Jul 26, 2016

Am I making enough milk?

Not producing enough milk is a common perception, however it is actually “very rare,”  says Wendy, “less than 1% of the population can not make enough milk.” However, it’s one of the worries she gets the most calls about.

Solution - The key is getting correct information and understanding how the body works. The breast only knows to make milk when the placenta is born and the progesterone levels plummet. This tells the brain that a baby has been born and that milk volume should increase . However, in the first couple of weeks mom has to teach her body how much milk to make. “It’s a beautiful system,” says Wendy McHale BS, IBCLC and owner of Nurturing Lactation, LLC in Cincinnati, Ohio. “The more milk you take out more milk you make.”

Because of that awesome system, Amy Brown was able to relactate after her milk production slowed to a halt due to birth complications. “When I delivered, my preeclampsia spiraled out of control,” says Amy, “I was on a magnesium sulfate IV and couldn't even hold my baby or breastfeed, so my milk completely dried up.”

Amy credits the knowledge of her pediatrician’s lactation consultant on staff.  “She was amazing,” says Amy, “She got me on a schedule of pumping and drinking fenugreek tea and staying hydrated.” With this regimen, Amy was able to stock her freezer with a five-month supply of breast milk as well as nurse her baby.

In the hospital, moms are advised to feed their babies every three hours for fifteen minutes on each side as the golden standard, “but that's the bare minimum and each baby is different,” stresses Wendy, “Some babies are more efficient and will be finished in five minutes, while other babies will take up to 30 minutes.” Most breastfed babies nurse 14-to-16 times per day, so every hour and a half.

Remember babies stomachs are growing. Stomachs start off only able to hold a few drops to one ounce of liquid. This means babies will need to nurse more frequently.

Babies will often sleep through their own hunger cues and this can cause your milk supply to drop and their weight to drop so it is important to wake them to eat if they sleep past that three hour mark as a newborn.

Resist the urge to put an infant on a schedule. “Let them self regulate, except when they're sleeping,” says Wendy, “Also avoid any rubber nipples for the first 4-6 weeks.” Mom should meet the babies suckling needs until breast-feeding as well established. Milk is produced in direct response to suckling.

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer and mother of three. If you liked this posting please follow her on Twitter @writerbonnie or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WriterBonnie for more great info on Raising Kids. 

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