These things can cause or contribute to a low milk supply:
• Supplementing: Nursing is a supply & demand process. Milk is produced as your baby nurses, and the amount that she nurses lets your body know how much milk is required. Every bottle (of formula, juice or water) that your baby gets means that your body gets the signal to produce that much less milk.
• Nipple confusion: A bottle requires a different type of sucking than nursing, and it is easier for your baby to extract milk from a bottle. As a result, giving a bottle can either cause your baby to have problems sucking properly at the breast, or can result in baby preferring the constant faster flow of the bottle.
• Pacifiers: Pacifiers can cause nipple confusion. They can also significantly reduce the amount of time your baby spends at the breast, which may cause your milk supply to drop.
• Nipple shields can lead to nipple confusion: They can also reduce the stimulation to your nipple or interfere with milk transfer, which can interfere with the supply-demand cycle.
• Scheduled feedings interfere with the supply & demand cycle of milk production and can lead to a reduced supply, sometimes several months later rather than immediately. Nurse your baby whenever she is hungry.
• Sleepy baby: For the first few weeks, some babies are very sleepy and only demand to nurse infrequently and for short periods. Until baby wakes up and begins to demand regular nursing, nurse baby at least every two hours during the day and at least every 4 hours at night to establish your milk supply.
• Cutting short the length of nursing: Stopping a feeding before your baby ends the feeding herself can interfere with the supply-demand cycle. Also, your milk increases in fat content later into a feeding, which helps baby gain weight and last longer between feedings.
• Offering only one breast per feeding: This is fine if your milk supply is well-established and your baby is gaining weight well. If you’re trying to increase your milk supply, let baby finish the first side, then offer the second side.
• Health or anatomical problems with baby can prevent baby from removing milk adequately from the breast, thus decreasing milk supply.
Things That Can Help Increase Your Milk Supply:
• Make sure that baby is nursing efficiently: This is the “remove more milk” part of increasing milk production. If milk is not effectively removed from the breast, then mom’s milk supply decreases. If positioning and latch are “off” then baby is probably not transferring milk efficiently. A sleepy baby, use of nipple shields or various health or anatomical problems in baby can also interfere with baby’s ability to transfer milk. For a baby who is not nursing efficiently, trying to adequately empty milk from the breast is like trying to empty a swimming pool through a drinking straw - it can take forever. Inefficient milk transfer can lead to baby not getting enough milk or needing to nurse almost constantly to get enough milk. If baby is not transferring milk well, then it is important for mom to express milk after and/or between nursing to maintain milk supply while the breastfeeding problems are being addressed.
• Nurse frequently, and for as long as your baby is actively nursing: Remember - you want to remove more milk from the breasts and do this frequently. If baby is having weight gain problems, aim to nurse at least every 1.5-2 hours during the day and at least every 3 hours at night.
• Take a nursing vacation: Take baby to bed with you for 2-3 days, and do nothing but nurse (frequently!) and rest (well, you can eat too!).
• Offer both sides at each feeding. Let baby finish the first side, then offer the second side.
• Switch nurse: Switch sides 3 or more times during each feeding, every time that baby falls asleep, switches to “comfort” sucking, or loses interest. Use each side at least twice per feeding. Use breast compression to keep baby feeding longer. For good instructions on how to do this, see Dr. Jack Newman’s Protocol to increase intake of breast-milk by the baby. This can be particularly helpful for sleepy or distractible babies.
• Avoid pacifiers and bottles: All of baby’s sucking needs should be met at the breast (see above). If a temporary supplement is medically required, it can be given with a nursing supplementer or by spoon, cup or dropper (see Alternative Feeding Methods).
• Give baby only breast-milk: Avoid all solids, water, and formula if baby is younger than six months, and consider decreasing solids if baby is older. If you are using more than a few ounces of formula per day, wean from the supplements gradually to “challenge” your breasts to produce more milk.
• Take care of mom: Rest. Sleep when baby sleeps. Relax. Drink liquids to thirst (don’t force liquids - drinking extra water does not increase supply), and eat a reasonably well-balanced diet.
• Consider pumping: Adding pumping sessions after or between nursing sessions can be very helpful - pumping is very important when baby is not nursing efficiently or frequently enough, and can speed things up in all situations. Your aim in pumping is to remove more milk from the breasts and/or to increase frequency of breast emptying. When pumping to increase milk supply, to ensure that the pump removes an optimum amount of milk from the breast, keep pumping for 2-5 minutes after the last drops of milk. However, adding even a short pumping session (increasing frequency but perhaps not removing milk thoroughly) is helpful.
Which Foods Increase Breast Milk Supply?
There are no specific foods to eat that will stimulate production of breast milk, but there are things that can help with milk production. More important than what you eat is how your baby eats. When a baby is properly positioned, well-attached and sucking effectively, the longer a baby nurses at your breast the more milk will be produced. This is the single most important way to increase your milk production.
From a diet and nutrition standpoint, there are two important factors critical to producing milk. The first is drinking enough fluid. It doesn’t have to be milk; water or juice is fine. You may be producing from 20 to 40 ounces of fluid a day, and that’s quite a lot. Thirst is a good indicator of need, but may not do the whole job. It’s a good rule of thumb to drink a bit more, past being quenched. It is also a good habit to fill a glass of water for yourself to drink while your baby is nursing. Drinking sufficient fluids won’t make you produce more milk, but is important in replenishing lost fluids.
Nursing requires about an extra 500 calories per day. Women that go on restricted diets in an attempt to lose weight while they are nursing may be eating too few calories, which leaves them fatigued and without the energy necessary for optimal milk production.
Stress can negatively affect milk production, but reaching for a beer is not the best way to relax. Find an alternative way to rest and de-stress. Have a sitter come in so you can nap. Join a car pool so you can rest or sleep on the trip to and from work. Find ways to eliminate unnecessary chores, or perhaps relax your standards for tidiness and instead, sit down and close your eyes for a moment or two!
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Join date: 2010-04-19