Many mothers have come to believe that they can exercise active control over their own milk supply. This may be true, but not in the way that they have been led to believe. The mind-body connection is often overlooked in the equation.
Human breasts are mysterious vessels. They deliver milk in concentrated amounts which are unknown to a mother if she is exclusively breastfeeding. Once the breasts have become synchronized with the baby, they do not always announce their cargo in a dramatic fashion. When this happens she may feel that she is running out of milk and begins to actively work on increasing her supply.
This notation of producing a breastmilk supply typically imposes that much effort will be required by a mother. She will struggle to "produce" measurable amounts of milk using an electric breast pump. As a consequence, she will become quite stressed when she experiences the natural shifts in the fullness of her breasts and the variations in output she gets when expressing her milk. A 'Doubting Thomas', or only seeing is believing, attitude begins to govern her breastfeeding experience.
The current climate of breastfeeding support and management has reinforced this dependence upon pumps. There is a promising belief that the pump is a necessary adjunct to creating a big milk supply. Unfortunately what can be pumped does not correlate exactly with how much milk is actually available for the breastfeeding baby.
The focus should always be facilitating flow rather than on production. A well nourished mother will make more than enough milk. However, she must use her breasts wisely to ensure that this supply is truly accessible. A properly positioned baby has an open line to as much milk as it needs. If the connection or "latch" is not optimized she might leave much of that milk behind in her breasts when directly breastfeeding.
The truth is that a mother will have the most impact upon her milk supply only if she puts her attention on optimizing both her nutrition and latch-on technique; she needs to foster a state of mind where she trusts her body to provide ample nourishment for her baby.
You are invited to download an inspiring guided visualization for abundant milk flow from The Breastfeeding Salon Show Join us live for a weekly program that focuses on empowering the mind, body and spirit of the modern breastfeeding mother.