After nine long months of carrying your baby, you’re finally holding her in your arms, absolutely overjoyed and gearing up for your new role in life! You may also be relieved after months of morning sickness, back pain, heartburn and sleeping issues; but of course, it is now time for newer issues to arise.
Think about it – as a breastfeeding mom, your entire day revolves around your baby’s feeding schedule. What’s more, she is fussy and wants to nurse after every couple of hours, which might be a sign that you are affected by low milk supply. While this is no major crucial condition, it may be a cause of concern for you. That’s what we’re here to help you understand the causes, symptoms and treatments of low milk supply in breastfeeding mothers.
Common Causes Of Low Milk Supply:
There are many different possible reasons behind reduced supply of milk-here we’ve listed down some of the most common ones.
1. Hormonal Problems:
Conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and hypertension may mess up with the normal hormonal function and reduce milk production.
2. Insufficient Glandular Tissue:
Some women tend to lack sufficient glandular tissue during pregnancy, which could be a cause of reduced production of milk.
3. Medications Or Herbs:
Certain medications and herbs like sage, parsley, peppermint. Bromocriptine and methergine tend to stop or reduce production of breast milk.
4. Hormonal Birth Control Pills:
If you have been taking birth control pills right after delivery, they may interfere with the optimum production of breast milk.
5. Breast Surgery:
Previous breast surgeries such as reductions or enhancements are thought to be yet another reason for reduced supply of milk.
6. Other Reasons:
The capacity of the breasts is calibrated in response to the amount of milk removed, which is why, if your baby consumes less milk, your body will produce less milk.
Signs And Symptoms Of Low Milk Supply:
While there is no concrete way to check if you have a low milk supply, there are certain pointers that could help you detect if you are affected by this condition. Check if there are two or more of the following symptoms:
- Your baby has trouble latching on for a sufficient period of time.
- Your baby cries (of hunger) every hour or a couple of hours.
- Your baby hasn’t gained weight within two weeks of birth.
- You cannot hear your baby swallowing while nursing.
- You cannot feel your milk letting down while breastfeeding your baby.
- Your baby doesn’t wet at least 4-5 diapers a day.
- Your baby spends a lesser time at the breast.
- You do not see milk at the corner’s of your baby’s mouth while nursing.
[ Read: Food To Increase Breast Milk ]
Simple Ways on How to Increase Breast Milk Supply:
If you think you’re falling short on breast milk supply, don’t worry- it’s not a serious issue. All it needs is the right approach, and very soon, you’ll be having enough supply of milk for your baby’s growth and development. Here we’ve listed down some simple tips that will help increase breast milk naturally.
1. Monitor Your Baby’s Weight:
The best to make sure your baby is getting enough milk as needed is to monitor her weight. If she’s showing rapid weight growth in the first couple of weeks, she’s on the right road to growth and development.
2. Nurse Often:
Waiting too long to start breastfeeding can be one of the reasons why you’re experiencing reduced supply of milk. Make sure you start breastfeeding as soon as your baby is born; feed her often, at least every 2-3 hours round the clock. This is a great way to improve your supply of breastmilk.
3. Stay Away From Alcohol And Nicotine:
Well, this one didn’t come as a surprise, does it? Alcohol and nicotine consumption could be harmful not only before and during, but also after pregnancy, specifically, during your breastfeeding period. Nicotine and alcohol tend to decrease milk supply in general, and may also cause harmful substances to be passed on to your delicate baby through breast milk, which could also lead to developmental problems in your baby in the long run.
[ Read: Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding ]
4. Check Your Medications:
If you have been taking medications for any issue, now’s the time to visit your doctor and check if it is interfering with your milk production. Avoid using hormonal contraceptives right after your delivery.
5. Grab The Oatmeal:
It is believed that oatmeal could be extremely helpful in increasing breast milk production. Instead of using the instant oatmeal variety, which is probably processed and has lost many of its essential nutrients, stick to using the old fashioned oats.
6. Stay Calm And Relaxed:
Believe it or not, stress does play a huge role in cutting down the supply of milk. Well, handling a baby can be a tough job and you may not be getting enough rest, so it’s now time to get help from your hubby and make sure you sleep well and stay positive and relaxed throughout. This will help you ensure a good supply of milk.
You could also try using herbs and medications that improve milk supply and help regulate the body’s hormones- but do that only after your doctor is okay with it. Fenugreek and milk thistle are some common herbs that are believed to increase breast milk production naturally. Here are a few more tips:
- Avoid skipping on your baby’s breastfeeding sessions. Try to breastfeed as often as possible.
- You can also pump your breasts to make sure your milk supply is regulated and constant.
- Make sure you take optimum liquids during your post pregnancy period, particularly when you are breastfeeding, as dehydration tends to reduce the supply of milk.
Lastly, if you are still experiencing problems producing enough milk, don’t hesitate to speak to a practitioner. Your physician will be able to give you a better insight on your condition and will help you tackle your problem better. All the best!
Let us know your views on how to increase breast milk. Do share your comments below.
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