Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Supply Tip: Skin to Skin Contact

Disclaimer regarding supply: True low milk supply is rare. Percieved low milk supply, however, is one of the leading reasons women cite for giving up breastfeeding.

Genuine low milk supply is often the result of a medical condition: hypoplastic tubular breasts, sometimes in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, sometimes in women who have had breast surgery, and sometimes in women with tyroid disorders. If you don't fall into one of these categories, it is worth considering whether your milk supply issues might be either perceived, or real but fixable!

In this series on milk supply, I'm going to offer tips for moms whose supply issues are in the "real but fixable" category.


Remember when you were in the hospital with your newborn and (hopefully!) nurses, lactation consultants and doctors encouraged you to nurse your baby "skin to skin"? In the newborn stage, that skin to skin contact helped start up your milk making factory (and to keep your baby warm and toasty!).

Later in lactation (Say: When you've gone back to work and you're stressed about your pumping output so you Google "Milk Supply Tips" (Oh! Hey there!)), good old skin to skin contact can still give you a supply boost. Touching your baby causes the release of all sorts of lovey, mothering hormones that help crank up your milk supply.

Whipping off your top and stripping your baby down to a diaper isn't always feasible, but most moms can incorporate at least one skin to skin nursing into their day. You might be able to nurse skin to skin as part of your bedtime routine, maybe before baby's bath when baby is undressed and you're changing from your work clothes into your pajamas. Aside from being a convenient time, Evenings can be an advantageous time to try this tactic because Prolactin levels shift throughout the day and tend to be lowest in the evening, thus any supply booster is especially welcome at nighttime.

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