It really drives me crazy that as soon as breastfeeding gets difficult, doctors like to tell mamas either to supplement or give up. Low supply can have so many causes! It’s very likely in most cases that it can easily be fixed. I think every new mama should be given accurate information about breastfeeding and information about their local LeLeche League chapter. I think the main thing most new mamas need is support.
Low supply can be caused by deficiencies in the mom’s diet, but that’s easily remedied by either supplements or changes in her diet. There are even things that can be given to the mama to help increase her milk.
Another common cause for low milk supply is not nursing often enough. So many parenting books recommend putting baby on a schedule from birth. A schedule will supposedly get baby sleeping through the night sooner and make them fit in to the parents’ lives instead of the parents working around baby’s needs. If mamas throw this advice out the window and start feeding “on demand,” mama’s milk supply will increase to what the baby needs very quickly. Babies who nurse on demand benefit in so many ways! They know that their mama will be there whenever they need her, they get all the nutrition they need and it’s a wonderful time of bonding with their mama. It also allows them to up mama’s milk supply when they’re about to have a growth spurt and need a lot more milk very easily. A baby who’s about to grow will nurse many more times in the day than one who’s just maintaining their current size.
Isaiah loves to nurse! And he nurses a lot! When he was a newborn, he nursed every hour and a half, without fail. When he was growing, he nursed even more. Some days, I don’t think he did anything but nurse and sleep! That’s ok with me, though. As long as I let him nurse any time he asks, I know that he’s getting the nutrition he needs as well as keeping himself hydrated. A healthy, secure baby is much more important to me than one who sleeps through the night and only nurses when it’s convenient for me.