The uterus doesn’t tell the breasts how many babies have come out. So the breast, when things go right, is designed to readily make milk for the first 6-8 weeks to feed however many babies have come out, in the event there are twins or triplets. Milk removals in the first 3-4 days after birth, while your milk is still colostrum, help lay down the hormone receptors needed to make milk. The more the breast is stimulated in the early days, the higher the potential for the breast to make milk. In the few weeks following birth, once milk has transitioned, a high supply ensures baby has plenty of milk while going through multiple growth spurts. Supply then gradually tapers off around 11-14 weeks (“regulates”) to just what is being regularly emptied. Many people, though, don’t see this abundant milk supply in the early days. Why does this happen?
🛑 Really long labor and delivery (24+ hour birth, 4+ hours of pushing)
🛑 Lots of fluids during labor
🛑 Maternal hemorrhage/large blood loss at birth
🛑 Inefficient milk movement in the first few days after birth (inefficient baby, not pumping when baby is supplemented, tongue tie baby)
🛑 Retained placenta
🛑 Uncontrolled diabetes or thyroid disorders
🛑 Feeding by the clock instead of on demand whenever baby is cueing
🛑 Early sleep training
🛑 Supplementing baby with a bottle and not pumping at the same time (You need to feed something, either the baby or a pump to tell your body to make that milk)
🛑 Placenta encapsulation for some (in many, placenta pills boost mood and supply. For some, it can actually decrease supply)
What can you do?
✅Get help as SOON as possible. There is a few week window where supply can be increased after birth. After that window it can be very difficult to get supply up and you’ll have a higher likelihood of needing to supplement in addition to your milk.
✅Work on position and latch to optimize the time baby is at the breast.
✅Get a quality pump and have a flange fitting
✅Have tongue and/or lip ties addressed
✅ Pump when baby is being bottle fed, even in the MOTN
✅Stay hydrated and if there was a blood loss, eating iron rich foods and quality nutrition can help as your blood supply rebounds.