I had undersupply when I was breastfeeding my first child, I just didn't know it. In fact, I had no idea I was essentially starving my baby. Nobody educated me about what was going on and I didn't know how to ask. I took all the baby preparation classes, including "how to breastfeed," and the potential for a lack of breast milk was never mentioned. So to say there were things I wish I'd known about undersupply,before I started breastfeeding would be a gross understatement. If I had this information in my nursing arsenal prior to starting things could have, maybe, been different.
I was exactly as you'd expect a graduate student to be during her first pregnancy. I was prepared. I researched all the things and took all the first-time parenting classes made available to me. As a result, I feel confident that my lack of knowledge about undersupply wasn't due to a laissez-faire approach to having my first baby. In fact, I can't help but wonder if my lack of education about the issue of breast milk undersupply was a non-malicious, unintentional side effect of the exclusively pro-breastfeeding culture in which I live.
Before all the stalwarts on both sides of the issue come out railing against the way I'm portraying breastfeeding or formula-feeding, please just stop and take a look at what I'm actually saying. I don't believe formula is best any more than breast is best. My point is, we need to trust mothers with the accurate information about all feeding options and barriers. Even, and perhaps especially, the possibility of undersupply. Without the information, mothers are left to spiral into the shame, self-blame, and isolation of thinking we are the only mothers ever to fail their children in this way. It's not that I just wish I knew these things about undersupply, it's that I believe we should all know these things about undersupply: