Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Touro Infirmary.
For the first 2 to 5 days after delivery, your baby will receive a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, which is a thick, rich milk that is high in nutrients. Colostrum eventually transitions into more mature milk, which is higher in volume. However, a delay in the time that milk “comes in” can turn into an ongoing problem. Sometimes, a mother starts to produce ample amount of milk and then production suddenly decreases. When talking about milk production with your healthcare provider or lactation consultant, you may learn there can be a few reasons why your milk supply is low.
Do you have any maternal dilemmas?
Sometimes, a mother can have a health condition or psychological problem that can slow or delay milk production. Here are the most common maternal problems:
- Cesarean (surgical) delivery
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Maternal obesity
- Maternal smoking
- Infection or illness with fever
- Thyroid conditions
- Hormonal birth control
- Previous breast surgery
It’s important to review your health history with your healthcare provider or lactation consultant. This may help to discover if a health condition is interfering with your milk production. Don’t wait to get help if milk supply is ever a concern. The sooner you do, the better.
Are you nursing often enough?
Not breastfeeding often or not fully draining your breasts if you are pumping are the most common reasons for low milk supply. The early weeks of your nursing relationship with your newborn should include nursing on demand, which means following your baby’s hunger cues and not restricting feedings or paying too close attention to the clock. If you have a very sleepy baby, he or she may need to be awakened for feedings at first. Most healthy, term newborns nurse at least 8 or more times each 24 hours. Without frequent and effective milk removal, the breasts get the message to slow milk production. Within a day or two, a mother who nurses or pumps less often will start producing less milk. It is recommended to increase the number of breastfeedings (or pumping sessions for an exclusively pumping mom) to 8 to 12 times a day.
Are you using skin-to-skin contact?
Skin-to-skin is laying your baby’s bare chest on top of your bare chest with a cover on the baby’s back. This method increases the level of prolactin you produce, which is a hormone that helps you create more milk. It is recommended to increase the amount of skin-to-skin contact to help with low milk production. Also, skin-to-skin contact makes it easier for the baby to latch on to your breast.
Can you reverse low milk production?
Of course! Insufficient milk production can usually can be reversed. It is important to stay positive and to continue to nurse your baby or express your milk because any amount of breastmilk is still valuable to your newborn.
Touro offers a full-service retail store where families can purchase products specifically for breastfeeding needs. During your hospital stay, our lactation consultants are available 7 days a week to help with breastfeeding questions or challenges that require skilled lactation support.
The Lactation Center is open for outpatients 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday, by appointment only to provide breastfeeding support and assistance. The Center also offers bra fittings by appointments free of charge and sells breastfeeding products, nursing bras, and pump pieces.
Touro Lactation Center
2nd Floor, Main Hospital
(504) 897-8130, [email protected]
For more information, to speak with a lactation consultant or schedule an appointment, please call (504) 897-8130. Calls are responded to within one business day or less.
About Kimberly Benedict RN, BSN, IBCLC, RLC
Kimberly Benedict RN, BSN, IBCLC, RLC is a board-certified lactation consultant with over 20 years of experience helping Touro moms and babies to begin their breastfeeding relationship with loving guidance and support. She is a graduate of LSU School of Nursing and has been employed at Touro since 1989. Kimberly is the proud mom of four healthy, breastfed children.