By Rose Muthoni
Breast milk is important for infants and is touted as the best food for babies because of its myriad benefits, key among them boosting of the immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria.
But many nursing women are unable to produce enough breast milk for their babies. Several factors are to blame, including hormonal imbalances, medication and poor nutrition.
Here is the list of nine factors that lead to low breast milk:
1. Insufficient glandular tissue
Poor development of mammary tissue that impairs milk production.
2. Hormonal or endocrine problems
Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), low or high thyroid, diabetes, hypertension.
Physical, emotional, and psychological stress can reduce supply of breastmilk.
If a nursing mother becomes pregnant while still breastfeeding, the hormones of a new pregnancy are known to decrease milk supply.
Some prescription drugs and over-thecounter medications can interfere with the let-down reflex and breastmilk production.
6. Birth control pills
Several forms of birth control contain oestrogen, a hormone that can cause a decline in milk production.
Postpartum fatigue and lack of energy can interfere with breastfeeding.
Alcohol consumption and smoking can affect milk production.
9. Baby feeding problems
Baby feeding problems including having a tongue-tie, a membrane at the bottom of the mouth that limits them from extracting milk; cleft lip or palate.
Solutions to low breast milk production
- Ensure that your baby is latching on to your breast correctly.
- The more you breastfeed, the more you’re telling your body that your child needs more breastmilk.
- Gently squeeze the breast while breastfeeding to put pressure on the milk glands causing them to release more milk and increase milk flow.
- Improving diet, getting enough rest, controlling stress and increasing fluid intake increase milk production.
- Use a breast pump