Breastfeeding can be one of the most rewarding, yet challenging times of motherhood. In 2022, 80% of moms start out their lives with their little one breastfeeding, but the journey often gets cut short due to insufficient milk supply, tongue ties and other bumps in the road on the nursing journey. This month, we dive into the benefits of the journey, common complications and how to boost a low milk supply.
Benefits to Baby
Breast milk provides the utmost nutrition to babies. It’s composed of water, protein, healthy fats, carbs and vitamins & minerals vital for newborn growth as well as being an easily-digestible source of food.
Babies that are breastfed have passive immunity; breast milk helps your baby fight off diseases and common illnesses.The milk that’s produced by mom the first few days after birth is called colostrum, a thick yellow milk, and is particularly highly rich in antibodies. Newborns and infants aren’t eligible for the same vaccinations as adults, so this is a suggested way for moms to relax a bit when exposing their children to the outside world.
Higher Levels of Oxytocin
Oxytocin, the love hormone, is produced in every nursing session due to the skin-to-skin contact. This can form a firm foundation for relationships in the future for your little one and may even help them cope with stressful situations.
Research shows the exclusively breastfed children score higher on IQ tests, get higher grades in school and contain more white matter in their brain — the part that connects thoughts and regions of the brain together and sends signals between them.
Benefit to Mom
Breastfeeding has been linked to lower risk of developing osteoporosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
So if there’s so many benefits to breastfeeding, why isn’t every mom doing it? It can be a lifelong dream for moms to breastfeed, but once their little one comes along, there can be latch issues, a low milk supply and tongue ties that she couldn’t have seen coming.
Latching is the way a baby takes its mom’s nipple into its mouth to obtain breast milk. Mom’s can struggle with a good latch by not having a good positioning. Mom will know if she got a good latch by noticing the baby’s chin and tip of their nose is touching the breast. Lips should be flanged out instead of tucked in like a fish.
Low Milk Supply
The most common reason for ending the breastfeeding journey early. Mom can have an insufficient supply due to lack of hydration, birth control, alcohol consumption, feeding on schedule instead of on demand and lack of sleep.
How to Boost Your Supply
Nurse Your Baby Often
Feed on demand rather than on schedule. Nursing every two hours is optimal during the daytime and three to four hours during the night. In total, you should feed 8-16 times in 24 hours.
The more comfortable you are during a nursing session, the more milk will flow. Make sure you’re in a comfy chair or bed, turn your phone off to remove distractions, and get in an effective latch position.
Supplement with Galactagogues
Galactagogues, or foods known to increase milk production in nursing moms have been used for centuries. Common examples are oats, fenugreek, blessed thistle, brewer’s yeast, spinach and broccoli. Opt for lactation overnight oats or lactation cookies.
If you or someone you know is struggling on their breastfeeding journey, book an appointment and visit Adriatica Women’s Health at our McKinney or Prosper, TX offices.