As new moms, there are so many things that cause us stress. Is my baby getting enough sleep? Am I holding him too much? Did the new mom in that Facebook group really just tell me to stop spoiling my baby? While I can’t offer you too much help on what to say to nosey moms who think they know everything, I can offer you a little insight as to why your milk production might be slowing down.
Why is my milk supply low?
It’s something very common that happens with moms who are breastfeeding, pumping exclusively, or a combination of both. From time to time, you may notice a decrease in your milk supply and it can be really frustrating. We automatically blame ourselves for this — asking questions like “Is it something I’m eating or not eating? Is it my pump or the accessories? Am I drying up?” There is a simple solution to all of these questions that you should try before making any drastic changes to your pumping routine.
Switching up your routine can help
Maintaining a proper milk supply could be as simple as increasing the number of times a day you are pumping.
You don’t have to increase the time
you’re pumping, just the frequency of pumping sessions
. Doing this will ensure that your breasts are stimulated for the right amount of time to make sure that your supply does not decrease. The number of ounces of breast milk that your baby needs per day generally follows an age appropriate guideline.
Consider your baby's age
A newborn’s breast milk intake will be quite different than a one or two month old. If you are exclusively pumping, Exclusive Pumping
provides sample pumping schedules that suggest the number of times you should be pumping a day based on the age of the baby. The site noted that with a newborn it’s important to establish a milk supply and stick to a schedule at first, but it becomes less imperative with three and four month old babies.
Increase pumping sessions
If you are using the age appropriate guidelines and recommended schedules and your supply still seems low while pumping, Le Leche League International
suggested that moms up their pumping frequency. All you need to do is increase how often you are pumping, rather than increase how long you are pumping. For example, if you pump twice a day for 30 minutes, it may benefit you to switch to pumping three times a day for fifteen to twenty minutes. This allows your breasts to be stimulated more often which will cause your body to produce more milk.
Your body will only do what you tell it to so you need to make sure you’re giving it the proper instructions.
Remember your worth
Just remember that all you can do is your best in the situation that you are given.
Having a newborn is exhausting already and adding another pumping time onto your already busy schedule can seem impossible. There are a number of reasons that some moms produce more than others and that’s okay. Just do what you can with what you have and know that that will always be enough.