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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 (21-30):
MicheleJM
by Phoenix on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Idk and Idc.  I think it's a problem that affects all cultures..the difference is that other cultures go about the business of finding other ways to feed their babies but here everyone makes a big freaking stink over it.  Your baby won't grow up to be Einstein if you bf or will he be doomed to a horrible existence if you ff.  Just feed your baby however you can and get over it.  If you have to supplement while you bf so be it.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 5 on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:45 AM
Probably not as common as we think but definitely real. With my botched.c.section I never recieved any breast milk at all. No colostrum. Nothing at all.
TB78
by Tasha on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Yes that is a real problem especially if to those that want to breastfeed and can't because of either an illness, low milk production, or other things. I also have watched on the today show a rossin report where there are online milk banks and most milk from there was either spoiled because it was shipped from out of state or was tainted with chemicals that could harm or kill the infant.

SaraW1989
by on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:46 AM
1 mom liked this

Considering women forget things like this and think they have a low milk supply because their baby cries  lot, I don't think it's a big problem. 

daughteroftruth
by on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:47 AM

 I think for some it is lack of general knowledge and support in regards to breastfeeding overall.  Most woman I know who quit because they felt they did not have enough did so during the "cluster" feedings.  They did not expect or understand what cluster feedings are, and so panicked.  Had they understood what to expect, or had really support, many of them could have continued.  But breastfeeding is a lost knowledge in America, and no book, internet source, or Lactation consultant can replace real support from close female friends and family who have successfully breastfed.  Had I not had that in my life with my first, I am not sure I would have breastfed as long as I did. 

cindilou13
by on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM

I think there are a few who simply don't produce enough naturally, just as there are some who naturally have a ton.  But I also think in many cases where it seems they aren't producing enough, the root issue is something else, not only/simply 'low milk supply'.  Schedule, diet, nursing or pumping habits, stress, or just not simply having thorough or accurate information to figure it out

Anonymous
by Anonymous 6 on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:53 AM

I like how people are in tune to another woman's breasts.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 6 on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Why the hell do people care so much how a woman feeds their child?

Kellileanne
by Gold Member on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:57 AM

 I do believe it is a real problem but so many women aren't educated enough to understand what is normal and what isn't normal.  Also, sometimes they don't have the information to get their supply back up once it drops.

Raeann11
by Ruby Member on Nov. 20, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Yes, I am sure it effects some women. But you can't judge what you pump and what you produce the same. Pumping is not the same as when the breastfeed baby. We really need to have more education and Lactation consultants to help us out.

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