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Thread: Have you dealt with a low milk supply?

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  1. #1

    Have you dealt with a low milk supply?

    I have breastfed each of my children for some length of time; however, sometimes it was not as long as I would have liked. With my first, I was unaware of how breastfeeding worked, what to look for to make sure he was receiving enough, or how to correct any problems. I have since learned a wealth of information on breastfeeding and how milk production works, which has caused me to feel a bit disappointed with the times I supplemented unnecessarily.

    With my first, I was sure that I did not have enough breast milk. I was barely able to express any milk, and it seemed to me that he was breastfeeding all the time. I have learned that both of these factors are not good indicators of how much breast milk the baby is actually receiving. With expressing milk, it can be hard to gauge the amount of breast milk you actually have. A baby is much more efficient than a breast pump, so how much you express is not a good indicator of supply. Many mums also think if the baby breastfeeds often, that their milk supply is low. Although I did not have a low milk supply at the time, I did have a low supply later on during the course of breastfeeding. By that time, I knew more about breastfeeding, so I was able to determine why my supply was low and I was able to correct the problem.

    Have you ever dealt with low supply? Did you find out later that it really wasn’t low supply? If you did not have enough breast milk, what methods did you use to correct the problem?
    Last edited by Jessica; 28th December 2011 at 03:58 PM.

  2. #2
    aussiemidwife's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Sydney, Australia

    Ways to increase breastmilk supply

    Jessica it is really common perception that a woman has a low supply particularly if their baby breastfeeds frequently (this particularly common in the first few days after birth and during a growth spurt) or if the woman finds it difficult to express breast milk. It is my wish that all women receive appropriate breastfeeding education in their pregnancies and ongoing support for breastfeeding following the birth.

    If a woman finds she has low breast milk supply there are a number of strategies I suggest to help boost supply:

    • Breastfeed frequently (this encourages the production of more breastmilk)
    • Express breastmilk (either by hand or using a breast pump) after daytime breastfeeds
    • Take a natural supplement to help boost supply
    • See a lactation consultant
    • Take the medication motilium (this needs to be prescribed by a doctor)
    Moderator Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond

  3. #3
    My issue with breastfeeding is that one breast seems to produce more than the other and is twice as large as the other. No matter how hard I try to get him to feed on the smaller one, it just doesn't produce as much milk. I'm not sure if it's because he doesn't like that breast because of the way the milk is, because I've noticed that the milk in the smaller breast tends to come out whiter and thicker.

    Is there a remedy for this?

  4. #4
    Interesting question.

    Has this always been the case?

    Breastmilk is produced on a 'supply on demand' basis so the more you put the baby to the breast the more milk will be produced and the more the baby will go on that breast etc. Many women do find they have a breast they feed slightly more from and so this breast will produce more milk. I'm just wondering if you did this in the early days and then more and more milk was produced just from this side as your baby drank the milk from this breast in preference to the other?

    Have your nipples always been the same on both sides? Some women who have a truly inverted nipple on one side only will find that their baby is unable to properly latch onto the inverted side - and it is possible to exclusively feed a baby from just one breast or predominantly one breast. Is your baby exclusively breastfed? Do you feed him on demand?

    Sometimes it is the baby who just has a breast they prefer. For example, one breast may have a more forceful letdown and so they prefer the other breast. Have you had any problems with your baby latching onto either breast?

    I would say what you describe is not really a problem if your baby is content with your milk and getting enough milk.

    In terms of what you describe about the difference in milk, perhaps the smaller breast is not producing the same amount of foremilk as the larger milk. When a baby drinks from the breast, they usually first drink foremilk (which is more watery and less fatty but quenches thirst) and then the thicker hindmilk (which is important to give them the calories they need). However, if you baby is not frequently drinking from the smaller breast then it may not produce as much foremilk (or hindmilk) as the larger breast.

    Have you ever had surgery on the smaller breast or injury to this breast? These can cause less breastmilk to be produced.

    If your baby is happy and healthy then I would not be concerned - babies can get enough breastmilk from just one breast if they can feed from this breast whenever they want and for as long as they want. Do you want to make changes to make your breasts more equal in appearance or are you happy with feeding mainly from one side?

    Best wishes,

    Last edited by ljmarsden; 13th August 2013 at 07:31 AM.

  5. #5

    Low supply milk plus small nipples

    Hi, I had low milk supply right from the start plus small nipples. I had difficulties in breastfeeding from the very first moment. I only succeeded to breastfeed my daughter, now she's one year old, only until she had one month and this happened with formula this time. My question is for the second child it would happen like this as well or it would be different like normal happy mom do? thank you

  6. #6

    I'm sorry to hear you had difficulties breastfeeding. Whilst breastmilk is the best milk for babies and toddlers it can often take time and extra help to get breastfeeding established.

    Please can I ask if, during the time you were breastfeeding, you breastfed your daughter exclusively on demand? This means that you only gave your daughter breastmilk and you fed her, day and night, whenever she wanted it. If you breastfeed in this way then you are extremely likely to be able to produce enough breastmilk for your baby and so maintain a good milk supply.

    However, a small percentage of mums will have a true 'lactation failure' and there is more detailed information about this here.

    A good latch is essential for a happy, healthy breastfeeding relationship. It is best if you can get the latch checked by a midwife or lactation consultant. If the latch is not correct, then it may mean a baby does not take enough milk and so your body stops producing enough breastmilk for your baby.

    If your baby had a tongue tie or a cleft palate then this could also prevent them from obtaining a good latch and so lead to a poor breastmilk supply.

    Eating food such as oats and fenugreek and drinking enough water can also help with breastmilk supply.

    In general, having small nipples should not cause problems breastfeeding. However, you can follow some of the advice for women who have inverted nipples if your nipples are extremely small to help have a happy breastfeeding journey. For example, you can wear breast shells in the later stages of pregnancy if you think your nipples need to be drawn out further. Again, you can check this with a lactation consultant even before your baby is born.

    Expressing milk can also help to build up a good breastmilk supply. This is particularly helpful if you are having some difficulties establishing a good latch in the very early days.

    Many mums find it easier breastfeeding second (or third, fourth...) time around. One reason for this is that second time mums are more likely to research breastfeeding in more detail (particularly if they had any difficulties with their first baby). It would also be a good idea to find out what local breastfeeding support groups there are near you. Most of these welcome mums in pregnancy too - hearing the experiences of peers can make a huge positive impact on our own breastfeeding experiences.

    Please do ask any more breastfeeding questions you have here.

    Best wishes,

    Last edited by ljmarsden; 21st August 2013 at 05:10 AM.

  7. #7
    Thank you very much for your reply. I only breastfed my daughter for one month because after this time I just didn't have enough milk in order to feed her. I've tried to feed her as much as she asked for and ate and drank accordingly,took pills but without much help and that led to my depression that I couldn't be able to feed her right. I'm hoping this won't be the case for the second, if will be, baby.
    Thank you

  8. #8
    I'm so sorry to hear your difficulties in breastfeeding contributed to your depression. It shouldn't be the case, but the start of many mother's breastfeeding journeys can be lonely and frightening (for example, worrying about the health of your baby, not knowing what is normal). I would say the key is to keep on asking for help and support from: midwives, health visitors, doctors, breastfeeding groups, peer support groups and lactation consultants. You can't really get too much support when it comes to breastfeeding.

    Do you still suffer from depression now? Have you got support for this? I hope so.

    As I said above, you have so much more knowledge and experience of breastfeeding now - you are so much more likely to find it a smoother journey next time.

    Best wishes,


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