At some point in every breastfeeding journey, Mom faces the issue of the decreasing milk supply. Immediately, panic ensues as mom begins to believe her child is not receiving enough nutrients. This article will give you a few tips on how to boost your supply confidence, and hopefully even boost your supply.
I can recall the most milk I ever pumped in one session as though it were yesterday. I was quite proud of how much I could produce, and I knew my children would never need to worry about getting a beverage! We, as moms, watch the pump, waiting as the milk passes each number line in our Medela bottles. With time, this obsession over the amount you produce will pass. But until that day, I urge you to find ways to avoid the stress of watching and waiting. Stress alone will negatively impact your milk supply. Listen to music, listen to or watch a recording of your baby, or even talk on the phone to a friend while you pump. Keep your mind off of the machine!
Another common issue is comparing your milk supply to the next mother's supply. Your breasts will never produce the same amount of milk as your best friend, sister-in-law, or your La Leche League leader. Each baby has a different need. Trust in your body and your body's ability to meet your own baby's needs. Let the communication between baby and breast determine the level of milk production by putting the baby to the breast when the signs of hunger are present. If you do not yet know the signs (specific behaviors or unique cry that your baby displays to say "i'm hungry", begin to pay close attention, take notes and speak with a lactation consultant to help go over cues).
Always remember that pumping is not a competition. Having a freezer full of milk at month three does NOT ensure that you will reach a distant breastfeeding goal. Focus on your child, not your freezer stash. If you are a working mother it is important to continue to pump over the weekend (unfortunately) so that you can stay 1-3 days ahead of your baby's needs. This will keep the feeling that you are going to "run out of milk" at bay.
You have to remember to trust your inner-self.
Lastly, I want to talk about the benefit of skin-to-skin contact. This is not something that is for solely for use when you are in the hospital right after hours of labor. Skin to skin is proven to help increase your supply. Your body is searching for signals regularly to know when and how much milk to produce. In those first few months, you will notice your body has a heightened sensitivity to your baby and your hormones. It is learning a new language-give your body time, and let it talk to your baby through skin to skin contact.
We, as a society, have to remember that before there were breast pumps, Mother’s Milk, Gatorade, Lactation Cookies and Coconut Water there were just women and families. Women who trusted their bodies and allowed a village of women to help guide them and steer them in the right direction in their breastfeeding journey. So take it easy on yourself and try to avoid the stress and burn out that is way too common in the first few months.
If you are still concerned about your supply never hesitate to reach out to a certified Lactation Consultant.