The CDC found that only 74 percent of women attempt breastfeeding, and only 33 percent of those women were still exclusively breastfeeding at three months and only 14 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at six months.”
Why is that? Any brestfeeding mom can tell you that breastfeeding can be a challenge. It requires you to be a milk factory 24 hours a day. It can hurt, it can exhaust you, but through breastfeeding you’re providing your child with unparalleled nutrition. Through that nutrition you are creating a bond, and if you are like me, that bond makes the cracked nipples and veiny boobs worth it. Or does it?
Considering only 13% of moms make it to the 6 month mark means that there is a missing puzzle piece.
Are they not experiencing the bond with their child?
Are they simply sick of breastfeeding?
Do they need some relief and a bit of help from their significant other?
Is there a lack of support?
I’m always curious to find out the reason behind a mom giving up breastfeeding and have unfortunately heard all of the above and more.
What I hear most frequently is that there is a lack of support from their friends, family and society. I can even attest to this.
My mother didn’t breastfeed me, but reminds me frequently that I should “quit soon.” Even before Atticus was 3 months she would mention it.
Then I was hospitalized. I refused to nurse Atticus while on Morphine, Adivan, Vivodin, etc. I opted to pump and dump, but despite my efforts, my supply diminished. By the time I got out of the hospital, I was barely getting a quarter of an ounce during a 30 minute pump session.
My freezer supply diminished and my baby was hungry. Friends and even my own husband suggested I use formula, but the thought of that broke my heart. We made it 5 months without supplementing and I didn’t want to start now. But what was I supposed to do? My baby was hungry and I wasn’t producing.
My midwife suggested I take Domperidone and through her support and that of a few friends I was able to regain my supply. That sentence was easier to write than to say. To fully regain my supply has been a month long journey that wasn’t easy.
What you will need.
1. Support. You need it from yourself, your significant other and hopefully from family and friends. A bountiful milk supply is not easy to accomplish when you are barely getting drops.
2. Oatmeal. Every morning. Something about oatmeal helps with your supply and we are not arguing.
3. Mothers milk tea. Drink it hot, cold or warm, but drink it often.
4. Cluster feeds/nipple stimulation. In order for your breasts to make milk they need to be asked for it. Keep your baby close and feed as often as humanly possible. Let him use you as a pacifier. He needs your milk and your milk needs him.
5. Fenugreek. 3 capsules 3 times a day or whatever your doctor/midwife recommends. It may make your babies pee smell like maple syrup, but this all natural herb really works.
6. Drink more water. As soon as you wake up, with every meal, between every meal and more! Drink it. You can’t drink enough and your milk supply will thank you.
7. Blessed Thistle. Natural and organic this herb is known for kicking your supply into full gear.
8. Be near your baby often. Your body does magical things and when your baby isn’t near you, your supply will drop. Cuddle and have skin to skin, no matter what the babies age.
9. Beer. Not something I have personally tried but some moms swear by a pint of Guinness.
10. Finally, if all else fails or you need a further boost ask your midwife for a prescription for Domperidone. It is a pricey drug at $100 for a month supply. This wonder drug was created to help those with stomach issues, but its side effect is a boost in lactation. Unlike Reglan, it doesn’t come with severe side effects. If your doctor suggests Reglan, gently try to steer hum towards Domperidone.
If I could encourage one mother to breastfeed longer or to help her in any way, I would. If you or a friend is struggling with their supply, I would love to help them. Leave a comment below and I can give you tips or at the very least support.
*Please remember we are not medical professionals. Please consult your midwife or doctor prior to taking our advise. We will not be held liable for any illness or problem created by the above personal recommendation.