Breastfeeding is a natural thing, so it should come easy, right?
It’s not as easy as you might think. The CDC stated in their 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card that “Of infants born in 2011, 49% were breastfeeding at 6 months and 27% at 12 months.”
Why the big drop in numbers? There are a variety of factors, such as the mother going back to work or feeling uncomfortable nursing in public, but many times women decide to stop because of an issue that’s hindering them.
In this blog series, we’ll focus on common breastfeeding problems and solutions for overcoming them. The more you know the more confidence you’ll have. Confidence is one of the keys to breastfeeding success.
Low Milk Production
One of the most common problems is women feeling that their milk supply is low or their baby isn’t getting enough to eat. In the first few weeks, your breasts are very full (or engorged) as your milk is coming in and your body is adjusting. After six weeks or so, they don’t feel nearly as full. This is actually a good thing! Your body is becoming more efficient and only making as much as the baby needs.
Increasing Your Supply
Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. Frequent nursing or pumping in-between feedings can help increase your supply. If you feel like you’re not producing enough, look to your baby for cues – Is he content after a feeding? Is she steadily gaining weight? Does he have an adequate amount of wet diapers (6-8) throughout the day?
Other ways to help increase your supply include:
- Increasing your daily water intake.
- Nursing or pumping during the night. The hormone that stimulates milk production – prolactin – reaches it’s peak at night.
- Eating foods or drinking teas that may encourage an increase, such as oatmeal and fenugreek.
You can always reach out to an All About Women OB/GYN or a lactation consultant if you have any questions regarding breastfeeding. If you’d like to learn more about breastfeeding and its benefits, check out our knowledge center article: Breastfeeding 101.