To the Mama with a Low Milk Supply
You have an incredible gift, you are able to make liquid gold! Breast milk is the coolest thing that our bodies create, well second best to little humans!
I am sharing a little piece of my breastfeeding journey in hopes that you will find strength, unity, and positivity towards your body and the miraculous things that it can do to sustain not only yourself but your little one as well!
I’ve struggled throughout my son’s life by keeping up my supply to meet my baby’s needs. He’s currently 11 months, and I have an incredibly low milk supply. I mean I wake up in the morning after not feeding for 12+ hours and my breasts are flappy lol sorry I couldn’t think of another way to say it.
A Lookback at My Low Milk Supply
Let’s take a walk down memory lane. The first month of his life he was losing weight. Not wanting to supplement I pumped round the clock after feeding him, even waking up twice a night just to pump to get one ounce total from a 15-minute pump.
But when my postpartum depression (PPD) hit, I knew that I needed to put me first. I realized my sleep was essential for my mental health.
I stopped feeding/pumping like crazy, discarded the idea of having a freezer full of breast milk and went along for the ride.
I tried multiple supplements and foods to boost my milk supply with no luck. In fact, some made my supply decrease pretty significantly :(.
Oh and don’t forget about the time where I had antibiotics and literally wasn’t able to extract even a drop of milk after four hours.
So I had to come to terms that I am not a mama with high milk supply. And that was HARD!
I saw Mamas’ post their photos after just a single pumping session and their Medela bottles full of milk. I heard about friends who wake up and can pump 12 ounces after sleeping 8 hours. I wake up now and my breasts are quite empty. There is no firmness to them like after I was pumping/feeding throughout the night.
10 months into breastfeeding I gave up pumping at work for a month because I was so discouraged by the little bit of milk I took home. I was ashamed that I worked for 6 hours and only pumped out 3-4 ounces. It hurt every time I saw that. I felt silly lugging all these items to work and getting barely anything. I would get home and bow my head in shame as I told my husband, “I’m sorry hunny I only got this little bit of milk for baby tomorrow”. But I still kept breastfeeding through it all.
How I Overcame My Thoughts About My Low Milk Supply
But it wasn’t my milk supply that was the issue, it was my perception and corresponding thoughts to it.
I had to examine my thinking and really look deeper into how I was perceiving my low supply and approach it from a different perspective. I was going to slowly give up breastfeeding because I could only produce 3-4 ounces over the course of 6 hours? Really? No! I’m not going to get discouraged. My baby loves his milkie milkies and I will continue to pump and not be ashamed! Plus he refuses to drink formula.
And now I approach that thought of “it isn’t enough, I don’t have enough” with “That’s okay! This is how my body works and you know what, that’s okay!” I’m proud that I can make any milk for my baby. And maybe this is my body aligning to what he needs? He is 11 months and eats really really well! Why fight it and push me when maybe this is what needs to be for right now.
I’m a pretty spiritual person, or so I want to believe ;), and my thought is that my son is perfectly aligned for both myself and his dad and vice versa. How could my breastmilk supply do anything wrong when it’s all about him?
So to you, Mama, struggling with your perceived low milk supply, know that you are not alone. Millions of other mamas out there have experienced this as well. Continue to examine those unhelpful thoughts, change them when necessary, and practice gratitude – gratitude that you are able to give your baby antibodies, vitamins, and excellent nutrition that is totally customized towards their needs!
The CounselingMama Approach
I hope you have found this low milk supply letter insightful! I hope that you will be kind to the wonderful woman that you are!
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Infinite love and light,
Author: J Kontos
Hi! I’m J; a full-time Mama by choice and a part-time academic, personal, and career counselor by profession (and by choice as well). I received my Master’s in Counseling and a Bachelor’s in Human Services. My infant, Kaiden, has gifted me with being his Mama. I love all things wiener dogs, coffee, and hearts. I’m waiving hi to you from sunny San Diego!
Infinite love and light, – J