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A baby’s nutrition requirements for his healthy growth and development are met by exclusively feeding breastmilk till six months of age; breastmilk also provides enough nutritional benefits even after your baby starts eating other food items. Therefore, breast milk is important for your baby’s overall growth and well-being. However, sometimes you may notice a change in your breast milk supply, and this may happen due to various reasons. If you wish to know about things that can decrease your breast milk supply, then you should read the following article.
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What Can Affect Your Breast Milk Supply?
It is important to breastfeed your baby on demand and let the baby decide the nursing duration and frequency. Topping up with formula milk breaks the demand for breastmilk, in turn, impacting the supply to go low. This is known as the Formula Top-up trap.
In addition to this, there are many things that may interfere with your milk supply, and it becomes of extreme importance for you to know about all these factors in detail. If you are wondering what decreases breast milk supply, here is your answer:
Health Issues That Affect Milk Production
If you are healthy, all your body parts function properly; however, if you are unhealthy, you may notice certain changes in your bodily functions. The same rule applies to milk supply as well, which means if you are not physically healthy it may affect your breast milk supply. Here are some health reasons that may affect your milk supply.
1. Another Pregnancy
If you become pregnant again, then your breast milk supply may reduce. This may happen because your body prepares for your upcoming pregnancy and labour and the hormonal changes happening in the body may hamper the milk supply. If your baby is 24 weeks or younger, you can start formula milk, but if your baby is older, you can start off with formula milk and solid foods.
2. Not Paying Heed to Your Health
As a new mommy, your own health and well-being may take a backseat and all you will be concerned about will be your baby. However, when you ignore your health or certain health conditions, it may lead to decreased milk supply. If you figure out that your health condition may be the cause of your decreased milk supply, you should seek medical help for the same.
3. Inadequate Rest
Our body requires an ample amount of rest and sleep, and with a dearth of both these basic requirements, it may not function properly. You may find it tedious to cope up with your baby’s demands and requirements in the first few months after your baby is born and this may make you tired and exhausted. Postpartum fatigue and exhaustion are some of the most common reasons for decreased milk supply in newbie moms.
Diet and Foods
Certain food items may also hamper your milk production. Here are some of the food and diet factors that may affect your breast milk supply:
1. Inadequate Water Intake
If you are not drinking enough water, it may affect your milk supply. Low water intake may not only affect the milk supply, but it may cause dehydration also, which may cause complications to a feeding mother.
2. An Unhealthy Diet
A pregnant woman requires a nutritional and well-balanced diet, and the requirements remain the same after the baby’s birth. A breastfeeding mother requires a diet rich in protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fibre. She is not only taking care of her body but also providing nutrition to her baby. Eating a well–balanced diet and drinking ample amounts of water does wonder to the milk supply of a breastfeeding mother.
3. Excessive Usage of Certain Herbs and Spices
Moderation is not bad and may not cause any kind of problem, it is only when we use things in excess, the problem arises. The same goes for the usage of herbs and spices; it is fine till you use them in moderation in your food, but when you start using them in more amounts it may cause a problem in your milk supply. Some of the herbs and spices that may disrupt your milk supply are parsley, peppermint, oregano etc. On the other hand, using ginger, fennel, alfalfa or garlic may help in increasing your milk supply.
There are many medicines that can be safely taken when you are pregnant and even when you are breastfeeding. However, there are some medicines that may adversely affect your milk supply. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your doctor that you are a nursing mother before he prescribes you any medication for your medical condition. Here are some medications that may affect your milk supply.
1. Contraceptive Pills
If you are taking birth control pills then it may cause your milk supply to plummet. This is because birth control pills have estrogen in them, a hormone that may cause a reduction in your breast milk supply. You should talk to your doctor if your contraceptive pills are affecting your milk supply. Your doctor might suggest other methods of contraception such as condoms, diaphragms etc., which will not hamper your milk production.
2. Some Other Medications
There are some medicines that may cause a decline in your milk supply. Therefore, it is very important that you speak to your doctor about your concerns before taking any prescription. Also, do not take over-the-counter medicines to treat common ailments as these may affect your milk supply too.
3. Labour and Delivery Medication
Many times certain medicines used during labour and delivery may affect your milk supply. However, these are normal side-effects of certain painkillers or anaesthesia that may have been given to you during labour and delivery, and these would subside after a day or two.
A nursing mother has to make the right lifestyle choices, which does not mean that she will have to give up or forsake everything she likes. However, she may have to make certain amends in the habits that may cause ill effects to her baby. Here are some of the lifestyle choices that cause less breast milk production.
1. Consuming Alcohol
Alcohol may not only affect your breast milk supply, but it may also get into your breast milk and change the taste. It may also enter your baby’s bloodstream and may cause fatal complications. Though alcohol should be strictly prohibited during breastfeeding, however, an occasional drink or two will not harm your milk supply.
Smoking is equally dangerous for your milk supply. If you like smoking, it will be a good idea to give it up during pregnancy and also when breastfeeding your baby. Smoking interferes with the hormone oxytocin, which is responsible for the let-down reflex. These changes may affect your milk supply also.
You can enjoy your tea, coffee, aerated drinks, or chocolate in moderation but consuming any of these in excess may cause a reduction in your milk supply. All these food items contain caffeine in them, and excess amounts of caffeine in your body can cause dehydration and thus disrupted milk supply. Also, if you consume excessive amounts of caffeine, it may enter your baby’s bloodstream. This may make your baby irritable or even hamper your baby’s sleep and thus make him restless.
If you notice your breast milk supply decreasing due to any of the above-mentioned factors, it is important that you make some changes yourself. However, if you are not able to manage your problem, you should seek a doctor’s advice. If you are still unable to meet your baby’s requirements, your doctor may advise you to start giving formula milk to your baby, or if your baby is older than six months, you may be recommended to start giving solid food to your baby.
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