Home Children Not All Moms Have Enough Breastmilk for their Newborn. Myth or Fact?

Not All Moms Have Enough Breastmilk for their Newborn. Myth or Fact?

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I recently did a post on exclusive breastfeeding, and how I managed to do so with my son Kitty for his first six months.

Well, one of the issues that many new moms worry about is their milk supply, and if they will be able to produce enough breastmilk for their newborn. Through different forums, I have heard many moms ask this question many times, and the responses have always been varied.

So I talked to a community health nurse who works alot with new moms about this issue, and this is what she had to say:

After I did this post, some moms differed with the nurse. Read their sentiments in the comments below. What are your thoughts? What was your own personal experience?

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11 COMMENTS

  1. I have heard so many women say they just didn’t produce milk so had to have baby on formula. I totally agree with the nurse in the video, if mum is not in a frame of mind to breast feed then it will be difficult to breast feed. In my experience, I was able to breast feed because I was relaxed and I had attended a breast feeding workshop before the baby was born so I had the right information and wasn’t worried about it when the baby arrived. Information is key.

  2. It was because of nurses with this type of an attitude and I must add ignorance that 2 of my babies got into serious trouble at birth. Furthermore, the stress they (nurses) put me under to breastfeed meant it took even longer for my milk to come in. Consequently denying my babies formula meant them suffering dehydration, jaundice, etc and extended hospitalization. There are several reasons why a mother’s milk may take long to come in or why it may not be enough such as induced or early labor, thyroid or hormone levels, retained placenta, insufficient breast tissue, etc .It is best to seek advice from your OB/GYN or lactation consultant.

  3. Wow @MamaAzizi thanks for sharing that. It must have been tough for you and your babies having to go through that. But it’s true, the pressure from other parties like nurses and relatives to force you to produce breastmilk can only stress you some more. They tell you to relax but yet they’re putting so much pressure on you and I guess this is what affects the milk flow all the more. I know your comments represent many mom’s experiences. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I have to agree with Mama Azizi on this one. I attended breastfeeding workshops, joined La Leche and even threw away the free bottles of formula offered at my hospital. I was DETERMINED to breastfeed. However, during those first few days after delivery, despite the baby suckling literally round the clock, my milk was simply NOT ENOUGH. Baby got dehydrated, jaundiced and we ended up in the emergency room. Luckily, I was encouraged and advised by my lactation consultants to start supplementing each breastfeeding session with a formula feeding at the end. After about a week or so, my breastmilk transitioned to a mature flow and I was able to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and even continue for the rest of the year. Insufficient milk is NOT a myth. When women like myself are pressured and berated during those first days for a problem that is REAL, it creates a horrible breastfeeding experience. I’m very thankful that I was surrounded by supportive and encouraging lactation consultants who understood what I was experiencing and created the positive foundation for a prolonged breastfeeding experience.

  5. Forgive me for what I’m going to say but does the nurse back her statements with any proven research? I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my baby for at least six months and was unable to. I always give the analogy of cows. If I remember correctly, different cows produce different quantities of milk. Of course nutrition and lack of stress is a factor to milk production but you can’t ask women who have many things to deal with not to be stressed… some work in demanding environments, some have other children with needs but most important, It’s ignorant to assume that all women are the same. The exclusive breastfeeding was a recommendation of WHO. They champion this and say that Most (note not all) women have capacity to produce enough milk to meet their babies’ needs. They do give pointers to watch out for in case a baby isn’t getting enough. So from WHO which for me is adviced by experts all over the world;

    There are other signs which may mean that a baby is not getting enough milk. These are possible signs:

    Baby not satisfied after a breastfeed
    Baby cries often
    Very frequent breastfeeds
    Very long breastfeeds
    Baby refuses to breastfeed
    Baby has hard, dry or green stools
    Baby has infrequent small stools
    No milk comes out when the mother expresses
    Breasts did not enlarge (during pregnancy)
    Milk did not “come in” (after delivery)

    From one mother (me) to other mothers… don’t kill or harm your babies trying to be super moms because you will be judged harshly by those around you who seem to know it all. Do your best then do the best for your baby.

  6. @Shiko B and @MamaZoe your stories pretty much are mine, just as is Mama Azizi’s. My milk didn’t come out as soon as Kitty came, but it took 5 days to do so. Meanwhile, the pediatrician refused to have me discharged UNTIL the milk came. At the same time, everybody -the nurses, relatives and friends who came to see me kept telling me not to be stressed because I was detaining the milk. How, I don’t know. And my boobs/nipples kept being squeezed and squeezed for the milk to come out. Kitty sucked and sucked, pulling in air until at some point he sucked blood. Poor me and poor him. Don’t even get me started on the pain I was feeling. Anyway the milk finally came on day 5 and that’s when I was discharged, and after that it was an abundant flow. All that while Kitty was being fed on formula coz there wasn’t any other choice (in retrospect so I guess that means he wasn’t exclusively breastfed for six months huh?). After my milk came, the supply was good and I was able to do the six months and even after that (still doing so). Thanks moms for sharing your experiences.

    ION, @MamaZoe clearly I see you paid attention in your agriculture classes, the types of cows and quantities of milk produced etc etc 🙂

  7. I just thought I would add something here. I’m so sorry to hear you ladies had such a rough time breast feeding. I think my experience breast feeding was a good one mostly due to not having people around me to distract and cause more stress. I secluded myself (extended family and friends) for the first month or so and it helped that I was discharged from hospital two days after my daughter was delivered (c-section). I also had a lovely midwife during the two days at hospital who patiently showed me how to ensure my baby was latched on and feeding. She told me she’d had three c-s and that breast feeding was difficult to do at first but she said to just keep thinking less about it and it will sort itself out. I actually wrote a letter of recommendation for her before I left the hospital. When I got home, what I had learnt from the workshop plus the lovely midwife’s tips and the isolation really helped. I still got sore nipples and baby cried endlessly at times during the first three weeks but after a month things settled down and got easier. I also drank fennel herbal tea, don’t know if that helped. I don’t know whether there are breast feeding workshops here in Kenya because I attended mine outside of Kenya.

  8. ooh my dear mummy I still insist to inform you that all mummies have enough milk to feed their wonderful new born babies for SIX complete months without supplementary,unless for those dear mummies who are medically unwell. Kindly get it from me that when we are breastfeeding our young one we MUST be psychological set,for the hormones to work well,the moment you have a stress of any kind the issue of not enough milk will be reported,but the real truth is that we have milk only that we might not know what to do to let our milk flow well,that’s why we have NURSES kindly make good use of nurses and NUTRITIONIST you can come across for sure they are willing to assist all the mummies who are having such problems.GET A BABY AND TRY THE THEORY AND FOR SURE YOU WILL PROVE ME RIGHT,IF YOU STILL HAVE DOUBTS ON THIS CONSULT FROM THE NEAREST HEALTH FACILITY AND YOU WILL BE ASSISTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Maryanne,I usually read your blog and especially earlier posts when things are slow at work.I went through hell when i got my first baby.I believe that not all moms can breastfeed.after delivering my son,i lost quite a huge amount of blood.i had to have a blood transfusion.that coupled with hormonal imbalance made milk quite scarce.I ate everything,drank everything,did herbs,did supplements,did meditation to calm myself and still my baby didn’t have enough.My son was also a big baby 4.2kgs and needed alot of milk due to his size.The pressure from relatives and even myself was so intense.i blamed myself,I felt disappointed at myself,i felt like my body had betrayed me.people kept telling me that its all on me and its all psychological.I started drifting into depression.which made things worse.I found out later,that I had POCS and hence undeveloped breast tissue.We shouldn’t pressure women,who simply cant produce enough.a woman can chew off her own finger for the sake of her child and being made to feel like you are a failure doesn’t help matters.Infact my fellow mums were the most judgmental.I eventually gave in and gave formula to my son while giving him the little breast milk available.it was the worst moment of my life.Now with my 2nd child,i now know it wasnt my fault.i just didnt know that there was something wrong with me medically.now i give my daughter both breastmilk and formula and dare someone,raise a judgmental eyebrow at me…we should learn to be sensitive to others,because then,understanding instead of snide comments would have helped more.

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