Around 90 days of life, your breastfeeding pattern should be more set. While the concept of “normal” has no place in child development, a typical 3-month-old kid may consume 32 ounces of breast milk over the course of five or six feedings. You may have become worried if you aren’t seeing this.
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Is your supply actually low?
Your supply of milk may look low in your eyes and that may be worrying but producing a low amount of milk is unusual. According to the Mayo Clinic, a lot of women produce about a third above their baby’s milk needs.
Your milk supply may not be the reason why your baby is distracted, fussy, or even crying when feedings happen. There just might be excess gas or teething pains or probably tiredness to blame.
Your baby is older now and will get more distracted and so might not feed as intently as they did when they were just born.
When your child has gotten older, they’ll now need less than the 8-12 feedings newborns need. Don’t let this make you worry about production because your baby is now able to spend less time to get a higher milk volume.
On the other hand, your baby might choose to take time and empty your milk at a go and further reduce feeding time. Every baby is unique so just follow their lead and stop when they do.
To know your baby is taking insufficient milk, you’ll realize that they are gaining a gap between 5.5 and 8.5 ounces per week before their 4th month.
They also stool 3 or 4 times every day from a couple of days after your baby is born, usually four.
Regular visits to your kid’s pediatrician can assist to identify whether you are producing inadequately or whether your infant is malnourished.
Keeping track of your diaper changes as well as feedings might also assist your doctor in figuring out whether your milk levels are poor.
Potential Causes for Low Milk Supply
Several reasons can obstruct the let-down reflex, resulting in insufficient milk supply, including:
Anxiety, worry, and even chagrin in certain situations might cause an interference with the let-down reflex. Increasing breast milk production can be aided by forging a special and relaxed setting for nursing which makes the affair joyful and stress-free.
Everyone has different things that calm them down so you need to find yours and practice it religiously.
Certain illnesses and health issues may interrupt your milk flow. Some of them are high blood pressure from pregnancy, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and diabetes.
If you have any of these, ask for treatments that won’t hurt your breastfeeding.
Pills for sinus issues and allergy drugs as well as specific kinds of hormonal birth control pills which contain pseudoephedrine could also decrease breast milk output. You may want to avoid them or find healthier alternatives.
Alcohol and Smoking
Using tobacco and drinking alcohol are both harmful.
You can reduce your milk production by smoking or imbibing in anything from moderate to large quantities of alcohol. This should be avoided at best.
Breast surgery in the past
Breast surgery like removal of cysts, breast reduction, and mastectomy might cause insufficient glandular tissue, which can inhibit proper lactation.
The nerves that control the production of milk might be damaged by breast surgery and nipple piercings.
Producing more milk
It is advised that after month 3, frequent breastfeeding is the answer for women with milk supply issues. To keep the milk supply strong, meet the baby’s demand and add one more pumping session per day.
To boost your supply, use the “power pumping” method, which involves pumping in a ten-minute session, resting for the same amount of time, and so on until you’ve done it for an hour.
Getting Back to Work While Nursing
The juncture of 12 weeks also marks the beginning of many women returning to work around the U.S. Your child will still be able to get the goodness of natural milk in the coming months if you have a good pumping regimen and a healthy freezer store.
When approaching the end of your leave, start stocking up on frozen milk. Throw in one additional morning pumping session and store those bags of milk where it can get frozen.
To make each session efficient, use hand expression while pumping. Starting on your outer breast area and going inwards to the pump, make little circular movements. This massage helps drain all the milk in your body because the ducts are now empty.
In between feedings, pump.
Pumping in between feedings might also boost your ability to produce more milk. Getting your breasts warm before you pump can help you feel more at ease and make it simpler to pump.
You can choose to pump if after a feeding, you have milk leftover or your infant has skipped a meal. If breast milk or formula is given to your baby in a bottle, you could pump more to replace it.
Every time you feed, have your infant nurse from both breasts. Allow your baby to stop or slow down on the first breast before moving on to the second.
Breastfeeding on both breasts can boost milk production by stimulating them. It has also been discovered that attaching a pump to both breasts at the same time increases milk flow and boosts the content of fat in the milk.
There is a definite lie told that women must consume certain meals in order to stimulate breast milk flow. In truth, women breastfeed in California, India, Argentina, China, and Ghana.
Every country in the world has different food types and so women who nurse will eat differently!
Breast milk can be produced with just a balanced diet that includes adequate calories and an assortment of minerals.
To fuel your body, focus on consuming adequate calories, taking inappropriate amounts of water, and locating nutrient-rich meals.
Calories Are Not The Enemy
If you’re feeling hungry, you’re not alone. Many reports have come in about women feeling extra hungry while breastfeeding.
Your mammary glands are actively creating fuel from your food and the fat you’ve stored into breast milk so you need to eat more. Don’t be afraid to add anywhere from 300 to 500 calories extra to your daily consumption as a nursing mother.
Your extra calorie goal should not be met by snacks that are only full of sugars and fat. You may be able to get the additional 500 calories you need from sweets but you would be deficient in the nutrients you and your baby need.
You would best get those calories in vegetables and foods rich in protein. You could also find lactation snacks that promote good health and will recharge your body with the minerals you need while reducing your hunger.
Foods Boosting Breast Milk Production
Flax seeds, brewer’s yeast, fenugreek, and nuts are some of the most widely recommended foods for increasing breast milk production.
These foods are nutrient-dense due to their high fiber, Vitamin B, calcium, and magnesium content, making them ideal for moms who have grossly reduced the micronutrient stores they have while pregnant and in childbirth.
Galactagogues are supplements, foods, and even beverages that are consumed to enhance breast milk production. For decades, women have chosen galactagogues to stimulate breast milk production but the efficacy of these supplements differs amongst women.
Some women report an instant increase in their milk production after eating brewer’s yeast or some nuts but there is no change for some. You never know what your case might be.
For a reasonable impact on your milk levels, you would have the best results by combining galactagogues with proper nursing routines. Women who want to increase their supply shouldn’t expect that dieting or taking supplements will fix bad routines or difficulties with your baby’s latch.
Getting Proper Help
You may still feel like you aren’t giving your baby enough milk or that your baby is not as healthy as should be. The best thing to do is to speak to your doctor or contact a lactation specialist.
You may find out that modifying your routine or changing your medication is all you would need to do if your milk production is indeed low.
A lactation specialist can devise a supplementation strategy for you to follow to progressively boost milk production while decreasing supplementation.
Don’t forget to ask your gynecologist for help with breastfeeding. An OB/GYN is nothing like a lactation consultant as they have a complete picture of your medical record.
As doctors, they’re also better qualified to address questions concerning drugs and breastfeeding, as well as contraception alternatives for nursing mums and pain in the breasts that might disturb breastfeeding.
No matter what happens, always remember that the goal is to have a healthy baby. If your infant stays well-fed and is nourished as needed, switching to formula after three months may not be a bad idea.