Increasing Low Milk Supply
This is a question that has faced many mothers, mothers who because of ignorance, comments from others or not knowing what is happening to their baby at that time, have the doubt that they will not have enough milk to breastfeed their child. But it's not a new question. Having too little milk has been a constant concern throughout history. And many have been the remedies.
Breastfeeding works on the principle of stimulation-production. The more suckling the baby does, the more milk is produced. The question is, can one have too little milk? Yes, you can, for two fundamental reasons.
The first reason is the lack of stimulation. If you do not breastfeed frequently, because of nipple pain, cracks, mastitis, or to offer strict schedules, production decreases. All this can be solved by putting the baby to breastfeed frequently, looking for an adequate position so that the grip is optimal, letting the baby suck everything he wants from one breast before offering the other.
The second reason, which is very rare, is a hypogalactia. It is a real situation of low milk production, but this is due to a disease, for different reasons. In these cases, in which I am not going to enter, the mother in question should go to a lactation consultant or an expert in the subject, where they will guide her on the solution to her problem.
When schedules become part of breastfeeding, it is quite easy for it to fail. Breastfeeding must be on demand, without timetables, without pressure, without looking at the clock. Every time the baby wants it. When a baby is very hungry, he cries. But you don't have to get to that point, because babies emit signals that tell us they want to eat, like putting their hands to their mouth, moving their lips, turning their head looking for the nipple. If mother and baby are in close contact, it is easier to notice all these signs and satisfy the need for food immediately. This is greatly facilitated by the use of baby carriers, which allow us to carry our baby close, anticipating their needs and breastfeeding them as often as necessary.
And why breastfeeding so often? A newborn baby has a stomach the size of a marble. Breast milk is very easy to digest and with these two premises in mind, it is easy to assume that your stomach empties right away and you need milk very often. For a newborn, it would be normal to breastfeed an average of 8-12 times in 24 hours, although there are babies who need to breastfeed more frequently, especially in times of growth spurts.
Growth spurts are situations experienced by all babies, more or less at similar ages, that cause a mismatch between supply and demand. During these crises, babies need more milk, so they need to breastfeed more often, to increase production and meet their needs. If a mother is aware of this crisis, she will know that these are transient periods, which can be overcome simply by breastfeeding more often. But these crises are one of the reasons why a mother may think she doesn't have enough milk and start supplementing with bottles. Let's see more or less when they occur (they are approximate dates, they may vary a little in each baby).
15-20 days - the baby needs to increase its intake and the only way to achieve it is to breastfeed more frequently, to increase production. We already know that breastfeeding works stimulation-production. This crisis lasts about 4 days and then the baby returns to normal breastfeeding.
6-7 weeks - The baby needs more volume of milk and gets it by suckling more often. It is also possible to behave as if the baby is more restless, cries at the breast, jerking. It seems that during this period, the taste of breast milk changes and some babies notice and protest. Again, once this outbreak is over, the baby will suckle again in its usual way.
3 months - this is the time when more mothers start to supplement with artificial lactation or give up breastfeeding altogether.
At 3 months, several changes occur, leading many mothers to think that they no longer have enough milk. These changes are:
- The baby breastfeeds much more effectively, which used to take a long time, now gets it in a few minutes.
- The baby is more easily distracted.
- The milk takes longer to come out, due to a change in production. Some babies get angry because of this wait and protest.
4 months, 6 months, 9 months - crises or outbreaks may appear at different stages of the baby's growth.
If we know these outbreaks and take them patiently, breastfeeding as much as he wants, without forcing, without nerve and without supplements, we will achieve a satisfactory lactation.
I won't get tired of repeating that the best way to have more milk is stimulation by the baby. But it's not about having more milk either. Because if we had more milk than the baby needs, what would we do with the leftover milk? Would our breasts explode? The body and our tits are wise, and they produce the quantity our baby needs.