Mothering Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Somebody explain this to me. How do people, even doctors, know that a mom has "low milk supply" ?? I think mostly, the moms are just not informed on what normal nursing entails so they think there is a problem when there isn't. For instance

(1) Baby is nursing very frequently. - when they don't realize that is just normal

(2) Baby is not in the 90th percentile. - Okay that is why it's a percentile. Most babies aren't in the 90th percentile! It's perfectly fine for a baby to be in the 10th percentile, in fact the same number of babies should be in the 10th as are in the 90th, if this is in fact a valid chart!

(3) Baby is fussy and seems hungry still. - So nurse them more! LOL. Or address why they are fussy.

Am I being insensitive or is there something I don't get? I just refuse to believe that mother nature created us to be insufficient. Obviously is there is a gene for low-milk-supply, that gene could not have survived thousands of years. (Formula has only been around so long!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here are the 2 responses I got from my LLL leaders. (Who see this a lot and help these moms)

(1)
"The most common reason that I run into as to why moms feel they don't have enough milk is that their baby wants to nurse 'all the time', and that if they give their baby a bottle (or breastmilk or formula) directly after a nursing session, their baby will drink it up, so they are convinced that their breasts don't have enough milk. This is the most challenging, because once supplementation is started, it is a vicious cycle, and often leads to less and less milk, so mom can be guaranteed to then have a low milk supply. Also, many moms feel like perhaps they aren't making enough milk any more once that feeling of constant engorgement passes, and they start leaking less. Again, no one has every explained that it is normal, and that just because your brests feel soft again doesn't mean you aren't making plenty of milk. The lactating breast is never really empty.

Neither of these can be used as proof of 'low milk supply'. The BEST indicator for knowing that the baby is getting enough is to take a look at their output (pee and poopy diapers). I think that it doesn't help to have this assumption in our society that a baby shouldn't need to nurse more than every 2-3 hours. The best advice I can give for a plentiful supply of milk is to watch the baby, not the clock! I wish that we could clone Dr. Jack Newman and have him in every town and city, or at least have him educate every doctor in every town! lol. "

(2)
"Sometimes mothers are led to believe that their supply is insufficient if their baby wants to nurse more than the feeding schedule they are following or if the baby has a slower growth rate than average. Some times these are truly indicative of a low supply but with effort it can be built up. In some cases the nursing pattern and growth rate is normal for that child. In rare cases (4-6% of the time) women do have a problem which causes their supply to be diminished and irrepairable.

With good breastfeeding from the beginning, starting in the first half hour after birth and without drugs in the baby's system, with frequent nursing on baby's cue and with the avoidance of artificial nipples the occurrence of low milk supply can be avoided in most cases."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,159 Posts
Yes, you're being a bit insensitive, as most are who have never been in that position. Nature is not perfect, if it were we wouldn't have cancers, pre-term babies, etc. You can head over to the bfing challenges board and see lots of posts from those of us who have suffered w/ low supply and having to supplement. It's nothing any hardcore bfer wants to deal w/ and most are not prepared to deal w/, at least the first time. I was in some denial for a while and am finally busting my butt w/ this pgcy to try and help things along. You can also look for posts on IGT or PCOS to get a better idea of some reasons moms can have low supply. Unfortunately LLL seems to be a huge proponent of 'there's no such thing as low milk supply'. I've been a member for almost 6yrs now and have gotten little support from them through our problems b/c it's not common. Yes, there are LOT of moms out there who say they didn't make enough milk etc, that are just ignorant on bfing, but there are still many of us who do suffer from the realities of this and know more about bfing than even really educated moms b/c of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
788 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gremlichita View Post
Somebody explain this to me. How do people, even doctors, know that a mom has "low milk supply" ?? I think mostly, the moms are just not informed on what normal nursing entails so they think there is a problem when there isn't. For instance

(1) Baby is nursing very frequently. - when they don't realize that is just normal

(2) Baby is not in the 90th percentile. - Okay that is why it's a percentile. Most babies aren't in the 90th percentile! It's perfectly fine for a baby to be in the 10th percentile, in fact the same number of babies should be in the 10th as are in the 90th, if this is in fact a valid chart!

(3) Baby is fussy and seems hungry still. - So nurse them more! LOL. Or address why they are fussy.

Am I being insensitive or is there something I don't get? I just refuse to believe that mother nature created us to be insufficient. Obviously is there is a gene for low-milk-supply, that gene could not have survived thousands of years. (Formula has only been around so long!)
There are lots of reasons why a woman could have low milk supply....genetics, stress, poor nutrition, baby w/ latch issues or other nursing issues.

I used to think the exact same thing, that low milk supply was largely a myth made up by formula companies to sell more.... and said so at a LLL meeting to a woman who was having supply issues herself.... and only realized it because the baby was losing weight from one check-up to the next. (I think 1 mos to 2 mos, not sure); she was asking at the meeting what would cause low supply. Talk about putting your foot in your mouth! (back to that unsupportive LLL thread.....)
It all worked out in the end, that lady is now one of my best friends IRL, and she certainly taught me something! She worked very hard to be able to nurse & nourish her LO; using an SNS, herbs, mama teas, brewer's yeast, etc; and supplementing as necessary. And they're still nursing at 14 mos, most women would've given up long ago...but low milk supply IS real for some. I do think many women question their ability or worry when it's not necessary, for the reasons you listed.... and some will use it as an "excuse" when they really didn't want to nurse anymore / at all, but for some, it's just a fact.
(BTW, I also think it's very sad that we put so much pressure on mother's that they feel the need to justify their decisions in some way.... such as coming up with reasons why they couldn't nurse. If you couldn't, fine; if you didn't want to, fine too....."bf'ing is best" but not the only way to be a good parent.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
226 Posts
I had supply issues, and I knew it because my two-week-old daughter didn't gain weight for 10 days. My guess, looking back, is that things started fine (she gained for the first 4-5 days), but then my nipples gotten beaten up when she was comfort sucking, and that inhibited let down, which mean she got less, which meant I made less... and we got into a bad loop.

In our case, we supplemented for a month or so while I nursed her all the time, pumped, and so on to get my supply back up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,993 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gremlichita View Post
Somebody explain this to me. How do people, even doctors, know that a mom has "low milk supply" ?
It is easier to think of it as 'not enough milk getting into baby" - it can be because Mom isn't able to make enough, or baby can't transfer enough (tongue-tie, weak suck, scheduled feedings etc) which then can down-regulate Mom's supply.

How do people know?
-baby doesn't gain weight
-baby doesn't pee enough
-baby doesn't poop enough (as a newborn)
-if severe or unnoticed, baby can become dehydrated which is very dangerous.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
635 Posts
I agree that low-supply is a real problem, I like the PP cancer analagy. I think that it is overdiganosed by worried mom's and stupid doctors, and something that many women can work through, but a real problem none the less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
786 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gremlichita View Post

Am I being insensitive or is there something I don't get? I just refuse to believe that mother nature created us to be insufficient. Obviously is there is a gene for low-milk-supply, that gene could not have survived thousands of years. (Formula has only been around so long!)
Better treatments for infertility. Reproductive freedom (i.e. women having babies later in life). More babies are being conceived.

Better prenatal care. Germ theory. Better access (for more women) to good nutrition. NICUs. Vaccinations. Antibiotics. Infant mortality rates used to be *much* higher.

Industrialization. Women in the workforce. The economic necessity for both parents to work outside of the home. Maintaining/building supply with a pump vs maintaining/building it with a baby are two different things.

I'm not saying that EVERY (or any) of the above factors are behind every single case of low supply, but they do help to explain why it is in fact a reality for so many women. I'm not even factoring in the cases of low supply caused by supplementation... but honestly, before formula (especially specific *kinds* of formula, not the default cows milk based ones) a lot more babies died. The ones who didn't die when their mothers couldn't nurse either had wet nurses or managed on milk from another animal. Humans are really adaptable.

(I apologize if this offends anyone; that wasn't my intent.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,159 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kim919 View Post
I think that it is overdiganosed by worried mom's and stupid doctors, and something that many women can work through, but a real problem none the less.
I think this is key. We are so used to hearing moms say, oh, I didn't have enough milk so I moved to formula that I think we tend to dismiss the idea entirely. I'm even guilty of doing this, even though this has always been a real struggle for me and has included using formula for all my kids. I have worked hard to keep them bfing though (9-13 mos and hoping to go way longer this time since I'm starting during pgcy to help my supply hopefully) and often share the message that it doesn't have to be all or none. You CAN bf and ff, for long periods of time even, if needed and make it work. It's HARD and it's nothing I would choose to do w/out a reason, but if you really want to bf, but have low supply, it's definitely doable. Whether this is a bigger problem than we think and women just don't have the support to keep going or many women just feel they need an excuse to quit bfing, I don't know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
934 Posts
While I do believe it's an overused term, it does exist and since you asked; yes, I think you are being insensitive. You said you refuse to believe that mother nature created us to be insufficiant; do you not believe that infertility exists? Yes, the majority of "low supply" issues are not due to IGT or PCOS, but due to not enough time at the breast, supplimentation, weak latch or a host of other feeding issues that could be solved with a knowledgable mama and a knowledgable pro-BF doctor. Unfortunately that doesn't occur often enough.

As someone with IGT who tried everything to exclusively BF and who still deals with the grief associated with failing my boys, the perception out there that I just didn't try hard enough can be hurtful. The judgement that is out there is infuriating. The fact that organizations like LLL don't always provide the help that low supply mama's need makes it all the more difficult. I was largely on my own figuring out how to keep my kids at my breast for as long as possible, and it wasn't until my third that I made it past a year...with supplimentation at every feeding.

Look into some of the IGT threads here, perhaps they'll provide some education.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top