Breastfeeding comes with its own set of challenges. All of the choices listed are amongst the top reasons women find themselves weaning sooner than anticipated. However, the correct answer is B. A well-known study collected information on a group of more than 1,300 breastfeeding mothers. It tasked mothers to rank 32 reasons why they stopped breastfeeding in order of importance. The data was collected from month 2 through 9, 10 1/2 and 12 months old. “The perception that their infant was not satisfied by breast milk alone was cited consistently as 1 of the top 3 reasons in the mothers' decision to stop breastfeeding regardless of weaning age.”
Notice the study said the “perception.” It is very common for mothers to doubt their ability to make enough milk. I would venture to say the vast majority of women in our culture doubt their milk volume at one point or another. There is more than one reason for this. A newborn’s desire to suck is greater than their hunger. Many parents misread their baby’s constant desire to breastfeed as a sign that the mother is not producing enough milk. Also, the main means a baby has for communication is crying. Many well-meaning adults jump to the conclusion that every time the baby cries they must be hungry. Yet they tend to discount the numerous others reasons the baby may be crying such as being too cold, too hot, gas, being tired. or overstimulation to name a few. Also many new mothers doubt they have enough milk the first few days after birth until their “milk comes in.” But the amount a baby should have in the beginning is very small. And it is also important to note that women feel no breast sensation changes after birth. At that point, the breast do not feel full or heavy. Most women will not see their milk dripping from their breast nor will they hear the baby gulping and swallowing. Many take this as a sign that the milk is not there.
Regardless of the reason a person may feel as though they do not have enough milk, perceived insufficient milk supply breeds actual insufficient milk supply. When woman feel as though they are not making enough they usually supplement with formula, reducing the amount of time the baby breastfeeds. This in turn will lower their milk supply. Then women find themselves using formula and breastfeeding, and noticing their milk supply gradually diminish which leads them to give even more formula supplementation. Ultimately, the baby is only formula fed because the breastmilk is altogether gone.
If a woman says that she did not make enough milk, it’s possible. However, this can usually be avoided with proper milk management in the beginning. With knowledge and patience, the vast majority of women are physically capable of having a full milk supply.
If you have experienced low milk supply and plan on having another baby don’t be discouraged! Seek professional help and surround yourself with support. You might be pleasantly surprised by how differently things go the next time around.