Jun 22, 2005

Breastfeeding Problems - Supply Part I

The lawyer in me feels compelled to repeat my previous disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I'm not an expert and that everything I'm saying is based on my own experience breastfeeding. If you need expert assistance, find a lactation consultant - I found mine (eventually) through my son's pediatrician.

Low milk supply was by far the worst of the problems I have encountered. In fact, I've read that fear of low supply is one of the most common reasons that women give up breastfeeding. However, there is hope. After the first month or so, my supply met demand and my baby is now thriving.

Even now, though, fear of low supply continues to plague me. Just the other night, after thinking about this post, I dreamed that the pediatrician's office called and said that my milk supply was insufficient for my son. I suppose the impact of the problem was so strong because it made me feel inadequate, helpless, and like a terrible mother, and my postpartum depression certainly didn't help. I have to keep telling myself that Alex has more than enough wet and dirty diapers each day, not to mention the fact that he's as filled out as any baby I've ever seen.

But I didn't imagine my low supply during the first few weeks. I rented a baby scale from my lactation consultant (LC), and weighed Alex before and after each feeding. A baby scale is sensitive enough to detect tenths of an ounce. It was exhausting, especially since Alex's "awake" time at the time was in the middle of the night. But I compared Alex's intake from me to how much he was supposed to be eating from a chart my LC gave me and knew I needed to supplement with formula.

It cost about $35 a week to rent the scale, and it was worth it for the peace of mind. Medela's website has a locator function for finding someone to rent a scale from.

Tomorrow I'll post about the regimen I used to increase my supply.

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