Yesterday I received a comment on my Korean Seaweed Soup Recipe [A Milk Production Helper] where a mom was not making enough milk for her baby. Come to find out she was supplementing with formula. I don’t have enough background info to know if this was a medical decision; but in most cases; supplementing with formula is not a good way to establish your milk supply.
According to a certified Lactation Consultant, “Frequent unrestricted nursing is best in the early days. Most breastfeeding babies will need and want to nurse every 1 1/2-3 Hours or more often. If your baby is very sleepy, wake him to nurse every three hours during the day. If your baby sleeps a long stretch at night, you will need to wake him for night feedings [until your milk supply is established].” I stuck by this rule and this has helped to maintain my milk supply.
For the first six weeks of breastfeeding; do not let the baby go without feeding for more than four hours. The more the baby sucks, the more breast will start to produce milk. There’s a biology behind this; but I don’t want to go into here; trust me, just put your baby to your boobs if you want to increase your stash. “Anytime you supplement, you decrease your milk supply because your breast won’t be stimulated to make that milk that’s now being guzzled in the form of a supplement.”
There’s also a time when a baby will go through growth spurts and will want to feed CONSTANTLY. This is also not the time to supplement with formulas. In the book, So That’s What They’re For; The Definitive Breastfeeding Guide, Janet Tamaro explains how to deal with the “Perceived Six Week Milk Crisis”
Dr. Jane Heinig, A researcher at the University of California at Davis, says that if there’s one thing she’d like new mothers to know, it’s that they shouldn’t wean or supplement at six weeks just because they suddenly feel like they aren’t making enough milk. “This seems to be the number one time to wean because two things are happening that moms don’t expect: first, your body adjusts to making milk, and your breasts won’t fill anymore. Second, your baby is going through a growth spurt and will be at the breast constantly in order to build up the milk supply”
Dr. Heinig says that mothers start to worry at about six weeks that they aren’t producing enough milk because they can’t really feel stored milk in the breasts anymore and because the baby seems so hungry… This is normal. Expect this, and you won’t have to worry that your child is getting enough to eat. Yes, he is hungrier. That’s why he’s eating all the time, but his increase in demand will cause the milk-producing cells to step up production.
On a personal note, I did notice that my breasts were no longer the size of two Cantaloupes around six weeks. I did question if my milk supply was going down, but on a particular day, I had to pump because little Layla was too upset to latch on; lo and behold, I was able to pump out 4 oz of breast milk in a jiffy. So, just remember, put the baby to your breast and the sucking motion will help increase milk production and your stash. I also recommend a consult with a lactation consultant, the breastfeeding expert, or find a local La Leche League where experienced breastfeeding mothers can help you out. Gotta love your Pediatrician, but in this case, it’s probably better to get help from these two sources first unless they have extensive training in breastfeeding. (either through certification or through personal experience). The lactation consultant can also work with your pediatrician to come up with a workable solution if your baby is losing weight.
(More weigh-ins, in-house consult… ect…) Don’t forget to try the Seaweed Soup too. I swear whenever I make it; I am overflowing with milk.
Image source: Marja Flick-Buijs stock.xchng
[This post was written by Susie Kim.]