You’re flooded with suggestions the day you conceive and it continues throughout your pregnancy and even after the baby is born. While some may be indeed beneficial for you and your baby, some advice just puts you off. A much-debated topic is breast size and how it affects your milk production.
While most people say that your milk supply is directly proportional to your breast size, how much milk your body will produce depends on a lot of factors and your cup size is definitely not one of them.
“Mammary tissue and milk ducts determine the storage capacity and amount of milk a mom makes. What can be of concern, however, is tubular breasts or breasts that do not grow at all during pregnancy,” says Leigh Anne O’ Connor, lactation consultant and past President of the New York Lactation Consultant Association.
When you are pregnant, the milk glands and ducts in your breasts go through a lot of changes, especially due to the change in the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and your breasts nearly double in their pre-pregnancy weight. The size of your breast depends on how much fatty tissue you have. However, as it is also related to how much milk your breast will be able to store, you can always pump/feed more often in case you have smaller breasts.
“Milk production is a supply and demand system. The more sucking and the more frequently that happens, the more milk is produced. It catches up in about 24 hours. I’ve seen many small-breasted women who’ve had an excellent milk supply,” says Monique Prince, parenting coach and lactation consultant.
What Factors Can Affect Breast Milk Production?
It’s always advisable to consult a doctor in case you feel that your milk supply is not enough for your baby, as there are certain factors that can hamper your milk production. They are:
- Lack of sleep
- An infection or illness
- Birth control pills
Tips To Increase Your Milk Supply
“If a baby nurses well, then frequent nursing will naturally build your supply. If the baby does not nurse well, or if the baby and mom are separated, then pumping milk will make more milk. Milk removal is the number one way to build milk supply,” states Leigh. Here’s what you can do.
- Nurse Frequently: “Simply give the baby full access to your breasts 24 hours a day and ditch the pacifier/binky,” says Monique. Let your baby feed at least eight times in a span of 24 hours or more if you can. Nurse whenever your baby demands, even if you’ve just fed the baby. Your baby’s demand for milk will trigger production.
- Switch Between Both Breasts At Each Feeding: Offer both your breasts to your little one each time you feed. Keep checking your baby for signs of slowing down and once your baby starts sucking less, offer the other breast. Emptying each breast at each feeding session will ensure more production.
- Gently Massage Breasts While Nursing: Massaging your breasts gently can encourage your milk supply to flow more smoothly. Your baby may start falling asleep if milk production gets slow, so keep stimulating gently to ensure your baby feeds as much as needed.
“If these things do not work, there are various herbal remedies such as malunggay and shatavari that can boost your milk supply. Discuss it with your lactation consultant,” adds Leigh.
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