Being a new mother is an overwhelming experience for many women, especially when they give breast milk for the first time to their babies. However, not all breastfeeding mothers have enough supply of breast milk. There are mothers who cannot properly breastfeed their babies because the milk production is decreasing. Knowing the reasons is the first step to solve the problem, so the new mothers can breastfeed their babies properly.
Top Reasons Why Breast Milk Production Halts
There are several reasons why your breast milk production decreases; some are obvious, while others are perhaps easy to overlook. Here are top reasons why breast milk production halts:
- Bad health condition. Some mothers may have their conditions decreased after giving birth, resulting in halted breast milk supply. Conditions such as anemia and thyroid problem can greatly affect the milk supply.
- Exhaustion. This is also very common in new mothers who just give birth. Laboring is very tasking and can decrease breast milk supply due to exhaustion.
- Smoking. Women who smoke tend to get their breast milk production reduced, because smoking disturbs the production of oxytocin. This is a hormone that makes breast milk flows easily when the baby wants to drink.
- Alcohol. Women who consume alcohol regularly risk reduced breast milk flow. Also, the alcohol that gets absorbed by the breast milk will change the milk taste and can make the baby refuses to drink.
- Stress. This is a common problem that can decrease breast milk supply, with various possible causes. Stress can come from anxiety, post-partum depression, or even high mental pressure because the mother feels she is “not perfect” if she cannot breastfeed properly.
- Improper diet. Nutrition and water are important to produce enough breast milk supply, but many mothers do not consume enough nutritious foods to get their breast milk flow, either because they cannot get the food or not know what foods to eat.
- Birth control pills with estrogen. Some women want to prevent pregnancy after giving birth by taking pills. However, pills that contain estrogen can reduce breast milk supply.
- Medications. Several medications and drugs are known to halt breast milk production, such as diuretics, decongestant, and antihistamines.
After knowing the possible cause of your halted breast milk production, you can start doing prevention steps to let the milk flows.
How to Make Breast Milk Flow
Here are things you can do to support breast milk flow:
- Ask assistance or help from the closest people after giving birth, such as spouse, family members, or best friends. If you can, save money to pay for cleaning assistance to take care of your house for several weeks so you can take some rest.
- Prepare list of foods you should eat during pregnancy and after giving birth. Best foods to eat by breastfeeding mothers are green vegetables, lean protein, whole grained foods, and colorful fruits.
- Discuss with your doctor about consuming specific medications if you have health problems, and ask for alternatives that will not halt your breast milk production.
- If you want to consume birth control pills, take the ones that contain progesterone, not estrogen.
With the right lifestyle changes, you can return the breast milk production level and get fulfilling breastfeeding experience.