Are you here because your milk supply seems to be unproductive? What could be the cause of low milk supply and how do you fix it?
In this read, you will learn some of the most common causes behind an underproductive milk supply and action steps you can take toward giving it a boost.
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What Commonly Causes Low Milk Supply?
Having to worry about a drop in milk supply can be crippling for some new moms. Especially when breastfeeding is something you have such high hopes to accomplish.
Take a look at the reasons below as to what causes low milk supply and then scroll down to see some low milk supply false alarms that may give you some relief!
- Eating and being exposed to anti-lactation foods.
- Not eating enough calories.
- Hormones and menstruation.
- Baby not nursing regularly enough.
- Baby has a bad latch.
- Sleepy baby, baby has Jaundice.
- Birth control.
- Baby has gained a pacifier preference.
Low Milk Supply False Alarms
There are some events while breastfeeding that can trigger you to think your milk supply may be low. Thankfully, most of the time these are just false alarms!
See a bulleted list of the common reasons a breastfeeding mom may worry her milk supply is low:
- Baby does not sleep for long and wakes up often at night.
- Baby cries a lot.
- I can’t express any milk.
- I gave baby a bottle and he gulped it down.
- Baby sucks on his hands all the time.
- Baby is not content at the breast and is difficult to feed.
- My breasts are soft and flaccid.
- I don’t leak breast milk.
- I don’t feel a letdown.
- Baby wants to breastfeed often.
What Foods Can Cause Low Milk Supply?
Just like there are galactagogues (foods that increase milk supply) there are also some foods and herbs that can hurt a woman’s milk supply.
The foods and herbs you’re about to see may not affect everyone in the same way. However, taking precautions and staying away from them while you are experiencing a decrease in milk supply may be the right move to make. That, of course is up to you and your doctor.
- Cabbage Leaves
Poor Nutrition Can Cause Low Milk Supply
Honestly, sometimes it’s not as much about what you do or don’t eat. What’s more important is being able to get enough calories in the first place! That’s really where the liquid gold ticket is!
While you are breastfeeding, dieting or restrict calories at any level is not a wise move. Producing breast milk for your growing baby requires that you nourish yourself, mama.
Your body is already using significant amounts of energy to create liters of breast milk per day and that’s hard work! Did you know that on average, women burn an extra 500 or more calories per day just from making breast milk!? ①
So, feed your boobs by feeding your appetite! If you need help coming up with breastfeeding approved meals and snacks that will keep your milk supply flowing, grab this downloadable PowerMilk cookbook!
Foods that Increase Milk Supply
Take a look below at some foods that are known to be superstars in the boosting milk supply fast arena.
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Coconut Milk
- Milk Thistle
I have some yummy lactation recipes you can also try that worked out great for me!
You must also try my perfect no-bake Boobie Bites! I would whip up a large batch of those at least once a week and snack on them throughout the day.
Another milky miracle cure is the pink lactation drink – you’ll love it!
Speaking of drinks, did you know that Body Armor drink is great for breastfeeding and milk supply?
PSSST… Milk Dust Protein Lactation Powder works wonders to increase milk supply if you haven’t tried it yet, grab a sample now!
Can Your Period Cause Low Milk Supply?
Oh, hormones… can’t say that I enjoy these mood altering chemicals. They not only make a mess of you during pregnancy, but months or even years postpartum too!
The biggest reason my milk supply plummeted wasn’t my diet or any of the other mentioned reasons I listed above, but the un-welcomed return of my period.
Yes, it can be true that your menstrual cycle may hold off as long as a woman is lactating.
However, every one is different and you really never know for sure when Aunt Flow will be back knocking on the door.
What to do When Your Period Causes Low Milk Supply
Here’s the good news, once your hormones start to level back to a normal range, your milk supply should return back to what a normal output generally looks like for you.
However some women, such as myself, noticed about a 1-2 ounce decrease after every menstrual cycle.
Some women may experience a more severe drop in supply.
In order to help treat your low milk supply during your period you can start a regimen of calcium and magnesium supplementation during the beginning of ovulation.
I personally like to combat this cause of low milk supply with this MaryRuth’s Organics Nightly Multi-Mineral, It helps me sleep great!
***Ask your doctor about dosage and safety if you consider taking any supplements while breastfeeding or pregnant.
If You’re Breastfeeding and Think Your Milk Supply is Low
There may be some issues causing your low milk supply while breastfeeding.
As established above, some common reasons for low milk supply while breastfeeding may have come about because of a bad latch, jaundice/sleepy baby or nipple confusion because of a pacifier.
While we are on the topic of breastfeeding, let me ask, how valuable of a feeling it would be to know you invested in your ability to provide your baby with the best breastfeeding experience?
What about allowing yourself to receive priceless guidance and knowledge on how to maintain and even master your milk supply so you never need to worry and stress?
Master Your Milk Supply by Milkology quickly teaches you how to conquer your milk supply woes and prevent them from controlling your breastfeeding path.
A Bad Latch Causing Low Milk Supply
Babies that have a tongue-tie may have a harder time latching on and draining enough breast milk to initiate the supply and demand switch.
There are tongue-tie revisions that can be done to help correct your baby’s latching issues. Your pediatrician will address your concerns and refer your baby to get the help he or she needs to correct the problem.
See the infographic below to help you achieve the best breastfeeding latch with your baby to avoid any milk supply problems.
Sleepy Baby That Won’t Wake up to Nurse
Some babies will just be sleepier than others and that can make it almost impossible to wake that little bundle up to nurse properly.
Jaundice can sometimes be a factor that can cause a baby to be extremely sleepy.
Tips to Wake up a Sleepy Baby to Nurse:
- Take off their clothes before you nurse them.
- Tickle their feet or head while nursing.
- Try a more upright nursing position.
- Nurse them in a bright room.
- Blow on them while nursing.
- Play with their mouth, cheeks and chin.
- Massage their back and legs.
- Squeeze your breast in a downward motion to force out more milk.
- Change their diaper.
Causes of Low Milk Supply Exclusively Pumping
- Not pumping frequently enough.
- A poor performing breast pump.
- Your pump’s parts need changed.
- You are not fully emptying your breasts during each pumping session.
For the exclusive pumper, it’s easier to tell right away if you are facing a drop in milk production.
Ways to Fix Low Milk Supply While Pumping:
- Change your pump parts regularly or as often as they need it.
- Get a more powerful and efficient breast pump.
- Switch up your pumping schedule. Here are some free pumping schedules!
- Massage during pumping and hand express after. Use a lactation tool, like these.
- Pump in the middle of the night while Prolactin levels are highest to remove the most volume of milk.
- Pump more frequently.
- Ensure you are fully emptying your breasts at every session.
Power pumping is a full hour long pumping session broken up into shorter intervals.
Pump for 20 min. / Pause for 10 min. / Pump for 10 min. / Pause for 10min. / Pump for 10min.
I recommend using this method twice per day (until supply improves) morning and night.
Cluster pumping is meant to mimic a baby cluster feeding to initiate the increase in supply and demand.
To correctly cluster pump, you will be pumping for several hours throughout the entire day in short intervals.
There is no exact science to this method of pumping, but here is a sample schedule to give you a better idea of how it would look.
7am Pump for 5 to 15 min. / 7:30am Pump for 10min. / 8:30am Pump for 5-10min. / 9:00am Pump for 5 min. – so on and so forth.
Let’s recap what we learned about low milk supply and what can be done to conquer and turn it around!
Your diet, the foods and herbs you eat and are exposed to may be contributing to your low milk supply.
If you are exclusively pumping and worried that your milk supply may be low, you can try these solutions:
- Power pump.
- Cluster pump.
- Change your pump’s parts.
- Pump more frequently.