"couldnt make enough milk?"

Cori - posted on 01/05/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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is this really even possible? how long before you can truly say you arent "making enough milk" it just seems to be something i have only heard of on CoM and I am wondering if it holds any truth. i have always been under the impression, from my lactation consultant, that anyone can breastfeed for any amount of time as long as they keep doing it.

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Johnny - posted on 01/05/2010

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I couldn't produce enough milk to exclusively nurse my daughter. But I am still nursing her at 17 months. Many moms are misinformed about milk supply and infant feeding behavior. And those who really do not have enough, can still give what they have. Not enough is no reason to stop completely. Every drop is precious.

Hannah - posted on 01/05/2010

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I "couldn't" make enough milk- until I started drinking enough water! In the hospital the Dr forced me to bottle-feed my baby, and we had to keep supplementing w/ formula becasue even the lactation consultant I met with said that it didn't matter how much water I drank, my body would still make the same amount of milk. Well I eventually went to a different lactation consultant, and she told me to really force myself to drink the 64 oz of water recommended for a non-nursing mother, at the very least. Within 2 days of doing this, I had overflowing breasts and was able to pump and freeze milk for the future! So those 1% who truely cannot are probably those with medical issues- ie HIV, prior breast cancer, etc., but those who percieve themselves as not being able to are much higher, mostly due to poor information!

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Brook - posted on 03/14/2018

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I drink "Healthy nursing tea" everyday at least 2 cups and my milk flow is superb. I love this tea lol!

Elizabeth - posted on 01/06/2010

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I know that here, in NZ, even in breast feeding and antenatal classes, they don't really give any info about things like nursing strikes and growth spurts. The idea being, they don't want to focus on the negatives when talking to pregnant women. But to me, being fore-warned is being fore-armed. I'm not talking horror stories as preparation, or anything, but better to know "crap, baby doesn't want to feed, but I know about nursing strikes, and they're temporary" or "my baby seems to be hungry all the time right now, but I know about growth spurts and how they help build up my supply" versus to think "crap, my 3 mth old baby doesn't want to feed - he must be self-weaning/my milk is no good/i don't make enough milk".

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I'm often frustrated when I read, "my baby was no longer being satisfied so I started supplementing/ solids". And often this happens around 3 or 4 months when the first major growth spurt happens. The baby wants to eat more often and yet it seems like so many moms are unaware of this growth spurt and so they think that because their baby wants to eat more, it must not be getting enough from mom. :(

Lise - posted on 01/05/2010

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Quoting Lisa:

What I ALWAYS wonder is- even if mom 'couldn't make enough' why couldn't she still comfort her little one at her breast? She's more than likely to produce SOMETHING- why write it off completely...unless...she just didn't really want to do it anyways?

Women and even men in traditional cultures comfort a little one with their breast when mom isn't around. Much better than a plastic plug, in my opinion.


Good question!!!  I wondered that, too.  If you can't physically make milk, why are you so adverse to having the baby near your boob at all?  Maybe they were told the "it'll make your boobs sag and look ugly" lie that I heard too.  (Mine were already saggy, so no difference to me!)

Lise - posted on 01/05/2010

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My guess is that while starting breastfeeding (when it's HARD for a lot of moms!), moms were told to supplement and started supplementing formula. Then, because they were giving the babies formula and not nursing, they really didn't produce enough milk.
A friend of mine and I started nursing around the same time. She told me that she wasn't producing enough so had started to give formula. I asked her what she was doing to help with milk production and she told me that she nursed every 2 hours... I told her that I was eating oatmeal 2x/day (helped me a lot more than other supplements!), drinking water every 15 minutes (so that I got enough throughout the day), pumped on one side while she nursed on the other, and then pumped AFTER she finished, and was looking into supplements. When she was hungry, we fed versus a supplemental nursing system (pain in the butt, but kept her at the boob!) and only gave her the milk I'd pumped. Then I suggested she try working a little harder...
But, she took offense to that (I said it nicer than I put here!), and ended up only going with formula.

I DO agree that some women have problems (hence the old wet nurses!), but I think that a LOT more women could nurse if they were willing to put in the effort.

Jodi - posted on 01/05/2010

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I think that SOME women use it as a handy excuse because they didn't care for breastfeeding. As for the rest, besides that one little bitty 1%, I believe are horribly misinformed, misguided and unsupported. In America, formula is such an accepted (and assumed) way of feeding out LO's that even many pediatricians are grossly uneducated about the ins and outs of breastfeeding! So if Dr's are giving wrong information...how many mothers, aunts, cousins, sisters and such are giving out wrong information. Not to mention growth charts are based on formula fed babies, NOT breastfed babies. Yes, some women can't produce enough milk, but I think most only THINK they aren't producing enough milk. I was told that in order to KNOW you're not producing enough is to weigh your child after every feed.

Candice - posted on 01/05/2010

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I agree with the drinking enough water thing! I ALWAYS seemed to be thirsty when I nursed and it really helped with my milk supply. I tried to drink a bottle of water every feeding! Good luck and really try to stick it out, it was the best experiance as a mother!

Rebecca - posted on 01/05/2010

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I think alot of time moms dont have the correct support from family, friends, Drs and nurses. If things start off rocky in the begining alot of time it can stay that way throughout the bf experience. If the nurses, Drs and even LC dont give the correct info to a new bf mother or feed them info about not enough milk, jaundice worries, poor weight gain worries ect coupled with sore cracked and even bleeding nipples, baby being at the breast for hours strait alot of women can easily sway to the side of "I tried and its just not working". Its actually a shame, because if moms would have the correct support, just relax, put the baby to the breast and not worry about the clock, which breast first/last, how much are they getting ect ect then I think there would be alot less moms that "just cant"

Kristina - posted on 01/05/2010

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from what i have read and been told the more you nurse the more milk you will produce. Even if the baby is more mobile if you pump when they used to nurse you will continue to produce enough milk for as long as they need it. The people who nurse in other countries produce milk for long periods of time a lot longer than most of us would want to nurse ie. 5or6yrs. this protects the children from the bad water and other conditions they live in. As long as you feel comfortable nursing is how long you should keep nursing.

Nicole - posted on 01/05/2010

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I think a lot of women really believe that they can't make enough. I thought I couldn't make enough for a while. Eventually, I just stopped questioning every little bit of perceived "evidence" of this and put my son to my breast as often as he wanted. He was just growing and requiring more. He's gone from 9 lbs 14.5 ounces at birth to 15 lbs now at just over 2 months. He was nursing a lot not because he wasn't getting enough, but because he was busy growing so much!



I was really just lacking some confidence in my body, I guess. I think a lot of women aren't necessarily faking this concern, just that most people I've encountered tried to convince me that I should switch to formula because I didn't have enough milk so I'm assuming that these comments are experienced by others as well. The last thing I wanted was to actually starve my son or have others think that I was. It took me up until very recently to fully believe that I wasn't.

Minnie - posted on 01/05/2010

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What I ALWAYS wonder is- even if mom 'couldn't make enough' why couldn't she still comfort her little one at her breast? She's more than likely to produce SOMETHING- why write it off completely...unless...she just didn't really want to do it anyways?



Women and even men in traditional cultures comfort a little one with their breast when mom isn't around. Much better than a plastic plug, in my opinion.

Tricia - posted on 01/05/2010

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"I just couldn't make enough milk" is a handy excuse, because nobody can really prove you wrong. :-) I pretty firmly believe that if you really want to BF, you can. Even that 1% of moms who honestly can't make enough milk to provide full nourishment can comfort feed their babies and give them as much immune benefit as possible through their milk. On the other hand, if you really don't want to BF, there are 101 reasons to quit.

Minnie - posted on 01/05/2010

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You've only heard of it here on COM because it is such a rare thing- and there are so many women here.



Only 1% of the female population cannot nourish her infant- but at over 5 million members on COM- that's quite the number! And plenty to share about it!



HOWEVER- there is a poll on the home page regarding breastfeeding-



And the percentage of members who answered "I tried, but I just couldn't" was 21%- so obviously there is a gross misinterpretation of "I couldn't" amongst breastfeeding mothers.

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