Re: Any benefits to just a few ounces of breastmilk?
Welcome to the forum!
I'm sorry you had such a rough start with breastfeeding. What a bummer about the VBAC turning into a c-section. It's awesome that you made the VBAC attempt, though- and even though it didn't work out, I am convinced that it's beneficial to allow your body and your baby to go through labor instead of springing right for the c-section.
So, is there any benefit to just a few oz of breastmilk per day? ABSOLUTELY. The chemical compounds in breastmilk are valuable in any amount. For example, "sugars in human breast milk... appeal to certain strains of bacteria, called bifidobacteria, that can colonize the gut and appear to be important for the health of infants. Well-established colonies of bifidobacteria can prevent pathogens such as harmful strains of Escherichia coli from getting a foothold" (Unraveling Breast Milk, Chemical and Engineering News 2008). Also, breastmilk is an infant's "only significant source" of Secretory Immunoglobulin A (SIgA) antibodies, which not only bind up nasty antigens and keep them from penetrating the gut lining, but also "help the gut to develop by enhancing the barrier function of the epithelial lining. The gut mucosa of most infants matures during the first months of life. But in some children, the mucosal barrier remains inadequate for several years, and incomplete secretory immunity can contribute to the delay" (Why We Develop Food Allergies, American Scientist 2007).
Can you increase your milk supply this late in the game? Yes, but it will require work, probably pretty intense work, on your part. Here are some ways in which you can increase milk supply:
- Nurse as frequently as possible. Babies tend to be really good at stimulating their moms' milk supplies!
- If you're not co-sleeping, you may want to start. Many babies turn into all-night nursers (and milk supply stimulators) when the breast is right next to them.
- Pump more often, and for longer periods of time. The more you stimulate the breast, and the more milk you remove, the more you will make.
- Use the best pump you can afford. For many moms, this may mean renting a hospital-grade pump.
- Make sure you have correctly-sized breastshields.
- Herbs. Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, and plain old oatmeal can all help increase supply.
- Drugs. Reglan (available in the US) and Domperidone (Canada) are prescription drugs which can increase milk supply as a side-effect. Both have additional side-effects and are not for every woman, so discuss these medications with your ob or midwife before taking either one.
- See a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Hands-on help can do wonders! Your LC can help you obtain a good pump and the right size of breast shields, and can give you advice on which herbs/drugs may be right for you, and on dosages.
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