The amount of breast milk a woman can produce after delivery varies. Some are beyond her control, but others may be managed with careful planning and family support.
If you’re losing milk production or having difficulties keeping up with your baby, one or more of these four things may be to blame. Let’s talk about why these difficulties influence supply and how to recover.
1. Stressed or anxious
Stress kills breastfeeding production, especially in the first few weeks after birth. Lack of sleep and adapting to the baby’s schedule can cause hormones like cortisol to rise, reducing milk production. Stress has caused women to lose their milk production in as little as 24 hours.
I advise all my patients that although nursing is vital, so is mental wellness. If you or a loved one notices signs of stress, anxiety, or postpartum depression, contact your doctor immediately. So you can relax, recuperate, and maintain an appropriate milk supply for your baby, I advise you to seek and accept support from your spouse, family, and friends. They can’t nurse, but they can help with washing, housework, and errands.
2. Too little food or drink
It’s tempting to diet to lose pregnancy weight. A balanced diet is crucial, but so is replenishing the 500 calories per day that nursing burns. Between meals, have a nutritious snack like an apple with nut butter to fill the calorie gap.
Breast milk production requires enough water. The quantity of liquid you consume influences your ability to make breast milk. I advise mothers to have a bottle of water in their diaper bag. A friend advised me to drink water while nursing my infants. It helped me remember to drink enough, and I tell my patients about it.
A virus or bug like the flu, cold, or stomach virus won’t affect your milk production. But associated symptoms like weariness, diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite can. Ask for support at home while you’re unwell so you can keep nursing or pump for your kid.
4. Nicotine habit
Inhibiting the release of oxytocin, the hormone that triggers the let-down reflex, which makes the milk in your breasts available to your baby, might reduce milk supply. Breastmilk production decreases if it is not discharged and drained properly.
The answer is Smokeless or quits the nasty habit. Puffing less reduces your and your baby’s health hazards.
It also reduces milk production by inhibiting the let-down milk reflex. The let-down reflex lets milk out of your breasts. “Because alcohol quickly travels between the plasma compartment (mother’s blood) and the milk compartment,” she warns. Alcohol can alter the flavor of your breastmilk, reducing breastfeeding. Reduced breastfeeding means less milk production.
The answer The odd glass of wine is OK, but keep track of your alcohol intake while nursing.
Mastitis, or breast inflammation, can be caused by an infection, a clogged duct, or even an allergy. It causes pain, discomfort, and can cause fever and flu-like symptoms.
The answer Seek medical attention right away. It is typical for the milk production from the damaged breast to drop while healing from mastitis. No matter how difficult, keep feeding or expressing. Your supply should normalize soon.
7. You infrequently breastfeed
Maybe your nipples pain and you can’t nurse. Maybe you don’t nurse in the middle of the night and instead, use formula. Your milk production may drop if you breastfeed less regularly. Your breasts are programmed to create more milk when they are sufficiently empty. Full breasts slow milk production.
The answer Breastfeed as soon as possible after birth and breastfeed often. Aim to breastfeed 8-12 times each day. You create more as the baby takes! If you miss a breastfeeding session, pump your milk to keep your supply steady.
8. Breast surgery before
There are medical and aesthetic reasons for breast surgery. Breast reductions and augmentations are becoming more prevalent. Nipple piercings are a form of breast surgery that can harm milk ducts. The impact of these procedures on nursing varies based on the procedure, the period between the surgery and the baby’s delivery, and any problems that may have caused scarring or damage to the breasts. Some women, especially those with breast augmentations rather than reductions, may be able to exclusively breastfeed. However, others may require further assistance.
9. Hormonal issues
Maybe you had PCOS, hypothyroidism, diabetes, hypertension, or other hormonal issues that made it difficult to conceive. The hormonal cues delivered to the breasts by these disorders may also lead to poor milk production. So, what? Treatment of a health issue may help enhance milk supply, however, supplementation may be required. A nursing clinic or lactation consultant can help you discover a solution that works for you.
10. Hormonal contraception
Most hormonal birth control is safe for breastfeeding. But some, especially those containing estrogen, may reduce the amount of milk produced. Generally, progestin-only (as opposed to progesterone-estrogen) birth control is preferable for nursing mothers. Progestin-only birth control alternatives include the Mirena IUD, injection (Depo-Provera), implant (Implanon), and mini-pill.
If you’re worried about hormones and nursing, tell your doctor that you want to keep a strong milk supply.
11. You’re pregnant again!
The hormones produced by a second pregnancy might cause a decrease in milk production.
The answer If your kid is 6 months old and ready, now is the time to start or increase solid food intake. If not, use a formula.
How to restore milk supply
Not everything is lost if your milk output drops. Tips for replenishing the supply:
Pump a little extra: Increase your pumping frequency and make sure your breasts are empty after each feeding. Even if your baby isn’t hungry, pumping every two hours instead of three will increase the body’s production and “desire” for milk.
Double pump: After nursing and pumping the leftover milk, put your baby to sleep. Then drink water, wait 20 minutes, and repeat. Every time you nurse or pump for 24 to 48 hours, do this.
Use dairy products: Oatmeal and yeast-rich beers can help improve breast milk production. Some goods, such as mother’s milk cookies, and teas, are said to boost milk production. These include fenugreek, a seed that is also available as a supplement.
While we advocate nursing, it is not the only healthful option. If you have problems nursing or keeping a sufficient milk supply, consult a lactation specialist or your doctor. The final aim is the same for all feeding methods: a healthy baby and mother.