A friend wrote me, excited about the prospect of trying to concieve, and doubly excited about milk sharing programs since so many of her family members had struggled with supply. After I responded, I thought, you know, maybe there are some other women out there who could benefit from my opinion on the subject, so here ya go.
Now here is what you need to know about underproduction.
1. Just because people to whom you are related have had this problem, there is no surety that you will also.
2. It can take time to get your supply to come in and tough it feels like baby isn't getting anything in the beginning, their stomachs are so tiny, they are likely getting enough.
3. Most women have wretched advice coming from people who aren't IBCLCs or who don't have much experience with breastfeeding outside their own personal breastfeeding history.
4. There are certain foods, and if necessary,certain prescriptions which can help wit low supply.
5. Any amount of breastfeeding, even with formula supplementation, is better for baby than none, so even with under-supply, give oneself a hand.
6. Before the baby is born(once you're pregtastic) find your local LLL group and start to make connections so that if/when you need support, it's there.
7. Breastsize has nothing to do with mammary capacity and output,as chics with huge tatas generally have a lot of adipose tissue in their breasts, not extra milk-making tissue.
8. This point intentionally left blank.
9. There are nursing techniques which help build a better supply.
10. If you go the hospital birth route, and you select a "baby friendly" institution, they will have an IBCLC with whom you can meet even before the baby is born so you can discuss concerns and strategies. If you go the midwife route, they can refer you to an IBCLC, as can your local LLL leadership.
Formula supplementation isn't failure, it is sometimes necessary, and we are trained to expect to do it, but with support, work (because don't let anyone tell you it isn't work, it's work) and a little biological agreement, you can likely breastfeed your offspring.