Why low supply might not be the problem


Low milk supply is one of the most common reasons given for stopping breastfeeding.  Sometimes the breast milk supply just seems low however if it is actually low, things can often be done to increase it. Giving formula or stopping breastfeeding is generally not needed.

I remember when I had my first baby and she cried, was unsettled and wanted to feed constantly for a few hours every evening, even though I was already a midwife and had more education than most first time mums around breastfeeding, I started to wonder if she was hungry and whether I had enough milk.  Luckily I had supportive people around me to reassure me that this was normal behaviour for a newborn, and helped me look at all the positive signs to prove I did have enough milk, eg. enough wet nappies, mostly settled the rest of the day, good weight gains and feeding well.
If breast milk is actually low there is generally a reason, sometimes something is messing up the hormonal system, there is an anatomical difficulty, your baby is not removing milk often enough or effectively, or other problem.

I am sure most people have heard of the foods you can eat or herbal remedies or medications you can take to increase supply and while some of those do help, the most effective measure to increase supply is actually feeding you baby more. Because supply comes from demand, meaning the more milk that is taken away, the more the body knows it needs to produce.

If you think you have low milk supply please see a lactation consultant to try to work out what is causing it or contact the Australian breastfeeding association.

Helpful links
24/7 Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 686 268 (free and you don’t have to be a member to ring this number!)

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