Most women know the importance of breastfeeding, yet we realize the challenges and understand that not all women will be able to breastfeed their infants.
Breast milk contains just the right amount of nutrients your baby needs to grow and thrive. It's easier to digest than formula and it contains antibodies that will help build up your baby's immune system. Breastfeeding can be challenging. Maintaining milk supply is important for your baby's health and growth. If you are concerned about low milk supply, contact your doctor or a lactation specialist.
What Causes Low Milk Supply?
Low milk supply can be causes by variety of reasons including waiting too long to begin breastfeeding, not breastfeeding often enough, poor latch, certain medications. Certain factors such as premature birth, obesity, high blood pressure, and poorly controlled diabetes can also affect milk production. Previous surgeries on breasts can also contribute to low milk supply.
Tips for Boosting Milk Production
Many women worry that their milk supply is low, but most women actually make more than their baby will drink. Sometimes nursing mothers notice natural changes in feeding, and assume their milk supply has dropped. Milk supply is based on your baby's demand. Click here to read more about how to tell if your baby is getting enough breastmilk. Here are some tips for boosting milk supply:
- Start breastfeeding early: Waiting too long to start breastfeeding can lower milk production. As soon as possible, hold your baby to your skin. Babies will likely start nursing within the first hour after delivery.
- Breastfeed often: In the first few weeks of life, feed your baby every two to three hours.
- Check latch: Be sure your babies is latched on, positioned correctly, and swallowing to ensure effective latch.
- Pay attention to feeding problems: Babies sometimes only nurse on one side during a feeding, but if that occurs often it can lead to reduced milk supply. Pumping the other side will relieve pressure and help keep your supply up until the baby starts eating more.
- Don't skip feedings: If you miss a breastfeeding session or supplement feedings, be sure to pump to keep up your supply.
- Wait to introduce a pacifier: Waiting a few weeks after birth to introduce a pacifier will give you time to settle into a routine and build up your milk supply.
- Use medications carefully: Certain medications can reduce milk supply. Your doctor can also help you determine which medications are safe to use while nursing.
- Avoid alcohol and nicotine: Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol and smoking can reduce milk production.
- Drink water: Staying hydrated will help keep you and your milk production healthy.
- Relax: Stress can slow down the release of breast milk. Worrying about low milk supply can be a hindrance to milk production.