Milk supply. The dreaded nemesis of every breastfeeding mother. It seems like milk supply dominates the thoughts of breastfeeding women everywhere- and not just low supply. I get questions about low supply and oversupply, concerns when supply is perfect. Usually when supply is perfect, mothers are worried that it’s still not enough. Milk supply issues, real or perceived, are one of the main reasons mothers stop breastfeeding altogether.
Where did this fear come from? Whenever anything happens, mothers question the milk supply. Baby didn’t sleep well – must be supply. Baby didn’t poop today – must be supply. Baby is fussy at the breast – must be supply. Baby is fussy after feeding – must be supply. And on and on and on. Truth be told, it is rarely a supply issue at all. There are only a small number of women who legitimately cannot make enough milk. The rest CAN and WILL make enough, but confidence (or lack there of) along with the naysayers will kill it.
So what is the problem? It has been my experience that several things can happen. Babies aren’t always efficient at getting the milk out in the beginning. If the milk is there and they are having a hard time getting the milk, this can be perceived as a supply issue. If the baby seems unsettled after a feed and it is assumed that the baby didn’t get enough to eat, this can be perceived as a supply issue. Often these babies will be given a bottle, which will take time away from the breast and lead to a supply issue. It was never a supply issue, but more of a learning curve for parents who are misreading cues. Babies that do not feed well from birth can have a hard time stimulating supply from the start. This can cause a supply issue, but can usually be resolved when recognized and if mom is getting the help she needs to get baby on track.
If you are concerned about supply for any reason, or just need reassurance that supply is fine, a lactation consultant can help with this. The peace of mind that can be gained in just talking this over can be invaluable.
For more insight into milk supply, check out week 6 of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast!! If you love it, leave a review. Reach out to us with your stories and suggestions; we would love to hear from you!