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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Breastfeeding and possible low supply"

This is an excellent article by "The Leaky B@@b".  If there is one panic that almost every new breastfeeding mom feels its:  "Is my baby getting enough milk?!?"   TLB gives a great rundown of the signs of low supply, and    tackles the many questions of new mothers when it comes to feeding.

I have a few things to add to this topic.  Low supply has been my greatest stress with my youngest son Kael.  I talk about my experience with my low supply, due to undiagnosed tongue tie, in my article "Milk Treats".  I have talked to literally hundreds of women about low supply- whether real or perceived.  The vast majority of women who experience a real drop in milk supply are usually having a problem with the babies latch.  When moms milk comes in and is flowing freely, even a baby with a poor latch will usually get enough to grow and be healthy and satisfied, but one mom's milk supply begins to regulate itself, a poor latch can cause a serious dip in the supply chain!  My first advice to every new mom that suspects she might have a low milk supply, is to get professional help from a certified IBCLC Lactation Consultant or a doctor that specializes in lactation management.  No matter how many herbs you take or any other methods you use to increase your supply, if the latch still isn't good, the milk supply won't regulate.

It's ALLLLLL about the latch, in most instances.

Dr. Jack Newman has excellent resources for mothers looking for information about breastfeeding, milk supply, and latching methods in Information Sheets and Video Clips.

In my personal quest for building my supply I discovered a few things- these are my personal experiences, NOT professional advice!!

- WATER WATER WATER!!!  If I drank less than 3 litres of WATER a day, my supply dipped quite drastically.  Notice I said "WATER", not juice, not tea, not milk...... WATER

- Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle really boosted my supply immediately, and I found that the tinctures worked better than the capsules of dried herbs.  BUT.... as with almost anything, you body becomes use to the herbal supplements and they begin to not work as well as they did.  For this reason I rotated my herbs every couple of months- taking Fenugreek and blessed thistle for two months, then changing to Goats Rue.

-Oats really helped boost my supply and did it quickly. But like the herbs, the effects of the oats lessened after a while.  I kept a stash of my milk treats granola bars in the freezer for those days when I had a sudden drop in my milk supply!  They work within hours to bring my supply back up!!

-Coffee is NOT helpful for milk supply- if I had more than my usual 2 cups in the morning, by evening my milk supply would drop, and if I had a cup of coffee in the afternoon, I'd be in serious trouble by the middle of the night!

-Domperidone does work.... but there are some side effects that are not ...."fun".  This is my OWN comments, not a list of risks of side effects of the drug from the manufacturer.  Having been on the maximum dose of Dom for almost a year, I started to wean off of it.  If you don't do it VERY slowly, your supply plummets, and it causes serious depression symptoms!!  I've also discovered, through my own experience, and talking to many other women, that it seems to cause weight gain.  All these things aside, it was still worth it to me for helping me continue to nurse my baby.

- And stress.  Stress is the enemy of a nursing mother.  I went through all sorts of extreme stress in the past year, and each and every time I got really stressed out, my milk supply would almost vanish. (which in turn made me even more stressed out!).  Our society does nothing to support mothers and help them- breastfeeding mothers in particular NEED support!!

Every woman is different and everyone reacts differently to different things.  Do you have a super duper milk supply increaser secret?  Let us know!!!

Help, my milk supply is low! Or is it?OCTOBER 3, 2011 BY 
By Tanya Lieberman, IBCLCEver wish your breasts had little ounce markings? If so, you’re not alone. One of the more confusing things about breastfeeding is determining how much milk you’re making. You can’t see how much is going into your baby, so how can you tell if your milk supply is enough for your baby?
On this page we share the best ways to determine if your milk supply is in fact low, and describe the many things that can make you think that your supply is low when it actually isn’t.

Below are some normal experiences that can trick you into believing that your supply is low:“My baby wants to eat all the time.” It’s normal for babies to eat frequently, generally in the range of 8 to 12 times in 24 hours for many months. This means many hours of feeding a day, and it may feel constant at times. It’s also normal for babies to “cluster feed” at times during the day. If your baby is feeding significantly outside of the 8-12 times range, contact a lactation consultant or other breastfeeding support person.
“My breasts feel softer than they used to.” Toward the end of the first month of breastfeeding many women notice that their breasts have decreased from the size they were when their mature milk came in. This is normal, and does not indicate anything about milk supply.
“I don’t feel that ‘let down’ sensation.” Some women have a “let down” sensation when they make milk, and some don’t. It doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the amount of milk a mother makes, so don’t worry if you don’t feel anything.
“My baby suddenly wants to eat all the time.” Babies go through growth spurts. They do this in order to increase your milk supply to meet an increased need for calories. To do this, they go on a feeding rampage for a few days – eating more often than usual and sometimes acting unsatisfied and fussy after feedings. During a growth spurt it’s common to question your supply. After a growth spurt you’ll find that you have more milk than ever!
“I can’t pump very much.” Pumping output is usually not a good measure of milk supply. Why? Because your body doesn’t always make milk for the pump (it has to be tricked into believing that the pump is your baby!) and when it does the pump doesn’t remove milk as well as your baby does. So don’t gauge your milk supply based on your pumping output. You almost always have more than you pump.
“My baby is fussy when she nurses.” There are many causes of fussiness at the breast. And while hunger is one of them, your baby may be fussy because of gas, pooping, a flow that is too fast or too slow, or a host of other reasons. If you believe that your baby is fussy because he or she isn’t getting enough milk, or if the fussiness is causing you distress, consult a lactation consultant or other breastfeeding support person.
“My baby is suddenly waking up at night a lot.” Night waking can be due to hunger, but it can also be due to teething or “reverse cycling,” (when babies eat less during the day and more at night, often due to a change in routine like a return to work, or distracted behavior during the day).