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why are there so many mothers who dont make enough milk- tf opinions - Page 2

post #21 of 55
I have yet to meet a mother with supply problems who was not doing at least one of the following: sleep training their infant in some way, using pacifiers or refusing to nurse frequently (and at times, that can mean every hour). Nutrition very rarely has anything to do with milk supply, and when it does, it is an inadequate amount of calories rather than quality of food.

Do I think there are women out there with true supply problems? Certainly. However, I think it is a lot rarer than "society" thinks. I believe a majority of women think they aren't making enough milk when the baby wishes to nurse frequently instead of the four-hour schedule their pediatrician recommended
post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by spughy View Post
My wonderful IBCLC-certified doctor told me that mothers almost always make more milk with subsequent children, so even if it IS less rich, there'll be more of it.
I agree that the supply tends to increase with each child. There are also studies that show the fat content increasing with the length of time the child nurses, that didn't mention any differences with subsequent children. I would not consider it a significant factor, especially if you are nursing on demand.

I agree that the majority of supply problems stem from misinformation and cultural norms. At the same time I think the point about decreasing quality of diet, with greater and greater amounts of adulterations, is certainly valid.

I was listening to some women talking yesterday and their idea of healthy was to add splenda to cookie recipes and serve V8 Light - with splenda and food coloring - instead of koolaid. They actually brought this stuff to the kindergarten to serve to the kids.

If you were to push me I'd admit that I think a woman's potential to produce milk probably starts when she is an embryo, through mom's nutrition and genetics, and by the time she lactates, is affected by all those years of her own nutrition level, whether good or bad. Top that with modern birthing practises, all the bad advice about infant care and suddenly supply problems are an epidemic. Sort of a combination of nature and nurture, if you will.
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natsuki View Post
Excessive blood loss/hemorraging is one cause of low milk supply - Moms with low supply due to traumatic birth are a reality and shouldn't be dismissed as 'didn't have the right information' or 'didn't try hard enough.'

Another potential cause of low supply is women who conceived via ART - there are often underlying hormonal issues and even after getting pregnant and giving birth, a higher incidence of low supply.



PCOS is another condition that can have a negative impact on milk supply (again, due to the hormonal issues).
OMG! I am all 3 of these! And i did NOt have enough milk for dd, no matter what!!!! i discovered after the fact that PCOS could be a cause of my supply issues, as well as my thyroid issues......I had to use fertiltiy drugs to get pg, and hemorrhaged badly. No WONDER I had no milk. This time aroubd, obviosuly i still have pcos, and hypothryoid, but i did NOt lose hardly any blood ( well within normal) and had plenty of milk...hmmmm...
post #24 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanda7 View Post
I have yet to meet a mother with supply problems who was not doing at least one of the following: sleep training their infant in some way, using pacifiers or refusing to nurse frequently (and at times, that can mean every hour). Nutrition very rarely has anything to do with milk supply, and when it does, it is an inadequate amount of calories rather than quality of food.

Do I think there are women out there with true supply problems? Certainly. However, I think it is a lot rarer than "society" thinks. I believe a majority of women think they aren't making enough milk when the baby wishes to nurse frequently instead of the four-hour schedule their pediatrician recommended
I had unbelievably low milk supply with baby #1, he was not gaining any weight until I started supplementing. I had no breast changes at all during pregnancy or after birth, never felt my milk come in ever. I nursed him virtually around the clock, he never used a pacifier, we don't believe in sleep training, and he could nurse constantly. We used a SNS, I was on domperidone, and I used herbs. I also had a good diet both before, during pregnancy, and while nursing.

It was somewhat better with baby #2. Still absolutely no breast changes during pregnancy, never felt my milk come in, and was on the max dose of domperidone and took galactophages. She also nursed virtually around the clock. The bonus with her was that we did not need to use the SNS.

I could tell I had milk supply issues with both my babies by using both the "gold" (naked weight checks on the same scale) and "silver" standards" (wet & dirty diaper counts).

I have PCOS, which means my hormones are not in balance with each other. I will most likely have milk supply issues with every baby. There are more women who share my story on the breastfeeding issues board. I do not use pacifiers, schedule my babies, or even sleep-train them now that they are toddlers. Low milk supply is a real issue and a huge struggle to live through. I felt like a failure as a mother because I couldn't exclusively nurse my babies. It feels worse when it is made out to be my own, preventable fault.
post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertMommy View Post
Does anyone think it could be stress related? I am super sensitive to stress. I stop ovulating the second I feel stressed. (even a minor argument or a late fee on a bill or something)

In this case, with these lactating moms- stressors: a new baby, a bad diet, unsupportive fast-paced society, financial issues, faced with going back to work shortly, short or non-existent baby-mooning period which was so common for our ancestors, all of these are such common stressors for moms now days, and we probably all handle this stuff differently. I bet lots of moms are so stressed out their bodies react accordingly. What do you all think about this idea?
I think this is a huge thing that is ignored. I suffered from low supply, baby not gaining, used lactation specialists, midwives and doulas...SNS, etc...but we were also preparing to leave the country and although I thought I had it all together, I am now not so sure. Once we arrived in our new home, after a month or two, DS stopped taking the supplements and DH decided my supply issue was totally stress related. I was able to

I also had labor issues due to low hormone production that we thought messed with my milk issues as well, which is possible. I grew up with lots of pollutants in a big city and I'm sure my endocrine system is out of wack.

I will say that a lot of the moms who have nursing issues that I have talked to, can get more stressed out by having the issue. My life was CRAZY with supply issues. Besides having a little new baby, I was pumping and nursing constantly. I was lucky to get a 30 minute break. I was constantly reading and obsessing about supplements and diet.

But as a TFer, I would say that I am SURE diet affected my issues. As I change what we eat and eliminate toxins and chemicals from our lives as much as possible, I see so many things change in all of us, including my hormones(PMS is SO much easier). I know my anxiety has decreased eating this way and am eager to see with child #2 how it has affected my supply.

Just a little side note...if you have never had issues nursing, be really careful making assumptions about moms who have. I am JUST as guilty of this as the next person, but I have to remember how crazy having a new wee babe is to begin with and how crazy it feels to realize you are their lifeline. As moms, we all have to make the best decisions for us and our situation. Education is important, but you can never be in another mom's shoes entirely, and you can never know all of the things that influence decisions she makes that may influence her nursing relationship. Sorry if any of that sounds defensive or directed, I assure you, it is not, just something I try to remember...
post #26 of 55
I'm glad I found this thread because I have so many questions about why I struggled with low milk supply with my dd, born a year ago December. There was no immediately apparent reason for why I could not produce enough milk, so I am seeking answers so that I can prevent this from happening with any future children I may have.

I definitely did not time feedings (she was nursing constantly), sleep train, use a pacifier, or have lack of drive to bf. I wanted to ebf more than anything, but for some unknown reason, it did not work for me. My dd was born full term, but never sucked vigorously for any length of time no matter what I did. From what I've read, I've decided she did not stimulate enough prolactin receptors in my breasts early on, and by the time I started pumping, using an SNS, taking herbs, etc., (4 weeks later), it was too late for me to establish a full supply, despite my absolute best efforts.

I am in agreement with those of you who say true milk insufficiency is very rare. I read a study that said the percentage of women worldwide who are physically unable to ebf for a variety of physical reasons is only 1%, yet in the United States that number is estimated to be around 15%, and this is thought to be because of lack of proper bf management and support, stress related hormonal issues, among other preventable causes. I do not have any obvious signs of breast hypoplasia, am of normal weight, eat well, do not have a hormonal disorder. It is easy to blame my body for this, yet I think the picture is much more complex, and largely has to do with a culture and medical industry that is supportive of bf as long as things go smoothly. If problems arise, like they did in my case, Drs. are quick to label women as part of the % that simply don't produce enough milk, and that's that.
I am a very stressed out individual, and like DesertMommy, my body reacts to stress quickly. It is interesting because many Western LCs say stress does not have a major impact on supply, but this is in contradiction to global journals I have read that say anxiety and stress are the most common worldwide cause of low supply. The hormones released when an individual is stressed out not only inhibit oxytocin, but actually prevent prolactin from releasing into cells. I have also been in touch with Dana Raphael, a medical anthropologist and author of the book "The Tender Gift", which she wrote years ago after she experienced lactation failure with her first child. She was so devastated by this that she decided to study other cultures where bf was the norm. She came to the conclusion that breastfeeding is the only biological process that relies on culture in order for it to work. She said in other cultures where breastfeeding issues are much more rare, these women have a confident and knowledgable doula figure at their bedside to ensure that breastfeeding gets off to a good start and in essence works. She likened it to needing someone to sit with you in order for your food to digest once you ate it. For highly anxious people like me, I think this is very relevant.

To be honest, I'm frustrated in a Western system that has not helped me in my quest to find out why I wasn't able to meet my baby's needs. I'm still searching for answers, and was very happy to come upon this discussion which seems to be looking at this issue much more holistically.
post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junegoddess View Post
I remember reading somewhere in the WAPF stuff that the breastmilk becomes less rich with each subsequent pregnancy. If that is true, it scares me. I want to believe that I can make enough milk for another baby, but... my confidence has been utterly shaken. I have addressed (by myself, no professional help) adrenal fatigue, my food allergies, and I think I'm made huge strides toward healing my leaky gut. So maybe I've got a whole new situation now. I sure hope so.


This is not what I've read. I have read that with subsequent babies, mothers produce more milk, and that it is better quality, so that if mom had supply issues with #1, that isn't necessarily and indication of later inability to BF. I can't remember where I read this; it was something I came across several years ago when I was studying to become an LLL leader.

I do think that diet can make a difference in BFing success. However, I also think that stress (and the hormones of stress) can be a huge factor. Stress hormones inhibit the secretion of other hormones, so why would it not affect a woman's ability to BF? Lackluster nutrition (even "good" nutrition by cultural standards), stressful birth (as described by several PPs), stress in significant relationships, lack of security (whether financial, relational, physical, etc.), I think these are all factors involved in BFing success. I don't think in most cases, there is necessarily *one* determining reason that a woman experiences low supply (perhaps with the exception of IGT).
post #28 of 55
I think its mostly lack of encouragement and a lack of information in the medical community and with mothers in general. I'm sure the quality of food does matter. But I'm not sure how much as like previous posters have mentioned women in starving situations have managed to feed their babies. However I'm not sure what kind of problems all the chemicals and crap we've introduced could do, nothing good I'm sure.

When my first was born he was 4 weeks early and had jaundice. He did wake for eating and we had to put ice cubes on him and he STILL wouldn't wake. They told me to never wake a sleeping baby and it was fine if he went 5-6 hours. He was like 2 days old! Well his bilirubin levels were 19 when we had him tested so we admitted him for an IV (He was EXTREMELY dehydrated). I wouldn't give him formula but still was breastfeeding. There they gave me a medical grade pump to lose but I could never get more than an oz. they said it was normal and lots of women don't respond well to pumps. Long story short, he never gained kept losing and I gave him formula at 6 weeks. After a few weeks he wouldn't take the breast and he was all and he was all formula fed. Then I found MDC. I knew this was all my fault for all the things that I allowed to happen. I became suicidal. Finally snapped out of it and was determined with my new baby.

Well, he was 4 weeks early and had to be in the NICU. I went down every 2 hours to feed him. my milk came in, I was feeding him he was eating until I was dry! But he was super yellow. From our previous scare we had him tested. His bilirubin was 22. He was hospitalized. I got a medical grade breast pump. He was tongue tied, I had it clipped. Still he was losing weight and I couldn't pump much at all. I got bigger nipple shields. Still cant pump anything. baby is still losing weight. I was NOT going to let this baby down!

well, he was getting sicker and more and more dehydrated. I gave him formula. I was still breast feeding (and using sns and taking every kind of supplement known to man) and then following up with formula. I was also using a medical grade pump every two hours including at night. He was taking more formula all the time.

I ended up spending over $3,000.00 on different lactation consultants and at home nurses and doula's and midwives assistants. Finally someone suggested I may have Insufficient Glandular Tissue. I had all the symptoms. Got a mammogram, and sure enough I don't have nearly enough milk ducts to feed a baby.

Now that I know I feel much better. My dr's say only 4% of women have this so it is rare. I'm angry that it cost me sooooooo much to find this out and it was impossible to find help. And now I'm lumped in with all the women who just say they don't have enough milk when really they're lazy (I don't mean this, it's just what Im told...all.the.time. by people here and at playgroups, churches...). Everyone always tells me why my breastfeeding relationships fail. I'm thinking of carrying around my mammogram to shut them up.

Anyway, that's my story
post #29 of 55
I definitely think it's a combination of factors.

In my case, I know that I would not have enough milk if I didn't eat a lot of saturated fats and complex carbs (amidst moderate amounts of proteins and veggies and fruits etc). With my first DD I tried moderately reducing calories, thinking that I could lose weight while bf. Well, I soon had a very fussy hungry baby and fortunately I figured it out before a few days went by and started eating to satisfy hunger again. Had a few issues early on with this baby, too. If I'm losing weight, then my baby isn't getting enough milk.

My babies have been frequent nursers, the first moreso than this one. I think I don't tend to make a lot of milk at a time, so I can see how someone would think "oh, this baby is hungry every 1/2 hour, there must not be enough milk!" In my case there is, she just has to nurse every 1/2 hour to get it.

I probably have PCOS, and I had thought that cutting carbs would help my supply go up as it had always helped with my other symptoms in the past, but it turned out to be the worst thing to do!
post #30 of 55
I think much has to do with malnourished bodies. this could cause facial malformations (one kind being the ones Price described), also tongue tie has to do with not having enough vit A and folic acid. TT is a mid-line issue. Both my boys have midline issues to varying degrees. My milk supply tanks both times at 3 months. I have always assumed it was because of my own modern SAD malnourished body, and in essence it was, but the structural element was a pivitol (my goodness how do you spell that?) cause for me. I had to fight hard to get my milk supply up.
post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mammo2Sammo View Post
I think much has to do with malnourished bodies. this could cause facial malformations (one kind being the ones Price described), also tongue tie has to do with not having enough vit A and folic acid. TT is a mid-line issue. Both my boys have midline issues to varying degrees. My milk supply tanks both times at 3 months. I have always assumed it was because of my own modern SAD malnourished body, and in essence it was, but the structural element was a pivitol (my goodness how do you spell that?) cause for me. I had to fight hard to get my milk supply up.
Very interesting. Everything I'd read has said that it's also genetic. My DH had it. My first son didn't. I was vegan with DS1 and was just lacto ovo with DS2. Now that I eat meat I'm curious to see how it alters my pregnancies. Maybe it can get me 3 ducts to make more milk
post #32 of 55
But there is a difference between those who cannot make enough milk because they don't the proper support, education, etc., and thus don't manage the BFing relationship properly, and those who cannot make enough milk because they do not have the structure to BF (e.g. IGT).

I am guilty of judging a mom (however silently) when she says she just couldn't make enough milk. I think most of us are, it's so easy to do, esp. when you feel like you have superior knowledge to most of the health care providers currently in the field (which a fair amount of us here at MDC do). Still, it is always important to remember that there are multiple factors which influence a mother's decision to persevere through difficulties to a successful BFing experience.

I think that it is so important to educate women as to the importance of education, diet, support system, and preparation for being a mom. I see a lot of parallels between getting married and becoming a mom: in the former, the wedding is the focus. Thousands of dollars, months of planning, hours of agonizing, etc. go into planning the perfect wedding, but next to no attention is given to the actual "marriage". Rarely do you hear of anyone preparing for the actual work of being married, of actually living with that person day in/day out with all their faults, which, IMNSHO is what has led to the astronomical divorce rate in the US.

In the latter, you see women devoting so much time to thinking about what the baby should have to wear, what crib to sleep in, what to register for, who to invite to the baby showers, etc. Childbirth classes are an afterthought; they prepare one for accepting the hospital practices more than the realities of childbirth. If you are lucky, you might get one (maybe two in a really good hospital) breastfeeding class. No one prepares for the work that is parenting a newborn, for the stress of hearing the baby cry, for the demands of balancing baby's intense needs with DH's very real needs, for the transition from working woman to SAHM, for the sleep deprivation.

I think these are issues that greatly impact a woman's ability to succeed, esp. when you compare the US with other countries with higher BFing rates. As a PP said, BFing is highly dependent on culture. Without a supportive culture, BFing becomes a lot harder than it should be. (signing off my soapbox now, sorry for the novella!)
post #33 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stgertrude View Post
... I have also been in touch with Dana Raphael, a medical anthropologist and author of the book "The Tender Gift", which she wrote years ago after she experienced lactation failure with her first child. She was so devastated by this that she decided to study other cultures where bf was the norm. She came to the conclusion that breastfeeding is the only biological process that relies on culture in order for it to work. She said in other cultures where breastfeeding issues are much more rare, these women have a confident and knowledgable doula figure at their bedside to ensure that breastfeeding gets off to a good start and in essence works. She likened it to needing someone to sit with you in order for your food to digest once you ate it. For highly anxious people like me, I think this is very relevant.

To be honest, I'm frustrated in a Western system that has not helped me in my quest to find out why I wasn't able to meet my baby's needs. I'm still searching for answers, and was very happy to come upon this discussion which seems to be looking at this issue much more holistically.
this perspective is so helpful to take note of. i have heard that monkeys/chimps in the zoo often refuse to breastfeed if their baby is born by csection or if they are alone with no other monkeys around to show them or for them to observe nursing. babies have an instict to breastfeed but i dont know that mothers have it in the same biological way. we have to think about it to do it, it isnt second nature.
post #34 of 55
I have to wonder if IGT is in any way related to nutrition and/or environmental toxins- do the breasts not form properly during puberty due to substandard nutrition during puberty itself and her diet since birth? Maybe breasts don't develop properly in female fetuses if there's something wrong with the maternal diet? I assume the same thing can happen to male infants but it wouldn't affect his ability to feed his children.

Or is it just a random genetic quirk that happens sometimes no matter what we do, and in established societies such a woman would use a wet nurse for her babies?
post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I have to wonder if IGT is in any way related to nutrition and/or environmental toxins- do the breasts not form properly during puberty due to substandard nutrition during puberty itself and her diet since birth? Maybe breasts don't develop properly in female fetuses if there's something wrong with the maternal diet? I assume the same thing can happen to male infants but it wouldn't affect his ability to feed his children.

Or is it just a random genetic quirk that happens sometimes no matter what we do, and in established societies such a woman would use a wet nurse for her babies?
I think it's likely it's a genetic quirk. The fact that babies can and have been wet-nursed throughout human history, combined with the fact that half the carriers of the gene would not be affected (males), would reduce the evolutionary pressure needed to remove the gene completely. Or that may be a too-simplistic explanation, it's possible it's related to a gene or gene interaction that is easily disrupted, and that ease of disruption hasn't had significant enough evolutionary pressure to change. Genetics is tricky business.
post #36 of 55
I'm not sure. I know I am the only person in my family to have this problem. Everyone else nursed their babies. Well, my mom didn't because the dr's told her to only let me nurse for 5 min. on each side and then to only give me water if I cried for another 3 hours. Then when I was starving they said it was because her milk was bad. She went on to breastfeed my sister (11 years later) for over a year.

I dont think my diet is any worse than any other teenagers was. my mother has said that she couldn't eat while she was pregnant with me because she was so sick.
post #37 of 55
I think there are so many factors- to name a few:

misinformation
SAD diet
latch
physical inhibitions of the mother
dieting too quickly
trying to get baby to sleep through the night
hormonal
deficiencies
post #38 of 55
A factor that I think is sometimes neglected is the lack of cosleeping in our culture. Studies show that babies who cosleep nurse more frequently at night. Prolactin levels are higher at night. Babies who nurse more often in the beginning stimulate a better supply.

No one who I know sleeps with their babes. Some still BF successfully, of course, and some people can't even with cosleeping, but I think in some cases it would make the difference.
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Another vote for mostly misinformation. In no particular order:

babies need to nurse often- usually more often than our culture teaches us
babies need to nurse more at night- also not popular in our culture
pacifiers interfere with milk production
artificial nipples interfere with the breastfeeding relationship
being separated and pumping is bad for supply and the nursing relationship (Disclaimer- I realize this is largely unavoidable, but we're discussing what's happening to milk supply- this is a factor)
pumping is not the same as nursing (see above)
spoonfeeding lots of solids messes with supply
other sucking can interfere with supply (sippy cups, bottles, etc)
juices and other milks can interfere

There are VERY few women I've heard of who avoided all of the above and had supply problems. VERY few. Do they exist? Yes. But historically wet nurses- aunts, cousins, etc- would have been available in those rare cases.

-Angela
You can count me in as one. I did not suffer from misinformation, lack of support, a need to force an unnatural process on my child, never used devices, none of my kids were spoon fed, we were never separated, I wear my children all the time, sleep with them (happily) etc. I didn't experience lactogensis one with any of them.

I did bring my supply in later and successfully nursed....though it took me 5 months to get dd on the breast exclusively. She was fed at the breast with a lact aid. She did nurse for over 4 years though. Ds2 was the easiest....I got milk to come in within a few weeks and he was doing well by 2 months.
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Aimee* View Post
Very interesting. Everything I'd read has said that it's also genetic. My DH had it. My first son didn't. I was vegan with DS1 and was just lacto ovo with DS2. Now that I eat meat I'm curious to see how it alters my pregnancies. Maybe it can get me 3 ducts to make more milk
It doesn't appear that it is genetic so much as it is often reflective of inherited tendencies.
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