Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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In the Pediatrics study, this was the No. 1 reason women stopped breastfeeding or introduced solids before their baby reached 6 months old.
Yet, “the true prevalence of mothers who are unable to produce enough milk to accomplish their infant’s weight gain is only about 5 percent,” says Ruowei Li, M.D., Ph.D., a breastfeeding researcher in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC in Atlanta. In other words, 95 percent of nursing moms can make enough milk, but those who stop breastfeeding, supplement or introduce solids perceive that they aren’t.
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Weigh your baby before and after a feed. You’ll be amazed at how the number on the scale goes up (and up!). If your baby is gaining weight and pooping like a champ, you’re producing enough milk.
Don’t be fooled by the pump. Some women don’t let down easily when expressing milk, says Hurst. “They see they’re not getting much when pumping and believe that’s what the baby is getting,” she says.
Talk to your pediatrician about infant nutrition. “Breast milk alone didn’t satisfy my baby” is one of the top three reasons women quit and/or introduce solids before recommended. “Early introduction of solid foods is concerning as developmentally, younger infants are not prepared for solid foods,” says Li. Discuss the signs of infant hunger with your pediatrician.
Take a “babymoon” Do nothing but nurse on demand for two to three days. “the more your breasts are stimulated, the more milk you’ll produce,” says Lebbing, who is also a lactation consultant at Silver Cross hospital in New Lenox, Ill. During your babymoon vacation, get rid of the pacifier and bring your baby into your bedroom at night. the trick is to be with your baby constantly and nurse when she’s hungry and when she needs comforting.
Rent a hospital-grade pump. These are used in hospitals by mothers of preemies who need to establish milk production quickly. the “limo of pumps,” as Lebbing calls them, is more effective at expressing than any pump you can buy. Visit Medela (medelabreastfeedingus.com) or ameda (ameda.com) online to find a rental outlet near you.
Visit LowMilkSupply.org to learn everything you need to know about the topic: causes of low milk; how to make more; when and when not to supplement; and where to find a specialist near you.
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