I suffered from low breast milk supply for the first two months of my baby’s life, something, I never imagined would happen to me. In fact I had imagined breastfeeding to be so routine, I spent no time learning about it. On the face of it everyone around breastfed their babies without any difficulties and I assumed the same would happen to me.
Well, the supply did catch up by the end of month 2, and I will illustrate in a moment what helped (Please buy a good breast pump), however, let me first address what I think is a larger issue, which is the stress and guilt that moms in this situation go through.
As I speak to more and more new mothers, the statistics are unbelievable. Till date I have come across only 2 mothers who have NOT had an issue with breastfeeding. Both these had an oversupply issue which I do not consider an issue but all the remaining either have had a low supply issue or an infection which again led to supply issues.
With so much being said about the benefits of breastfeeding, a majority of new mothers get onto a guilt-trip when they have to supplement their feeds with formula, for no real fault of theirs.
My greatest worry during this period was not having enough to feed. Every time my baby got hungry before the anticipated time, I would get paranoid thinking that my supply has dropped. This continued even when the supply had caught up. I almost made myself believe that I was the only mother who was dealing with this issue.
Interestingly, as I mentioned earlier, tons of moms have supply issues An even more interesting, is that most mothers in this situation are on the same guilt trip.
We tend to lay so much emphasis on the few bottles of formula; we almost forget to enjoy our baby. Just a few months later, you realize how small the problem was. Its far more important that the mom is happy than fussing about the few bottles of formula you have to feed.
What helped me increase milk supply?
For all the moms who are suffering from this low supply issue, let me explain what really helped in increasing supply.The idea was to keep telling my body that my baby needs more. I pumped at every given opportunity. Every time I finished feeding, I followed it up with pumping on each breast for 5-10 minutes. When Tania took a long nap, I pumped in between.
And most importantly, pumped once at night, between the 1am-5am period. (This is the high-yield period) Timed it in such a way, that it did not come in the way of a feed. So maybe an hour and half either before or after a feed.
Initially I hardly got a trickle while pumping, however gradually that increased. In about 15 days of following this routine, my supply caught up. Post which I stopped expressing during the day but continued to do so at night, which helped create a store as well.
Its important to invest in a good pump which is easy to assemble, use and clean as pumping takes a lot of your time and can get really frustrating if you are not comfortable with the pump. I initially used a pigeon pump which did not quite work for me but moved on to Medela Swing Breast Pump which completely suited my needs.