these behaviors are not indicators of low breastmilk supply.
Signs of a Low Milk Supply
Now, there are times that a mama’s milk supply may indeed be low; this is when assistance is needed. Some signs of a low milk supply include:
- Poor weight gain
- A decrease in wet and poopy diapers
- Dehydration in baby
These are all issues to be taken seriously. I recommend a consultation with an IBCLC (like myself) in cases such as these.
What Causes Low Supply
There is no shame in the low supply game. Many factors can cause a low breastmilk supply. These include:
- Supplementing with formula or donated breastmilk and not pumping to replace that feeding—this lowers the demand, hence the lower supply
- Bottle preference—a baby preferring a bottle for shape or ease
- Pacifiers—these can affect latch
- Nipple shields—these can be a lifesaver but can affect nipple stimulation or milk flow
- Scheduled feedings—feed your baby whenever they are hungry
- Sleepy baby—in the beginning, your baby may just be too tired to start the letdown
- Stopping a feeding, rather than letting baby finish naturally
- Offering one breast per feeding before establishing your supply
- Mom’s health—the following things can negatively affect supply:
- retained placenta
- postpartum hemorrhage
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- breast injury/surgery
- anatomical problems
- medication—like Sudafed or Benadryl
- hormonal birth control
Luckily, most of the low supply triggers can be resolved, and there is no reason why your supply cannot rebound or establish.
If you are concerned about any of these issues, please reach out to me at email@example.com or schedule a free 15-minute consultation here. I am more than happy to help you determine if you have a low supply and give you steps to take to fix it.