Breastfeeding: is my baby getting enough to eat?
Many new moms struggle with the question, ‘is my baby getting enough to eat?’ and the first 2 weeks are an especially critical time for mom to establish a healthy breast milk supply. Below are some tips to help ensure your baby is getting the milk supply needed for healthy growth.
Maintain The Activity
Continue to breastfeed and/or pump (8-12 times) per day. Your body needs cues to produce, even if supply is not low. Maintaining the activity will help ensure milk supply does not dry up.
Use Both Breasts
Attempt to use both breasts during each feeding. This will help stimulate milk production on both sides.
A Better Latch
Baby’s sucking reflex, or latch, may be weak or ineffective in stimulating enough milk production. A certified Lactation Consultant can assist with improving latching techniques, which can help increase supply.
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Avoid The Artificial
Avoid overusing artificial nipples, or bottles, to ensure baby remains focused on the breast and give the body the signals it needs to produce milk.
Stress & Supply
Mom may be sick, stressed or on medication that can slow breast milk supply. In this case, low milk supply should rebound once mom discontinues medications.
Keep Baby Awake
Babies are very sleepy the first weeks of life causing them to fall asleep at the breast and not get a full feeding. To keep baby alert, try tickling their feet, removing clothing or changing their diaper.
For centuries women have been taking galactagogues (breast milk boosting herbs) to help increase supply. Two of the most commonly used herbs for breastfeeding are fenugreek and blessed thistle. There are many breastfeeding supplements to choose from so be sure to look for products with therapeutic levels of the required herbs.
Meet With A Lactation Consultant
There are multiple reasons for milk supply issues and a visit with a certified lactation consultant could help you find and correct any underlying causes. To find an LC you can visit ILCA.org or a local La Leche League chapter.
Breastfeeding is not always easy, but remember every ounce counts so keep up the great work and consult an expert for additional lactation support or questions.