Worried about your supply? You’re not alone! In fact, concerns about milk supply is one of the main concerns shared by breastfeeding mamas, especially in the first few weeks of bubs life. The good news? It’s very likely you’re making enough milk. There are, however, some factors that can cause your supply to take a temporary dip. Let’s take a look at them and how a wearable breast pump can help boost your supply.
What is low milk supply?
As we mentioned above, most mamas will be able to produce enough milk to feed their bub. It is super important to note that many normal newborn behaviours like fussiness, cluster feeding and wanting to be on or near a boob 24/7 are completely normal and not an indication of low milk supply.
For women with a healthy milk supply, dips or drops in supply are often due to what is sometimes termed ‘secondary’ supply issues. These issues may be related to things like suboptimal latch, breastfeeding frequency (not feeding bub enough or emptying your breasts thoroughly) or even things like your period or illness. The key is that they are factors that can be resolved fairly easily with the right advice and support.
There are a small percentage of women who suffer from what is termed ‘true low milk supply’ or ‘primary low milk supply. True low milk supply is usually caused by medical conditions like insufficient glandular tissue (IGT), some metabolic conditions, retained placenta, postpartum haemorrhage, surgical inventions or from illness. These conditions may require medical intervention or the consideration of mixed feeding in consultation with your caregiver.
How do I know if my supply is low?
If a lot of normal newborn behaviours are, well normal, and not an indicated of milk supply issues then how on earth do you know if you genuinely are experiencing a dip in supply? The most accurate way to assess is by keeping an eye on bubs output AKA wet and dirty nappies because what goes in, must come out!
The Royal Women’s Hospital indicates that your baby should have at least 4-5 soaked nappies within a 24-hour period and pass a poo each day. Actively looking for a feed after a period of sleep/not feeding is also a sign that bub is getting enough milk. And remember, newborns and young bubs can and will want to feed every couple of hours, this is completely normal as they are establishing your supply and working at regaining any weight lost after birth. If you notice that your bub doesn’t seem to be having enough wet nappies, seems sleepy/disinterested in feeding or shows any signs of dehydration, it’s best to consult your healthcare professional for help and support.
What can I do if I notice a dip in my supply?
For many women, a slight dip in supply can be part of their breastfeeding experience. For me, personally, when I was unwell, I would notice my baby wanting to feed more often that normal which indicated that that they likely trying to boost my supply back up to its usual levels. Babies (and toddlers) are very clever when it comes to their milk and have their own tricks to help maintain your supply.
Another way to help boost your supply is by using your breast pump. Power Pumping is a well-recognised way to help give your supply a boost by mimicking a baby that is cluster feeding. By using your breast pump to mimic this pattern, you'll repeatedly empty your breasts, encouraging your body to produce more milk. Generally, mums will pick a 60-minute period in their day where they can 'power pump' and repeat this for 2-3 days. This can also be a great way to quickly build a milk stash.
I’d like to power pump but don’t have time to be hooked up to my pump!
We feel you mama! It’s one of the reasons we created the Lactivate® ARIA ™ Wearable Breast Pump. The Lactivate ARIA™ is an electric breast pump designed to fit inside your nursing bra to give you a hands-free pumping experience without needing to hook yourself up to a power source or hold your pump in place. With 3 Breastshield sizes to ensure a perfect fit (no squished nipples here), 3 customisable modes and suction strength comparable to a hospital-grade pump, it’s the easiest way to add a pumping session to your day, no tubes or wires (or sitting down!) required.
The Lactivate ARIA™ is ideal for mamas looking to power pump to boost their supply as it can be popped into your bra and away you go. And with 2 hours of battery life before it needs charging, you can easily fit in a 60 min power pumping block. Add in a Lactation Tea or Cookie, rich in galactagogues and you’ve got the perfect supply boosting duo.