Breastfeeding your baby is a great way to connect with your little one. However, your baby may not be getting enough of their nutritional needs met with breast milk.
Why is breast milk sometimes not enough for your baby? There are many reasons why it may not be sufficient for your baby’s needs, and this article is designed to help you spot the signs that your baby needs more nutrients.
Keep reading to learn why your breast milk supply may be low, identify when it’s happening, and how to rectify this situation.
Why Breast Milk May Not Be Enough For Your Baby
Let’s dive in and discuss some of the considerations you must make to determine if breast milk is sufficient for your little angel.
Causes Of Low Breast Milk Supply
A variety of factors can cause a low breast milk supply. Understanding these factors can help you rectify the issue or try a different solution for feeding your baby.
If you started using dummies and bottle feeding your baby before they were proficient in latching on to your breast, this might cause them to struggle to latch on in the future. Some signs to look for that indicate your baby is breastfeeding correctly and is well attached include:
- Your baby’s mouth is vast, and there is a large portion of your breast in their mouth.
- Your baby’s chin is touching your breast.
- You aren’t feeling any pain in your breast.
- You can see more of your areola above the baby’s top lip than their bottom lip.
If your baby is showing these signs when feeding, likely, you won’t have to worry about their attachment.
Your Milk Production
To feed your baby and provide them with the nutrients they need via breastfeeding, ensure your milk production isn’t inhibited. To keep yourself nourished and boost breast milk production, there are many lactation recipes you can try! Some factors that can affect your milk production include:
- You are a smoker – smoking can affect both the amount of milk you produce and the quality of your milk.
- You drink alcohol – when you drink alcohol, you can transfer the alcohol to your breast milk. This is why it’s important to dump the milk you produce after drinking.
- You aren’t eating enough – if you aren’t getting your nutrients, your milk is likely to lack the nutrients your baby needs. So, ensure you are eating a healthy diet and using vitamin and mineral supplements.
Some medical factors can have consequences on your breast milk. Some of these medical factors include:
- Stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Breast surgery.
- Illness in you or your baby.
- If your baby is tongue-tied they may struggle to attach.
- Medication – dopamine, ergotamine, pyridoxine.
Signs Your Baby Is Well-Fed
Now that we have discussed some of the reasons your breast milk supply may be limited, it’s time to discuss how to spot if your baby is well-fed and is getting all the necessary nutrients.
Here are some of the signs your baby is well-fed:
- They are content and calm during feedings.
- Your baby detaches from the breast on its own after feeding.
- Your baby’s mouth is moist after feeding.
- Your baby’s cheeks are rounded and not hollow during feeding.
- Your breast feels softer after a feed.
- You can hear your baby swallowing during feeding.
These are some promising signs that your baby is getting the quantity of milk they need. However, there are some signs to look for that indicate your baby isn’t getting the quality of milk they need:
- They aren’t growing after the first 2 weeks.
- They seem tired and lethargic.
- They aren’t wetting around 6 nappies every 24 hours after the first 2 weeks. (For more information on what to look for in your baby’s poop, check out our poop guide).
Breast Milk Alternatives
If your baby isn’t getting enough nutrients or milk from breastfeeding, and you can’t seem to rectify the issue, then there is another option – formula.
Your baby may have a better time using a bottle to feed, and your baby is guaranteed to get all the nutrients it needs from a formula. If your baby is over 12 months old, you can use toddler whole milk formula with nutrient-rich fats, proteins, and carbohydrates easy to digest.
There’s no shame in opting for a formula to ensure your child receives all the nutrients they need, so don’t let the pressure from ‘breast is best’ campaigns give you mom guilt.
While breastfeeding may bring you joy and allow you to connect with your little bundle of joy, sometimes it just doesn’t cut it.
Some issues that inhibit milk production and attachment can be rectified, while others can’t. So, it’s essential to know that there are alternatives to breast milk that ensure your baby is happy and healthy, supplied with all the nutrients they need.