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.
* 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.