Milk supply is probably what most breastfeeding moms concern, especially the first couple of months after delivery. While many moms have oversupply milk, others struggle because they don’t have enough milk for their babies. In fact, the most common reason for a mom to stop breastfeeding her baby is because of low milk supply. And, some common breastfeeding mistakes will result in lower milk supply. Breastfeeding is hard enough! Read on to make sure you don’t make any of these mistakes.
Feeding On A Schedule
We know that following a timetable can make things easier. But, having a fixed feeding schedule can actually reduce your milk supply because a mom’s body doesn’t work like a clock. The fact is your body produces milk at different rates throughout the day. Also, breast milk is typically produced in the morning and less as the day goes on. That means in the evening, it’s normal for babies to ask for more frequent feedings. Therefore, sticking to a schedule might leave you in a position where your baby doesn’t take all the milk and there is too much left. That makes your body balance your milk supply to fit your baby simply because it thinks your baby doesn’t eat that much.
Well, the trick to avoid this is simply offering the breast whenever your baby is fussy. Even if they only nurse for a few minutes, this is good stimulation for your breasts.
Giving a Relief Bottle at Night Or Skipping Night Time Feedings
Your beloved one will offer to take on the role of night-time feeder and give relief bottles so mom can get a little bit of rest. And, having a full night’s rest is terrific, that’s what your body needs the most during this time. However, you have to know the reason for low milk supply is not only not breastfeeding often enough. When you go a whole night without removing any milk, it tells your body that it’s overproducing and milk production will get cut.
In addition, going on long stretches without removing your milk can also cause mastitis and ultimately can lead your body to start shutting down milk production. The ways to avoid that outcome and still have enough night time is to pump the same amount of milk that baby is consuming at the same time your partner is taking the job. Keep an early bedtime for yourself. Taking turns is also a great way to deal with this problem. For example, tonight is your partner’s turn, then tomorrow it will be yours. Just make sure you don’t skip night feeding for too long.
Allowing a Sleepy Baby to Skip Meals
Although it can be tempting to let your little one sleep for long stretches, it is important to wake them up at least every 3 to 4 hours to nurse. On top of that, you can try to do this every 2 hours if you are trying to increase your milk supply. We know that sometimes it is almost impossible to wake up a sleeping baby for frequent breastfeeding. So, in order to avoid low milk supply, here are some methods you can try to get more active participation from babies who sleep a lot:
Do a diaper change: Even if your baby doesn’t need one, changing diapers can still wake them up pretty effectively.
Play with them: Stimulate your baby to stay awake by tickling their toes, feet, or face and them playing with them. Although some babies can get distracted by this, most will smile or giggle and latch back on to continue nursing. Plus, it can be a lot of fun and it also helps your baby to be more actively involved in nursing.
Don’t Nurse Or Pump If Your Breasts Don’t Feel Full
When it has been a long time since milk has been removed, the breasts become fuller, and concentrations of a whey protein called “feedback inhibitor of lactation” or FIL increase. The higher the level of FIL, the lower the level of milk production. An engorged breast generally equals a high concentration of FIL and therefore can lead very quickly from an oversupply to an undersupply. Do not wait to nurse or pump until your breasts “feel full.” Also, for many women, this “full” feeling goes away as their baby grows. Therefore, do not use the fullness of your breasts as an indicator of when to nurse or pump.
If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments!