If you're not producing enough breast milk, there's only one solution; feed more - and then some more. So cuddle up on the sofa, put your baby to your breast, retreat from the world (as much as possible) and breastfeed.
The milk supply varies
It’s said that breast milk is thinner in the evening, which is why many babies remain virtually glued to the breast late in the day. This can be a little frustrating as it prevents you from doing anything else. But it might make your baby sleep a bit longer at night.
From time to time, your baby will have a growth spurt when it gains extra weight. During growth spurts, babies want to feed constantly to increase the milk production.
But your milk production is also affected by how your baby sucks, whether it latches on properly or not, and if you’re stressed or worried.
Increasing milk production
Not having enough breast milk is very worrying and frustrating, there’s no doubt about it. After all, it’s your baby's only food. But there’s a simple solution: feed more. Cuddle up with your baby on the sofa or in bed and breastfeed as much as possible for a couple of days. Here are some tips:
1. Put your baby to the breast often.
2. Never interrupt a breastfeed. Always let your baby decide when to stop.
3. Feed on demand, including at night.
4. Make sure your baby is having some sleep between feeds and keep them awake during breastfeeds. If your baby does not suck deeply and effectively on the breast it won’t be long before your milk supply reduces. Hence the importance of baby not being over-tired while feeding.
5. Eating well, resting whenever you can and drinking a lot increases milk production. Put your feet up and ensure you’re getting some protein at every meal.
Support from those around you
When you find you’ve got too little milk and retreat with your baby to increase the supply, it’s vital to get support from the people around you, especially your partner. Right now you need to concentrate 100 per cent on resting and breastfeeding. You need help, understanding and somebody to do the housework and cook you good meals. Remember you’re not just a mum and a partner – you’re also the sole food supply!
Be kind to yourself. Breastfeeding is hard work, particularly in the beginning. No one expects you to be an expert. There are lots of places you can go to get help if you’re having problems with breastfeeding. Your LMC should help you in the first instance. If you need more support, phone the Plunket Family Centre and ask to see a lactation consultant or phone PlunketLine 0800 933 922. You can find a private lactation consultant on www.nzlca.org.nz – there will be a charge. La Leche League offers breastfeeding support – visit www.lalecheleague.org.nz