A low milk supply is every breastfeeding mom's nightmare, no matter how well breastfeeding is going. I've been there — you're convinced that your low milk supply, it's because of something you're doing wrong, like scheduled feedings or not pumping enough. But there are a few reasons you have a low milk supply that have nothing to do with you and, just like any other breastfeeding issue, they most likely can be fixed.
In fact, low milk supply isn't necessarily a common problem for breastfeeding moms. According to Kelly Mom, many nursing mothers often think their milk supply is low when it's really not. Just because your baby seems hungry all the time or your pumping output isn't as high as you'd like it to be doesn't mean you're having a supply problem. As long as your baby is gaining weight well and having enough dirty and wet diapers, your milk supply is probably fine.
But if you are battling a low milk supply, don't immediately put the blame on yourself. It could be that baby of yours causing all the problems. (Kidding.) There are five reasons that you could potentially have a low milk supply and they have nothing to do with you. If you're truly battling this issue, reach out to a lactation consultant to determine what the problem is and how you can fix it.
1Your Baby Has A Poor Latch
A poor latch can cause more than just cracked, sore nipples. (As if that wasn't enough of an issue, right?) If your baby doesn't have a proper deep latch, it could be the cause of your low milk supply. According to What to Expect, with a poor latch, your baby doesn't get all of the milk they need which causes your breasts to not produce the milk they should to accommodate a hungry baby. Even if your baby's latch looks right, it could still have some issues, so reach out to an IBCLC to figure out how to help your little one.
2Your Baby Prefers A Bottle
If you had to supplement at some point, I totally get it. But breaking your baby of the bottle habit can cause some issues with breastfeeding and your milk supply. According to Kelly Mom, your baby might prefer the fast flow of a bottle and become lazy at the breast or not remove as much milk as needed because they don't like "working" for it while nursing. Again, this is another issue that can be worked out with a lactation consultant so you can be sure your baby is removing enough milk when at the breast.
3Your Baby Has A Tongue Or Lip Tie
A tongue or lip tie can be fixed by a doctor, but if you aren't aware your baby has one, it can be easy to miss. But according to La Leche League International, a tongue or lip tie can make it difficult for your baby to remove milk, causing your supply to be low and your breasts don't produce as much milk as they should. It can also cause them to have fewer dirty diapers than normal and to not gain weight as well as they should.
4Your Baby Was Premature
An early baby isn't easy, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Medela noted that for many moms of premature babies, stress, fatigue, and trying to catch up to your baby's early arrival can cause you to deal with low milk supply. Also, if your baby was very small, they might have had a hard time latching on, causing your supply to take another hit.
5Your Baby Sleeps Through Feedings
I know, your baby is sleeping long stretches of time and it's great, right? Well, it might not be perfect for your milk supply. Kelly Mom noted that a sleepy baby should be woken up to nurse every two hours during the day and every four hours at night in order to maintain your milk supply. The longer you go without expressing any milk, the less milk your body produces because it doesn't think you have a hungry baby.