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My name is Tara, and I was a breastfeeding mother
with insufficient milk syndrome (defined as failure
to thrive in infants due to insufficient daily breast
milk intake).* I'm on a mission to tell people that
even if you've done everything right, you still might
not produce enough breast milk for your baby. However,
you may still be able to have a beautiful breastfeeding
relationship like I did, so don't give up!
Well-meaning breastfeeding consultants all encouraged
me to keep nursing 24/7 after my little girl was born.
It's called the supply-and-demand theory. The more you
nurse, the more you make. They convinced me that I had
enough milk, or that there would be enough milk soon.
But in my case, there wasn't enough milk, nor would
there be, without herbal and pharmacological intervention.
I wasn't convinced that I truly had a low milk supply
until I went to a breastfeeding laboratory, where they
weighed my baby after every feeding for an entire day.
They shared with me that, despite all my efforts of
constant nursing, I did not produce enough milk to sustain
my baby. It was actually a great relief, because I realized
I wasn't doing anything wrong.
If you're a new breastfeeding mom, scared that your
baby isn't getting enough to milk, please see a professional
lactation consultant right away. In my case, it was
necessary to weigh my baby before and after every breastfeeding
(counting diapers was too subjective). We cheered when
my daughter started gaining actual pounds.
If you've discovered that you have a low milk supply,
I'm here to encourage you. Even if you do have to break
down and supplement your feedings with formula, you
can still have a connection with your baby that only
a mother can have. My daughter is almost six now, but
I breastfed until she was three and a half! But you
know what? Even if that doesn't happen for you, No Guilt!
YOU are a great mom and your baby is lucky to have you
as a mother.
* Willis, Claire Bizabeth,
and Livingstone, Verity. "Infant Insufficient Milk Syndrome
Associated with Maternal Postpartum Hemorrhage." Journal
of Human Lactation 11, no. 2 (1995): 123-126.