I’ve used Cake nursing bras since I had my first son 5 year ago so I was excited when they reached out about doing a blog collaboration about breast feeding and milk supply. It’s a good reminder even if you have been breastfeeding for years. -a
It is important to remember that every woman’s breastfeeding journey is different. Avoid comparing yourself and your experience with others, as this will only help to fuel doubt in your ability causing unnecessary worry.
Should you feel like there is something wrong it is always advisable to consult your local lactation consultant or health care professional. They are qualified to address your concerns and give you help as required.
Reasons for low milk supply
In some cases a woman’s milk supply can be affected:
If separation of the mother and baby is experienced immediately after birth, breastfeeding can be delayed resulting in a temporary shortage of milk supply.
Women suffering from conditions such as mastitis may experience a temporary shortage in their milk supply as feeding can become painful and difficult. A woman may choose during this time to feed her baby via other means.
A poor latch will result in a low milk supply. This is because baby is not feeding effectively and the body learns to produce less breast milk.
TIP: If you suspect your baby is not feeding effectively, it is advised to see your local lactation consultant. A good latch will help to avoid nipple damage and will help to ensure your baby gets the milk he needs to grow.
Feeding your baby to a timed routine can affect your milk supply. It is advised to feed on demand.
Women who choose not to feed exclusively from the breast can experience a drop in their milk supply. This is because baby feeds less often and perhaps infrequently.
Supplementing feeding between breastfeeds will mean baby feels less hungry and will demand the breast less often. Breastfeeding less will result in less breast milk being produced by your body. Your body will only produce the amount of breast milk needed.
The frequent use of dummies can affect your milk supply. Babies have a strong desire to suckle. By giving your baby a dummy he will demand the breast less.
Reasons why some women might think their milk supply is low
Breasts become smaller
Over time your breasts will become smaller. Immediately post birth you will experience a dramatic increase in your breast size. This is because your breasts are producing an over supply of milk. In time your body will learn to regulate only what is required to feed your baby, resulting in a decrease in your breast size.
Her breasts are leaking less or no breast milk
As the body learns to regulate its milk supply the breast becomes less full. Leakage is a result of overfull lactating breasts that are common early on in your breastfeeding journey.
TIP: Invest in some cotton or bamboo nursing pads early on in your breastfeeding journey. Washable nursing pads are not only more comfortable to wear, but they allow the skin to breath avoiding infections such as thrush from developing.
Baby demands the breast often
When baby is first born he will demand the breast often. This is because he has a small stomach and breast milk is easily digested. He will feel hungry much sooner than that of a formula feed baby.
Baby suddenly feeds more often and for longer
This is likely to be because baby is experiencing a growth spurt. This feeding pattern may continue for a week or two, but will return to normal.
Baby feeds for a shorter period of time
This is because as baby gets older he becomes more efficient at breastfeeding. He is able to express more milk in a shorter period of time.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
The answer is very simple.
A baby is getting enough breast milk if he is increasingly putting on weight, he has a number of wet nappies a day (approx. 5-6 a day once mums milk has come in) and his stools are easily passed (soft yellowish color).
TIP: Ensure you keep up with your health visits for the first few months of baby’s life. Your health care professional will monitor baby’s weight and growth patterns.
How can I increase my milk supply?
There are a number of ways you can help to elevate your milk supply should you be concerned you are not producing enough.
This is not scientifically proven, however a lot of lactation consultants will recommend it.
Eat oatmeal as porridge, in cookies or energy bars to help increase your milk supply daily.
Feed on demand
The more often you feed baby the more milk your body will produce.
Feed baby from both breasts
Ensure you empty your breasts during feeding and feed baby equally from both breasts.
Drink plenty of water and eat healthy food. Avoid skipping meals. Your milk supply is fueled by what you eat.
Pump in between feeds
To help increase your milk supply, pump your breasts between breastfeeds. Your body will continue to produce milk as demanded.
TIP: Breast milk can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for a period of 12 months.
Drink herbal teas
Herbal teas that contain Fenugreek, Fennel seeds and Blessed Thistle are recommended. The herbal levels contained in teas are low so it is recommended to drink tea often throughout the day.
Herbal supplements such as Fenugreek can be purchased in tablet form from your local drug store and have been proven to help boost your milk supply.
Your body is working over time initially to care for your baby and to produce breast milk. It is recommended that you get as much rest as possible to help ensure your body does not get run down.
Your body will learn to produce enough breast milk, as your baby demands it. Nursing exclusively will help to maintain a constant milk supply.
TIP: Invest in good nursing bras that are both comfortable and supportive. Breast health is important during this time of change. A good fitting bra will help to avoid premature sagging and or ligament damage caused by heavy breasts.
Like many women out there, Tracey Montford is an exceptional multi-tasker! Apart from steering a global business, managing 2 young boys & keeping the clan clean and fed, Tracey still finds time to provide creative inspiration and direction to the exceptional designs of Cake Maternity. From the branding, presentation and delivery, creativity is a big part of what Tracey does so naturally and effectively. Find out more at https://ca.cakematernity.com or catch up with her on social @cakematernity