What is “normal” in breastfeeding?

Posted on 11 February 2012 by hulda

Hulda Midwife at AnnerleyDear all,

I have spent this week with women battling their breastfeeding challenges.  Mostly good news, but many interesting topics came up and a lot of women asked; what is “normal” in breastfeeding?

This topic reminds me a little bit of when woman are pregnant and they keep coming into Annerley after their checkups, half with concerns that their baby is suddenly too small and the other half with babies that in the last scan seemed to be alarmingly big.  Now this is another story for another blog, but in terms of the breastfeeding mums, pretty much half of them feel that they don’t have enough milk, and the other half is producing so much that they don’t know what to do to slow it down.

I am not writing a lengthy blog about this today, but I just wanted to raise a few points.

  1. First of all, not all babies grow the same.  There is no particular advantage of being  “average” or above the 50th percentile.  Even if your baby is bigger or smaller, as long as it grows, this is fine.
  2. Second, the breast milk production changes over time, over days and between the hours of the day.  It is also greatly affected by your sleep, food and drink intake, stress levels, outings, guests, travels, illness etc.  So there will be swings.  And similarly, baby’s need for milk changes through the day, between days and as it grows.

The great thing is that the two usually sync beautifully, if you just stay calm and let things happen.  After a few weeks of breastfeeding, there is harmony in this for most women but in the meantime, it is sometimes hard to stay patient, or even to believe that the day will come when everything is in balance.  But it makes no sense that there would not be enough milk for some babies, if everything is done “correctly” (why I put this this way is because correct can be many different ways).

Also, hard core breastfeeding support is sometimes a bit too hardcore.  Those that work in this field are always very optimistic and telling women to be patient, everyone can breastfeed etc.  But sometimes we fail to acknowledge that there are women out there that for one reason or another who will always have a harder time breastfeeding than others.  They can still breastfeed, but it must be admitted and they must not be made to feel bad when it is obvious that they do in fact only have just about the amount that the baby needs, or if they are the ones that always have a massive overflow of milk.

I will continue with this later.  But if you are a mother that produces more milk than makes you feel comfortable, or less milk than it seems that the baby wants,  be comforted by the fact that you are first of all not alone, this happens to many women but also, with time things always settle and you will find a pattern to feed your baby that suits both of you best.

As for my involvement, I must just say that I admire all of you ladies out there, you really make me feel proud of the strength that I see within you all.

Feel free to share your experiences and breastfeeding stories here or on our Facebook page, we love to hear from you.

Hulda

Too book consultation with our consultants (midwives and/or lactation consultants), click here or email us to info@annerley.com.hk

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. How To Get Pregnant Says:

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My website is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would certainly benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Thank you!

  2. hulda Says:

    Yes no problem, thank for your interest.

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