Unfortunately, many of these "hidden" items are quite popular in our modern, western culture; leaving mother's confused and blaming themselves or their bodies. Please read on to learn more...
”Watch your baby, NOT THE CLOCK” is a popular saying among Lactation Consultants. Why?
Infant mammals are not designed for scheduled feedings; they need to be fed whenever they give cues. The reason behind the cues don’t matter very much… hunger, thirst, comfort —> are all valid reasons to be at the breast.
Putting limitations on time at the breast =
Less breast stimulation =
Body will believe less stimulation means less milk is needed and will decrease milk production
2. Sleep Training & Premature Night Weaning
This builds off the same principle regarding Feeding Schedules. If your baby does not yet sleep longer stretches without nursing, but you decide to try sleep training, most likely, your supply will drop.
Prolactin is 1 of 2 main hormones involved with breastfeeding. Prolactin levels in the blood are tied to milk supply. Prolactin levels are typically highest overnight / wee hours of the morning. Cutting out breast stimulation during this time (before your baby reaches this milestone on their own) will cause prolactin levels to drop, thus milk supply to drop.
3. Topping Off with Formula "Just In Case"
4. Restrictive Diets for Mom
Cutting calories too quickly & restricting good fats can cause milk supply to drop.
Don’t Forget: Exclusive breastfeeding for the first few months can burn up to 500 calories/day!
Notice how I didn’t say it’ll make you lose weight? There are multiple factors at play here; hormones being a big one. Postpartum weight loss is not simple for most women and takes time.
5. Medications & Other Substances
Pseudoephedrine (found in Sudafed, other combo cold/flu OTC medications, & Claritin D) - Even 1 dose has been shown to significantly decrease milk supply.
Marijuana - a no-no in pregnancy & lactation for many reasons; THC users have been found to have lower serum prolactin levels, and thus, may have low supply
Clomiphene (Brand Name in USA: Clomid) - this fertility drug has been shown in multiple studies as a treatment to rapidly stop breastmilk production
Estrogen containing birth control - the estrogen levels produced by this type of birth control can throw off other hormones needed to continue lactation
6. One More Thing to Remember...
Many well meaning health care providers, family, or friends may encourage some of these items (feeding schedules, sleep training, &”topping off” being common).
They may tell you that your breastfed baby isn’t behaving normally, isn’t reaching arbitrary sleep “milestones”, is using you as a pacifier, is manipulating you, is being spoiled by you, etc…
If this occurs, I want you to remember one thing:
The majority of people in our society (including health care professionals) have had their expectations & opinions of infant feeding & sleep behaviors based on decades of MARKETING FROM FORMULA COMPANIES & FORMULA FEEDING DOMINATING THE CULTURE.
***General info only. Not a substitute for personalized lactation care from an IBCLC or other medical professional.***