A sweet mother called this week, worried because her milk supply is too low. Her baby cries and is no longer satisfied. We talked a while and she said she has been breastfeeding according to the information in the book ‘Babywise’. Her baby was 4 to 5 months old, sleeps 9 to 11 hours at night and she breastfeeds 5 times during the day and he recently dropped another feeding. I encouraged her to breastfeed more often and she texted me that in less than 24 hours she could tell the difference and that she had more milk. This is the email with resources I sent her.
I’m so glad you are seeing a response with an increase in your milk supply already. It will work, and you will see your milk grow and grow until it is abundant again. I want you to come home, grab a plate of food, put your feet up, nurse the baby and read all this stuff I’m sending you on your computer, watch TV and snuggle up to your husband. You can do a lot of “couple time” while the baby is in your lap, which Gary Ezzo doesn’t understand.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned, Babywise is a very bad book for breastfeeding. Many of the facts he states are wrong about physiology. You will notice there are NO references the book and we cannot find Dr. Bucknam, his “co-author”. Evidently he found an MD who agreed for his name to be used on the book so Gary Ezzo’s information would sound credible scientifically. Since his first edition has been published, my organization has wanted him to speak at our conferences, but Gary Ezzo refuses to reveal his whereabouts and says he is “too busy” to talk to us!
As I said, I hear from many mothers like you, who are working to do the very best for their babies, following Babywise and running out of milk. Please check out this website, written by many, including a lot of professionals who have been very concerned about this and are tired of seeing the problems associated with Gary Ezzo’s information. The American Academy of Pediatrics actually sent out a letter warning pediatricians about problems to watch for in the babies they see, of parents that are using Ezzo as their primary source of baby feeding info. There have been cases of dehydration and failure to thrive, but mostly low milk supply and the babies end up on formula.
You are a nurse, know a lot about anatomy and physiology and obviously love your baby. I want to give you some resources with good, reliable, accurate information about breastfeeding so you can keep on breastfeeding your baby and have a wonderful time doing it. I nursed all 3 of my babies (now grown adults), loved every minute of it, and I have 5 grandchildren –so far—including twins. My wonderful daughter in law nursed the twins over 2 years and believe me, they nursed much more than 5 times a day until they were over a year old, and grew like little pigs!
This is my website: www.babiesbeststart.com
Be sure to go to the top menu . . . . .Resources . . . then links and videos and look at the breastfeeding links page. Also get the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding! It is wonderful and what most mothers call their Bible of Breastfeeding. The other book you would like is Working Without Weaning. You can nurse your baby one year or longer and work part-time to over-time, but you have to learn the skills, and one of them is nursing like crazy when you are home. Women need different amounts of breast stimulation to make enough milk. We are not all the same, hormonally, and your physical health and energies makes a difference too. If you are very tired, or sick, you can see a dip in your milk supply and need to nurse more to get it back up.
http://www.llli.org is a wonderful resource and the website for La Leche League (LLL) which is the most knowledgeable organization on breastfeeding. We actually have a chapter in Lynchburg which you and your baby visit! Over 30 years ago when I was struggling to nurse my first baby, a big baby boy, it was going to a few of these meetings that saved me. And I was already a nurse and had worked in 3 hospitals! Our nursing education does not give us enough information on breastfeeding. They meet in Lynchburg on the Third Thursday of the month at 10 AM at First Christian Church, on Rivermont Ave, just a block from Virginia Baptist Hospital. Maybe you could go October 18, November 15, or December 20. Everybody brings their babies and it is like a “buffet”. Mothers do lots of things differently. You listen to everyone talk and take the tips that help you and leave the rest. Gary Ezzo hates LLL because they usually recommend so many other ideas he does not support, such as nursing more and not holding babies to rigid schedules like he does. I remember learning how to nurse lying down, what to do when they get teeth, tips for all kinds of situations from people who give you advice to where to nurse at the mall or have dates with your husband when you are breastfeeding. You will LOVE it! Try to go a few times. Everybody brings their babies and sit in a big circle and nurse their baby while they talk. The Leader is a trained breastfeeding counselor.
Some other resources you will like:
http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/ This is the United States Breastfeeding Committee and this is the link for Breastfeeding Questions and Answers http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/MothersFamilies/Action1SupportMothers/BreastfeedingFAQs/tabid/117/Default.aspx
Kellymom is a fantastic resource—be sure and search these sites for ‘low milk supply’ or ‘increasing your milk supply’
http://kellymom.com/ here is the page on older babies and there is a link for increasing milk supply: http://kellymom.com/category/ages/older-infant/
This is my professional organization: The International Lactation Consultant Association
And my certifying organization: The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners
The primary reason for low milk supply in a healthy mother/baby pair is not enough breast stimulation and drainage. The more stimulation and drainage, the more milk is made. We call it the “Golden Rule for Breastfeeding”, supply and demand. The breasts HATE to be empty. The more you drain them the faster they work. The less you drain them the slower they work. It is natural as baby grows, begins solid foods somewhere from 6 to 8 months (none of my grandchildren were ready for solids until about 8 months) that baby nurses less, little by little and your breasts respond by sloooowly decreasing the milk supply. This is weaning. Unfortunately that was what was happening to you now! The milk supply can also increase again if the baby needs for it to. This happened to me when my first baby was 14 months old and got roseola and was hospitalized! He quit eating all his solids and went from nurse about 4 or 5 times a day to 20 times a day—as I lay with him in the hospital – and my milk supply went up dramatically in a couple of days, he got well and went back to nursing less, and I was engorged for a few days until we adjusted again. It was amazing. It is NOT normal for a baby under 6 months to nurse under 8 times a day, or decrease nursing. The cause is usually the parent ‘scheduling’, not seeing the signs baby needs to nurse more, over use of the pacifier, or baby is sucking his fingers all day long, which means he really needs to be at the breast. We talked about these things and I know you ‘get it’. YEAH!!! He is still a little ‘growing machine’ and is an exclusive ‘milk feeder’ not ready for solids. Our society has been primarily bottle feeding artificial milk to our babies the past 80 to 100 years, starting solid foods way too early, and has forgotten how to breastfeed.
Please keep in touch. I am here to talk to you more.
Jane Bradshaw RN, BSN, IBCLC, RLC