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Do you think low milk supply is not as big a problem as everyone makes it out to be?

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Low Breast Milk Supply Isn't Even a Real Thing (Usually)

by Adriana Velez

breastmilk movieMaybe it's just because I live in a city with a lot of stressed-out women, but it seems like I've known a lot of women who felt like they couldn't produce enough breast milk. Most of us -- oh yeah, I'm including me -- went through the bother of pumping with hospital-grade pumps and using other remedies and torture devices to try an up our supply. But did we really need to? What if, all along, we were making enough? What if we just needed help getting our babies to access the milk we were making?

In Ricki Lake's new documentary, Breastmilk two Australian moms question what seems to them an American obsession with pumping and milk supply. One of the moms says something I think cuts deeply into the issue. 

To be honest, I see it as an assumption that woment's bodies can't possibly be good enough by themselves, that you need to supplement it, that you need to control it, that it's unmeasurable and you don't really know. And so therefore there's this ignorance and this fear associated with it.

Wow, I'd never really thought about it that way. I think she may be right. Low milk supply -- is it a myth?  We actually don't know the exact number of women with low milk supply. "You cannot find a number for this," says Marianne Neifert, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. She says it's probably around 1 to 5 percent of Western women.

More from The Stir: 5 More Breastfeeding Myths You Probably Believe Are True

But that idea that our bodies are not enough -- that definitely rings true. I think we feel that way about our bodies for so many other reasons. Why wouldn't it also apply to how we feel about breastfeeding? I think back now to when I first doubted myself. It was when my pediatrician said my baby wasn't gaining enough weight fast enough. She told me to supplement with formula -- and you know what? That turned out fine. My son caught on to breastfeeding and I did dump the supplements.

But what if I'd known that low milk supply isn't really all that common? What if my first pediatrician (yeah, I switched) had recommended a lactation consultant instead of formula? And what if my health insurance had covered lactation consultants at that time, like they all effing should? Imagine the difference this would make.

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

Do you think low milk supply is not as big a problem as everyone makes it out to be?

by on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM
Replies (121-126):
jamamama00
by Ruby Member on Nov. 21, 2013 at 8:20 PM
It isn't a supply issue in that it is abnormal or problematic, it is just the nature of the beast. The baby has to be hungry in order to build supply.


Quoting Bellarose0212:


It isn't at all unless I'm misunderstanding what you wrote.

my understanding: Newborns nurse around the clock, as often as every hour or ever half hour. I get that is how supply is set but it was more important to me to get rest, so I supplemented with (or switched to) formula. I had to work or had other responsibilities and didn't have enough help.

That's not your body not having enough milk. Not a supply issue. Roadblocks to an easy nursing relationship for sure and I think they should be addressed in society (paid maternity leave, family learning to be more supportive, etc.). But, it's not a medical lack of supply.


Quoting jamamama00:

 How is it not a supply issue?




Quoting Bellarose0212:


Okay, but that isn't a supply issue.




Quoting jamamama00:

Most women I know had the same problem I did...a baby who wasn't content with what he/she was getting. And yeah, we all get it....that's how supply is set. But who the fuck wants to deal with no sleep and a fussy infant for weeks or even months on end? This isn't the old days, where women have tons of help and are able to lay around tending to nothing but the baby. Women are expected to function, which takes rest












Bellarose0212
by Gold Member on Nov. 22, 2013 at 1:58 AM

I think we agree then...?

Just for the record though, not all babies are fussy when building supply. Neither of mine were. Nursing all the time? Yeah, definitely, but I expected that.


Quoting jamamama00:

It isn't a supply issue in that it is abnormal or problematic, it is just the nature of the beast. The baby has to be hungry in order to build supply.


Quoting Bellarose0212:


It isn't at all unless I'm misunderstanding what you wrote.

my understanding: Newborns nurse around the clock, as often as every hour or ever half hour. I get that is how supply is set but it was more important to me to get rest, so I supplemented with (or switched to) formula. I had to work or had other responsibilities and didn't have enough help.

That's not your body not having enough milk. Not a supply issue. Roadblocks to an easy nursing relationship for sure and I think they should be addressed in society (paid maternity leave, family learning to be more supportive, etc.). But, it's not a medical lack of supply.


Quoting jamamama00:

 How is it not a supply issue?




Quoting Bellarose0212:


Okay, but that isn't a supply issue.




Quoting jamamama00:

Most women I know had the same problem I did...a baby who wasn't content with what he/she was getting. And yeah, we all get it....that's how supply is set. But who the fuck wants to deal with no sleep and a fussy infant for weeks or even months on end? This isn't the old days, where women have tons of help and are able to lay around tending to nothing but the baby. Women are expected to function, which takes rest














jamamama00
by Ruby Member on Nov. 22, 2013 at 2:03 AM
I think so lol!!! I envy people who have the easy babies and the amazing boobs! I only had one working boob and three of my four babies were beasts who wanted steak and potatoes immediately I think.


Quoting Bellarose0212:

I think we agree then...?

Just for the record though, not all babies are fussy when building supply. Neither of mine were. Nursing all the time? Yeah, definitely, but I expected that.



Quoting jamamama00:

It isn't a supply issue in that it is abnormal or problematic, it is just the nature of the beast. The baby has to be hungry in order to build supply.





Quoting Bellarose0212:


It isn't at all unless I'm misunderstanding what you wrote.

my understanding: Newborns nurse around the clock, as often as every hour or ever half hour. I get that is how supply is set but it was more important to me to get rest, so I supplemented with (or switched to) formula. I had to work or had other responsibilities and didn't have enough help.

That's not your body not having enough milk. Not a supply issue. Roadblocks to an easy nursing relationship for sure and I think they should be addressed in society (paid maternity leave, family learning to be more supportive, etc.). But, it's not a medical lack of supply.



Quoting jamamama00:

 How is it not a supply issue?






Quoting Bellarose0212:



Okay, but that isn't a supply issue.






Quoting jamamama00:

Most women I know had the same problem I did...a baby who wasn't content with what he/she was getting. And yeah, we all get it....that's how supply is set. But who the fuck wants to deal with no sleep and a fussy infant for weeks or even months on end? This isn't the old days, where women have tons of help and are able to lay around tending to nothing but the baby. Women are expected to function, which takes rest






















Bellarose0212
by Gold Member on Nov. 22, 2013 at 2:09 AM

lol.

I definitely have had easy babies (no colic or anything) and no supply issues so I'm not dissmissive of supply issues that other people have at all. But, my babies weren't like mainstream easy. They wanted to be held and nursed all the time, of course. I had monster babies, one almost 9# and the other 10 even at birth, both hitting 20# around 4-months-old. Monster EBF babies. So, I definitely have had the contant nursing thing. I just had to accept that and I didn't have to go back to work super soon or have any super pressing concerns. I had a messy freaking house for a few months and we ate a little more junk than I would prefer. I could be sining a different tune about how hard it was if I had to pump! It is very hard to exclusively (or enough for full time work) pump and those moms deserve gold medals.


Quoting jamamama00:

I think so lol!!! I envy people who have the easy babies and the amazing boobs! I only had one working boob and three of my four babies were beasts who wanted steak and potatoes immediately I think.


Quoting Bellarose0212:

I think we agree then...?

Just for the record though, not all babies are fussy when building supply. Neither of mine were. Nursing all the time? Yeah, definitely, but I expected that.



Quoting jamamama00:

It isn't a supply issue in that it is abnormal or problematic, it is just the nature of the beast. The baby has to be hungry in order to build supply.





Quoting Bellarose0212:


It isn't at all unless I'm misunderstanding what you wrote.

my understanding: Newborns nurse around the clock, as often as every hour or ever half hour. I get that is how supply is set but it was more important to me to get rest, so I supplemented with (or switched to) formula. I had to work or had other responsibilities and didn't have enough help.

That's not your body not having enough milk. Not a supply issue. Roadblocks to an easy nursing relationship for sure and I think they should be addressed in society (paid maternity leave, family learning to be more supportive, etc.). But, it's not a medical lack of supply.



Quoting jamamama00:

 How is it not a supply issue?






Quoting Bellarose0212:



Okay, but that isn't a supply issue.






Quoting jamamama00:

Most women I know had the same problem I did...a baby who wasn't content with what he/she was getting. And yeah, we all get it....that's how supply is set. But who the fuck wants to deal with no sleep and a fussy infant for weeks or even months on end? This isn't the old days, where women have tons of help and are able to lay around tending to nothing but the baby. Women are expected to function, which takes rest
























jamamama00
by Ruby Member on Nov. 22, 2013 at 2:19 AM
Omg...I HATE pumps!!! I literallly sucked a piece of my nipple up in the Medela before we knew my one boob was non-producing. Then I had to pump the working one with my other kids in order to produce enough to feed off one side. I am SO glad to be over the infant days!!! I don't know how women go back to work and pump and all that jazz. You are right....they deserve a Nobel or something.


Quoting Bellarose0212:

lol.

I definitely have had easy babies (no colic or anything) and no supply issues so I'm not dissmissive of supply issues that other people have at all. But, my babies weren't like mainstream easy. They wanted to be held and nursed all the time, of course. I had monster babies, one almost 9# and the other 10 even at birth, both hitting 20# around 4-months-old. Monster EBF babies. So, I definitely have had the contant nursing thing. I just had to accept that and I didn't have to go back to work super soon or have any super pressing concerns. I had a messy freaking house for a few months and we ate a little more junk than I would prefer. I could be sining a different tune about how hard it was if I had to pump! It is very hard to exclusively (or enough for full time work) pump and those moms deserve gold medals.



Quoting jamamama00:

I think so lol!!! I envy people who have the easy babies and the amazing boobs! I only had one working boob and three of my four babies were beasts who wanted steak and potatoes immediately I think.





Quoting Bellarose0212:

I think we agree then...?

Just for the record though, not all babies are fussy when building supply. Neither of mine were. Nursing all the time? Yeah, definitely, but I expected that.




Quoting jamamama00:

It isn't a supply issue in that it is abnormal or problematic, it is just the nature of the beast. The baby has to be hungry in order to build supply.








Quoting Bellarose0212:


It isn't at all unless I'm misunderstanding what you wrote.

my understanding: Newborns nurse around the clock, as often as every hour or ever half hour. I get that is how supply is set but it was more important to me to get rest, so I supplemented with (or switched to) formula. I had to work or had other responsibilities and didn't have enough help.

That's not your body not having enough milk. Not a supply issue. Roadblocks to an easy nursing relationship for sure and I think they should be addressed in society (paid maternity leave, family learning to be more supportive, etc.). But, it's not a medical lack of supply.




Quoting jamamama00:

 How is it not a supply issue?








Quoting Bellarose0212:




Okay, but that isn't a supply issue.








Quoting jamamama00:

Most women I know had the same problem I did...a baby who wasn't content with what he/she was getting. And yeah, we all get it....that's how supply is set. But who the fuck wants to deal with no sleep and a fussy infant for weeks or even months on end? This isn't the old days, where women have tons of help and are able to lay around tending to nothing but the baby. Women are expected to function, which takes rest


































Bellarose0212
by Gold Member on Nov. 22, 2013 at 2:33 AM

OUCH! That's awful. I hate pumps too. I only have ever had a hand pump. Still, I managed to get a little bit to donate with my hand pump with my first daughter. This time around, I can't bring myself to devote time to that yet and I'm pretty sure I would wear the milk at this point (I used to pump the other boob while nursing). Pumps are so much more uncomfortable and inefficient than the baby.


Quoting jamamama00:

Omg...I HATE pumps!!! I literallly sucked a piece of my nipple up in the Medela before we knew my one boob was non-producing. Then I had to pump the working one with my other kids in order to produce enough to feed off one side. I am SO glad to be over the infant days!!! I don't know how women go back to work and pump and all that jazz. You are right....they deserve a Nobel or something.


Quoting Bellarose0212:

lol.

I definitely have had easy babies (no colic or anything) and no supply issues so I'm not dissmissive of supply issues that other people have at all. But, my babies weren't like mainstream easy. They wanted to be held and nursed all the time, of course. I had monster babies, one almost 9# and the other 10 even at birth, both hitting 20# around 4-months-old. Monster EBF babies. So, I definitely have had the contant nursing thing. I just had to accept that and I didn't have to go back to work super soon or have any super pressing concerns. I had a messy freaking house for a few months and we ate a little more junk than I would prefer. I could be sining a different tune about how hard it was if I had to pump! It is very hard to exclusively (or enough for full time work) pump and those moms deserve gold medals.



Quoting jamamama00:

I think so lol!!! I envy people who have the easy babies and the amazing boobs! I only had one working boob and three of my four babies were beasts who wanted steak and potatoes immediately I think.





Quoting Bellarose0212:

I think we agree then...?

Just for the record though, not all babies are fussy when building supply. Neither of mine were. Nursing all the time? Yeah, definitely, but I expected that.




Quoting jamamama00:

It isn't a supply issue in that it is abnormal or problematic, it is just the nature of the beast. The baby has to be hungry in order to build supply.








Quoting Bellarose0212:


It isn't at all unless I'm misunderstanding what you wrote.

my understanding: Newborns nurse around the clock, as often as every hour or ever half hour. I get that is how supply is set but it was more important to me to get rest, so I supplemented with (or switched to) formula. I had to work or had other responsibilities and didn't have enough help.

That's not your body not having enough milk. Not a supply issue. Roadblocks to an easy nursing relationship for sure and I think they should be addressed in society (paid maternity leave, family learning to be more supportive, etc.). But, it's not a medical lack of supply.




Quoting jamamama00:

 How is it not a supply issue?








Quoting Bellarose0212:




Okay, but that isn't a supply issue.








Quoting jamamama00:

Most women I know had the same problem I did...a baby who wasn't content with what he/she was getting. And yeah, we all get it....that's how supply is set. But who the fuck wants to deal with no sleep and a fussy infant for weeks or even months on end? This isn't the old days, where women have tons of help and are able to lay around tending to nothing but the baby. Women are expected to function, which takes rest




































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