When your baby cries and wants to latch on to your breast a mere 10 minutes after his last feed, you may begin to wonder if you really are producing sufficient milk for your baby. Well, if you consider how healthy and alert your baby is, the age of your baby in relation to his weight gain and how often he needs his diapers changed in a day, then you can judge if you are feeding your baby well or not. However, if your breastfed baby is but a few weeks old and seems not to be gaining weight then you might want to know why your breastmilk supply is low.
Outlined are 4 reasons why your milk supply may be low…
• Short Feeding Duration
It is recommended that you nurse your baby on each breast for at least 7 to 10 minutes before you transfer him to the other breast. It is suggested that reducing the time baby spends on each breast will deprive your baby from getting the fattier and highly nutritious hind milk. In addition, your breasts won’t be adequately emptied of previous milk; therefore your milk glands will not be stimulated to produce more milk. This, in the long run, reduces the amount of milk you are able to produce and your milk supply becomes low.
• Reaction to Birth Control
Some mothers who go on birth control pills while breastfeeding may find that their use of hormonal birth control makes them experience low supply of milk. If this is the case, you need to talk to your doctor and see if it is possible to use other birth control methods that will not tamper with the hormone. If you consider it highly important that you must increase your milk supply, you just have to stop using hormonal birth control; but see your doctor first. You may also be reactive to certain drugs which may cause a drop in the quantity of milk you are able to produce.
• Damaged Milk Ducts
It appears that the trend of breast surgeries has some say in the amount of milk the breast is able to produce. Breast reductions, breast enlargements and nipple piercings may damage the milk ducts. However, it is said that breast enhancement surgeries are less prone to result in complications while breastfeeding unlike when the surgery is done to reduce the size of the breast. It also matters if there were any wounds or injury during the course of surgery; the elapsed time from the time of surgery to when you begin breastfeed a new baby and how the surgery procedure was done all have an impact in the condition of your milk ducts and supply of milk.
• Insufficient Milk-Making Glands
The size of one’s breast does not equal the amount of milk one is able to produce. There are both fatty glands and milk-making glands in the breast. Some women’s breasts, in spite of their large size, may not have enough milk-making ducts to meet their baby’s demand for milk. While constant breastfeeding stimulates the growth of more ducts and tissues, ducts also grow during pregnancy, therefore, a mother should try to eat a balanced diet and be in optimal health during the duration of her pregnancy.
Even when the mother with low supply of milk chooses to supplement with formula milk; it is advisable that she still continues to breastfeed her baby. That seemingly little quantity of breast-milk that she is able to produce will go a long way in fulfilling her baby’s nutritional needs and support his immune system.