What factors effect breast milk supply?
What factors effect breast milk supply?
One of the questions that I get asked almost every day when I'm working as a lactation consultant is, "do I have enough milk to breastfeed my baby?" Well, the fear of low supply, I think, is one of the biggest concerns that breastfeeding Mums have no matter where you are in your breastfeeding journey.
Today's video is going to talk about what exactly it takes to have an abundant milk supply so that you have enough milk to feed your baby and that your baby is getting enough milk so that they are able to grow and thrive.
Let's delve into what it actually takes to have an abundant milk supply for your baby. There's four things that need to be happening in order for you to create and produce enough breast milk to feed your baby. The first one of these is glandular breast tissue. Now, don't let this be confused by breast size because size doesn't matter, ladies, which is fantastic news for someone who isn't exactly well endowed in the breast department. I can vouch for this in saying that even though I might not have great big boobs, I certainly was able to breastfeed exclusively Ted for the first six months.
Then I introduced solids in the second six months, but I breastfed him up until he was 12 months without any issues of supply. When I'm talking about glandula tissue this is the tissue that actually contains the cells that produce breast milk. If you don't have enough of these glandular breast tissue, then you won't have enough of the milk producing cells, and therefore you won't be able to make enough milk. Now, what I will say though is that there's very few situations where women simply don't have enough glandular breast tissue to produce the milk that they need for their babies.
It is something that if you are concerned about, it's an issue for you, you would definitely have to seek assistance from a health professional, probably most likely someone like a lactation consultant to find out whether that is a potential cause for low supply. The second thing that needs to be happening is that the hormones of breastfeeding need to be working and being released as they should for abundant breast milk to be produced. The two hormones of breastfeeding are oxytocin and prolactin, and both are as important as each other.
There's lots of stuff that goes into whether or not these hormones are working, but the overall picture is that if you have concerns about whether there's a hormonal disruption, then get in touch with a lactation consultant so that you can explore whether hormonal influences are the reason why you have low milk supply.
The third thing that needs to be happening in order to produce enough milk is that all of the nerves and nerve endings that surround the breast and contribute to telling your body that milk needs to be released and produced, they all need to be in working order.
Now, the biggest scenario where they may not be in working order is when there's been breast surgery, so whether that is breast augmentation or something different. In some cases, with breast implants, there is nerves that are severed in order for the implants to be inserted, but I know many Mums who have had breast implants that breastfeed and exclusively breastfeed just fine. The big one would be breast reduction surgery. Often, in order to remove breast tissue in a breast reduction surgery, nerves are severed, glandular breast tissue is removed, and it can really affect the ability for a mother to breastfeed her baby.
Every scenario is different, and this is where it's definitely worthwhile speaking to a health professional like a lactation consultant to determine whether any breast surgery that you have had is going to affect your ability to breastfeed and whether it's potentially leading to a low supply in breastfeeding your baby.
Finally, number four, so this is the big one, and this is probably the area that trips up most Mums, is that your baby is effectively removing milk.
For your baby to be able to remove milk properly, there's lots that's involved. They need to be latched on properly and have a nice, wide, deep latch so they are actually able to drain all of the ducts in the breast and completely empty your breast. The way that breastfeeding works is that when your breast is emptied, when there is no milk or the majority of the milk is removed from the breast, I say the majority because your breasts are never technically fully, fully empty, but the majority of the milk's been removed, it signals for the hormonal release. I spoke previously about the need for all hormones to be working.
It releases a hormone that tells the body to refill the breasts. You can see that without complete emptying of the breast that that is going to lead to low supply, because the body isn't signalling for breasts to refill, and so the body works on what it's demanded to take. If your baby isn't emptying the breast properly and there is an ongoing pattern where they don't empty the breast properly, then your body adapts and it makes less milk.
I hope you enjoyed this movie. If you did, then can you please like my video and share the video around. Share it to your friends and your social media. Share it in email. Share, share, share. I would love you for it. Also comment below and tell me what your experience has been like with breastfeeding. Did you experience low supply? Did you overcome it? Did you stop breastfeeding from low supply? I'd love to hear it all in the comments below.
Anyway, that's it from me today. I will be back again in another fortnight. Remember to hit subscribe and to hit the bell to be notified when I do release my next video. I'll be back in a fortnight on a Tuesday, so stay tuned for my next video and thank you for joining me here today.
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