Low Milk Supply

worried about low milk supply?

Are you worried about whether your breastfed baby is getting enough milk? What are some of the reasons behind low milk supply?

There are SO many things that can impact on your milk supply, this list is not exhaustive.   Sometimes multiple reasons (e.g. mother and baby issues) can impact on your supply.  The good news is that you can get help and try to find the reasons behind your low supply so that a plan can be put in place.  I’ve been a low milk supply mum, and I know how exhausting and confusing it can be when you’re questioning your supply.  The only reason I got through it was from getting help and support from lactation professionals, my family and friends.  You don’t have to struggle on your own!

Some reasons for low milk supply can be:

Hormonal, sometimes seen in mothers with –

  • Diabetes (type 1 and 2), Gestational diabetes
  • Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • pituitary dysfunction

Ineffective milk removal –

  • baby with weak suck or poor latch
  • baby with tongue tie
  • baby with low tone
  • prematurity (born before 37 weeks)
  • restrictions to breastfeeding (e.g. scheduled feeding, timed feeding)

Underlying breast issue-

  • Insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) or hypoplasia. This is a great site to get further help and advice on IGT.
  • nerve damage from surgery (reduction or implants).  Having an appointment with an IBCLC before baby is born is a good start in these special cases.

If you are worried that your baby is not getting enough, you need to start looking at what is going on closer, so try to write feeds, wees and poos down. If exclusively breastfed, is your baby:

  • back to birthweight by 14 days? After return to birthweight, usual gains in the first 3 months are 175-225 grams per week.
  • Having frequent poos (bigger than a 20c coin), several times a day?
  • Has poo changed from meconium (first day or two), to green-brown (day three to four) and then to seedy mustard after day five?
  • having 5-6 heavily wet nappies after day 5? Urine should be clear and not smelly (no “rust stains” after 72hrs)?
  • Bright, alert and meeting milestones?
  • feeding 8-12 times in 24 hours with audible swallows?

If you are worried about anything in the lists above, contact your baby’s health professional and then seek lactation support ASAP from an IBCLC.  I’m available on varying days of the week and weekends, so give me a call so we can work out a good time to get together! If I can’t answer your call, leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible.

Baby-led attachment helps breastfeeding

Babies are SMART! If you give them the right situation to unleash their natural breastfeeding instincts, they can do so well.

I was lucky enough to photograph this adorable two week old baby, lying down on his mummy’s chest.  Even while dressed, he was able to search out the breast, move his head by bobbing and lifting to get over to the nipple and self attach for a breastfeed.  To get these baby cues even more released, try doing this skin to skin, with baby in just a nappy and you with a bare chest and tummy.

By letting a baby attach, and not forcing them to latch, they will often have their head extended, which gets a nice wide mouth happening (try doing opening your own mouth when your chin is tucked down into your chest, it’s much harder to get a wide mouth than with your head extended).

If your baby is having trouble attaching to the breast, you’re feeling stressed, take some time to hang out together in this position…you might be surprised at what happens next. For more personalised support with breastfeeding, give me a call and schedule a consult. I cover suburbs with home visits in the Brisbane South region such as Moorooka, Mount Gravatt, Tarragindi, Annerley and Greenslopes, plus many more!

Click on the photo to get a really good look at how amazing babies are.

I love my job!  Naomi x

This two week old baby shows that he knows what to do by instinct. He finds the breast and latches on with just mum’s arms supporting him. Click on the link to enlarge photo. Photo credit:Naomi Drew/Aspire Lactation. Copyright 2014. Not for reproduction.

If breastfeeding hurts – and what to do about it

As an expectant mum, you had probably heard many (unsolicited) horror stories not only about birth, but how your friends, family, (or even strangers!) breastfed through gritted teeth and painful nipples.  It may have even put you off thinking about breastfeeding before your baby was born.  As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and someone who has breastfed two babies, I can tell you:

Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.

There are many reasons you could be experiencing pain.  But don't grit your teeth and put up with it!

There are many reasons you could be experiencing pain. But don’t grit your teeth and put up with it!

Sometimes all it takes is some repositioning and letting the baby approach the breast differently.  Maybe you’ve never seen a mother breastfeed her baby and you’ve had to figure things out for yourself.  Or maybe you’ve had some conflicting advice about how to hold your baby and position yourself.  There is a lot of breastfeeding information out there on the web, and not all of it is good.

It might not be something you’re doing.  Breastfeeding involves two people – you and your baby (or more babies for multiple births!).  Sometimes there are physical reasons why an infant may be struggling to breastfeed and he or she hurts you, even when you have been told you have a “textbook” latch and nobody has a clue why you are climbing the walls in agony.  Tongue ties are a common culprit and Aspire Lactation will be posting about this soon.

Pinched or mis-shapened nipples post feed can be a sign that your baby is not getting enough of the breast in their mouth. Cracked or bleeding nipples can lead to further complications if not assessed and steps takes to minimise damage.

What can you do about this, when you’re probably exhausted, worried and confused about what to do? Pick up the phone and call an IBCLC.  As your lactation consultant, I will watch how your baby breastfeeds, and see if we can find a way to make things more comfortable.  I will look in depth at you and your baby’s history and can assess your baby’s suck during an oral assessment.  Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful and you shouldn’t have to go through this alone.  If you’re yet to have your baby and just want more information on how to get breastfeeding off to the best start, why not book a pre-delivery consult with me?