breastfeeding, encouragement

Low Milk Supply

Whilst over 90% of the world women population produce enough milk to feed an infant from the breast, there are some who do not.

It is either that the breasts did not develop enough(known as hypoplasia) and so they have little milk; or the mother had done a breast reduction/augmentation, and the method used cut through important glandular tissues which hinders a good milk supply.

The severity of low milk supply will vary from each mother. Therefore, you can find some mothers who take ‘motilium‘ as a supplement which will increase their supply enough to satisfy their infants. Others, it will still not cover the baby’s needs.  Some will only need to supplement with one bottle a day of either donated breast milk or breast milk substitute (formula). Yet others might need to supplement half or more of the feeds. Whatever the place you are at, every little bit of breast milk is welcome to your infant!

There are other causes which can cause a low milk supply but which can normally be remedied with help and support.

Problems which arise through a mother’s health include: retained placenta or postpartum hemorrhage, hypothyroidism, hormonal problems like PCOS, medications like hormonal birth control and also smoking.

Sometimes, health/anatomical issues in the baby can decrease milk supply as well. These include: lip/tongue ties, jaundice and low muscle tone.  This happens as baby is not able to remove milk adequately or is sleepy a lot hence sending messages that milk needs to decrease.

Lastly, it is us, ourselves, the mothers who can promote a low milk supply in our breasts.  This we usually do through the use of nipple shields, scheduled feedings and supplementing with breast milk substitutes.

Sometimes, in the first few days/weeks, an infant may be sleepy.  Until baby is capable of waking alone and showing feeding cues, we should wake them up every two hours, as this can interfere with a good milk supply. Using dummies/pacifiers and a bottle, especially in the beginning can also interfere due to the fact that the sucking motions on both is different from the breast which can lead to a bad latch which effects both supply and the mother through hurting nipples.

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