7 Wrong Cues That Make You Think Your Milk Supply Is Insufficient


Image courtesy of Valentina Yachichurova / Flickr


The most overlooked fact in regards to breastfeeding is that all healthy mums can breastfeed their babies. Significant and evident to this, is that milk production depends on the amount of milk the baby drinks, breastfeeding frequency, as well as the occurrence of night feeding. It is a demand-supply process.
Notwithstanding, there are some factors that can lower milk supply for a day or two. Sometimes it can take three days for milk producing to get back to normal but this doesn’t mean that any woman can’t produce enough milk for her baby.


One of the things that can slowly limit milk supply is if a mother starts to believe that she is simply not producing enough milk to fulfill her baby’s growing needs. As a result, she starts supplementing with infant formula, which leads to a decrease in milk supply. It is important for women to identify false cues. They need to understand why there suddenly seems to be a low supply of milk and learn how to boost it again.


1. The first couple of days after the childbirth

Immediately after we give birth to the first child, most of us expect an immediate flow of milk. In fact, the beginning of lactation is a moderately complex process that starts before the actual birth and requires you to breastfeed as often as possible. The amount of milk your baby is able to drink is small but more sufficient to sustain them. A newborn baby needs equivalent to a spoonful of milk every half an hour or so. Breastfeeding on cue helps your body decide how much milk to produce. However, if you jump to the conclusion that there is insufficient milk supply and start feeding your baby with artificial milk, your body will start producing less day by day. Don’t let anything or anyone lessen your confidence and just continue to breastfeed on demand.

2. The Use of Breast Pump

The breast pump is one of those inventions that might come handy now and then. For example, if you are separated from your baby for some hours or if you have a large milk supply. This alternative can sabotage your milk supply and may affect confidence. Some mothers get upset when they are unable to pump exact amounts of milk as they may think they should, often forgetting two simple facts. First, there are variations in amounts of milk produced, which is perfectly normal. Secondly, no pump can get as much milk as an effectively nursing baby.
The breast is not a bottle. Breast pumps are designed to mechanically remove extra milk. Babies, on the other hand, when nursing, evoke complex emotional and physiological responses, which trigger producing more milk both instantly and in long-term.
I would advise all new mums to be careful. It is preferable to use a breast pump to collect extra milk, but not to determine whether or not you are producing enough milk.


3. Discomfort

As I’ve mentioned, when we breastfeed our babies, it creates a strong emotional and hormonal response. However, if that response is not positive, for example, if a mother suffers from post-natal depression or if she is in pain, the physiological chain that normally leads to producing more milk would not work properly. When this happens, it is essential to diminish the source of the problem, whether it is physical or emotional.


4. Development Jumps

After establishing a routine, you may find your baby simply can’t get enough of your milk. Don’t panic; babies enter a phase of faster growth and/or greater activity level and therefore need more calories. That doesn’t mean that you have to supplement your milk with formula. If your baby already feeds on solids, you may consider adjusting her diet to the new circumstances. If your baby is still under six month old, just let her nurse more and more often, especially at night. Be persistent and your milk supply will accommodate the baby’s needs.


5. Your Diet

One of the main concerns for most of us is how to lose weight after pregnancy. Bear in mind that strict regimes that include smaller intake of calories are not such a good idea. In the long run, the most effective way to get rid of these calories is to keep nursing. Implementing strict diets would compromise successful breastfeeding. I would recommend to eat healthily and to drink enough fluids, which should give you good results and sustain feeds for your baby.


6. Emotional Needs of Your Baby

Babies can demand breastfeeding even when they are not hungry or thirsty. Many times, they are only longing to be close to you, which is normal. Breastfeeding is not just feeding and is not always about nourishments. It can be about attachment as well. The baby might not be hungry at all and your milk supply is probably fine but the baby may require your closeness and assurance.


7. Hormonal Changes: Period Is Coming

There can be a sudden drop in milk supply, which can be disheartening to mums. This is most likely caused by hormonal changes; either your period is coming or you might be pregnant. It is important to know that this drop is temporary; in a few days everything should be back to normal.
Whatever the cause, there are some things you can do to preserve the flow of milk. Just keep feeding your tiny one as much as possible. Remember, milk production is a demand-supply process. More breastfeeding directly results in greater milk supply.

Another great reason to choose breastfeeding

Our bodies are designed to gain weight during pregnancy. They are also designed to lose it afterwards. That’s biology. The problem begins when we ignore nature.


People rarely manage to hide their disbelief when they first find out that I am a mum of three. And I am not an exception – there are fit mums everywhere and, truth to be told, most of us never tried any particular diet, not to mention going to the gym. You may ask why all mums aren’t able to shed the baby weight. There are several factors that one should implement which include a combination of light exercise such as walking and nourishing your body with the right foods that benefit your breastfed baby and yourself. I just have to point that breastfeeding plays a huge role too.


Our bodies change. During those nine months, we gain weight. Our bodies collect calories, making enough supplies to make it possible for our baby to survive a potential famine. The threat of famine might not be realistic for most of us, but our bodies don’t care about statistics. It still creates reserves of fat and other forms of nourishment that are used as the primary source of food for our babies.


We shouldn’t ignore the fact that our bodies change during pregnancy. We need to understand that the changes on the hormonal level affect metabolism. If we try to find alternative ways to lose weight, we might discover that none of these work; especially those that were effective before pregnancy. This is normal.


Other factors that may impact weight loss are;

  • Night waking; This can lead to sleep deprivation, preventing the repair and restoration of your body.
  • Early weaning: You loose calories as you breastfeed. When you stop, you are unable to loose them in the same way hence you have to find other means. If you don’t, your body may keep all these calories that it collected during the previous nine months.

Don’t want to keep them? There is a very simple solution; don’t overlook the biological imperative. Do breastfeed your baby and nurture your body.
These calories won’t go away overnight. It usually takes a little over three months before you start noticing that pounds are melting. Then you need to wait for another three to six months to fit into an old pair of jeans, and a few more to be completely satisfied with your look. That’s not quite a long period of time. Remember, our bodies collect calories for those nine months. It is perfectly normal that we need at least another nine months to lose them.