Many mamas think their milk supply is dropping, without understanding the true signs of a low, or decreasing milk supply. There are false signs, which may lead new mommies to believe they aren’t producing enough milk, and then there are true signs that your breast milk quantity is dwindling.
What are some false signs of a low milk supply?
Here are some signs that can lead a breastfeeding mother to believe her milk supply is dropping, but are actually perfectly normal.
- An empty/deflated breast(s)
- Baby wanting more feedings
- Baby waking to feed at night
- Short feeds
- Fussy feeds (baby seems dissatisfied)
- Pumping less after a feeding
- Baby wanting a bottle even after breast feeding
- Fussy baby in the evening
- No feeling of a let down
Many of these are perfectly normal phases of breastfeeding a new born. Babies often want to nurse more for comfort, go through growth spurts, have tummy issues (very normal for new babies), or like to have a bottle after breastfeeding out of habit. These experiences do not mean your milk supply is dropping, or you aren’t producing enough milk supply. There are only a few ways to really tell if you have a low milk supply.
The true signs your milk supply is low, or decreasing:
Baby isn’t gaining enough weight:
This is one of the biggest signs you may not be producing enough milk, or your supply has decreased. Many babies lose weight right after birth, as it takes time for colostrum and milk to kick in. The early weight loss is normal, but your pediatrician will be able to tell you when your baby should be gaining weight, and how much they should be gaining. It is really important that if you think your baby isn’t gaining enough weight, to check with your pediatrician and set some weight goals for follow ups. There are some great tips at the end of this post to help you encourage your body to produce more milk if you really are experiencing a low milk supply, and this has been confirmed by your pediatrician.
Baby doesn’t have enough soiled/wet diapers:
This is another sign of a low milk supply, that you can see at home. Babies who eat a lot also have a lot of stinky diapers. This can be a bit more confusing than the weight-gain sign because it is also normal for some babies to go longer between dirty diapers as their digestive system matures. Overall, dirty diapers and blow outs are a healthy sign your baby is getting lots to eat. If you have any underlying intuition that your baby doesn’t have enough dirty diapers, and seems to be gaining weight very slowly, or not at all, check with your pediatrician right away.
These are the two major signs of low milk supply, that can actually be monitored and quantified. It may seem too simple with only two major signs, but it should also leave some peace of mind. Let’s get into some quick and easy ways you can increase your milk supply quickly, to help satisfy baby.
Quick and easy ways to increase milk supply fast:
There is a lot of information out there on ways to increase your milk supply. These are the methods that have been proven to work, and confirmed by science, studies and professionals (lactation consultants, nurses and doulas).
Make sure to read: How Milk Dust Safely Promotes Weight Loss While Breastfeeding
Add in Galactagogues:
Galactagogues are herbs and foods used to increase milk supply. There is a lot of anecdotal studies proving various herbs to be helpful for milk supply, as well as centuries of Eastern medicine using these herbs for lactation support that give us reason to believe specific herbs are very helpful for milk supply. Our lactation blend in Milk Dust, is based of real research and science backing specific combinations of herbs for the best result. Fenugreek has shown some side effects in new mothers, mainly because it is given in high-doses solely as the one herb to increase supply. Of course in higher doses, and more popularity is going to bring more side effects. We have an in-depth post on the studies proving fenugreek as a powerful herb for milk supply, particularly when combined with other galactagogues like feenel, milk thistle, red raspberry leaf, tumeric and brewer’s yeast. Studies show that combining these herbs, rather than high doses of one herb, seem to produce the best results in increasing milk supply.
Eat nutrient-dense foods:
Depending on your current diet, you may need to add in more nutrient-dense foods, so your body has more nutrients to give to baby. Eating the right foods, rather than enough calories is something many mothers aren’t educated on after birth. Women’s bodies are designed to used stored fat and nutrients in the diet to produce breast milk. If there is a lack of quality, lactation-supporting foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, good fats and high-quality carbs like quinoa and oatmeal, then your body may signal this with a lack of production. Protein smoothies made with Milk Dust are a powerful combination of real foods and nutrients, combined with superfoods in Milk Dust like chlorella, spirulina and spinach, galactagogues and other essential vitamins and minerals postpartum mothers need is a great way to infuse your body with the building blocks of a healthy milk supply.
Add in more feedings + skin to skin:
This is one of the fastest ways to increase your milk supply because your body creates milk based on demand. If you have baby demand more, your body will be encouraged to make more. Keeping a lot of skin-to-skin contact throughout the day and during feedings will keep the pheromones working properly to signal the hormone levels and Oxytocin production needed for lactation. Try wearing baby as much as possible and letting baby sleep on your chest to encourage the chemical connection.
Massage your breasts while feeding:
You can help your baby express more milk by adding in some massage and compression during feedings. This will encourage your breasts to express more milk, then want to replenish that milk by creating more. Baby might get large gulps at first, with some needed burping after, but it will help get more milk out during feeds.
Pump one side, while baby feeds the other:
Many mamas with a low milk supply despise pumping because the amount is so little and depressing. By pumping one side while baby is feeding the other, you are taking advantage of baby’s natural ability to stimulate your let down better than a machine. By emptying one breast, you can use baby on the emptied breast to encourage more milk. At the next feeding, switch the side you pump. Always have baby feed on the side that already pumped. This is a really helpful way to get more milk stored, while also encouraging more milk volume. It will take a lot of the hard work of pumping out of the situation, and babies have an incredibly ability to get your body to product more milk, better than a machine can.
If you are experiencing these signs of low milk supply, these tricks will really help.
Many mamas have had success using our protein powder because it is so much more than a milk-boosting protein powder. It nourishes postpartum mothers properly, to help nourish baby, reduce sugar cravings and aid in weight loss. If you are struggling with eating healthy, getting in the nourishment you need and milk supply, Milk Dust is here to help!