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Mom is not a pacifier, nor does she run out of milk

06/08/2021 Pediatrics

Indeed if you are a nursing mother, these and many other phrases are not unknown to you; in general, they all amount to the same information: Your baby grabs you as a pacifier, and you don't even feed him anymore, worse if this situation occurs close to the six months and worse if your child is over 12 months, or if you had a period where you feel that your baby rejects the breast, in which case "breastfeeding is something you want and not the baby because he no longer wants it."

Let's clarify a point, reducing all the magic of your participation as the mother of a small baby or a child to being just a pacifier or a bottle is not only absurd but is frankly insulting, and to combat it, the best tool you have is to inform yourself correctly and trust your motherly instincts.

The fact that your baby falls asleep on your chest is wonderful, your baby is hungry, sucks your breast, satisfies his hunger, relaxes when he feels close to his mother, whom he knows by her smell, her characteristic warmth, and if we add to this a lullaby, arms full of love and a rhythmic rocking motion, sleeping on your chest is the best.

In addition to this, breast milk contains an amino acid called "L-Tryptophan" that precisely helps babies fall asleep and has "melatonin", a hormone that helps establish the cycles of wakefulness and sleep.

Studies have even shown that it is at night when the peaks of these substances occur, precisely to encourage the baby to fall asleep more quickly than in the daytime (one of many reasons several moms decide to sleep with the baby).

This period will not be forever, and in general, all children mature their psyche over time, seeking their space and individuality, but while they are babies or young children, the mother fulfills functions beyond nourishing. Mom generates a secure attachment, which, in the future, will give them the confidence they need to take on life on their own.

As long as you have been exclusively breastfeeding, it is very difficult to stop producing milk.

But if you think that your milk is running out, you are probably noticing that your baby is very irritable, crying, fighting with the breast, latching on so that, in a matter of minutes, he releases it, doesn't sleep well, arches his back, stretches his legs, he gets distracted by everything, and he behaves erratically. Additionally, you can feel your breasts "watery" and not as full as you used to feel them.

In short, you are not running out of milk; breastfeeding in that sense is very basic: If there is suction, there is production. What is happening is that your baby is going through a growth spurt; have you heard that before?

These growth spurts usually occur with a certain periodicity, where the "strange" behavior of the baby responds to the biological need to improve the composition and increase the volume of milk that your body produces to continue this development. Not because your current milk is not good, but your baby's body needs to improve the quality and volume to keep up with the expected growth rate, and growth spurts are the way it has to "ask" your body.

Once your body registers the change and makes the composition/volume modification, babies return to their usual lactation patterns; these outbreaks usually last around one week, could be more or less.

The periodicity with which these growth spurts occur can vary from baby to baby, but they usually appear at 3, 6, 9 weeks, and 3 and 6 months.

The crucial thing about these growth spurts is that you are patient and do not fall into the temptation of offering milk formula because that CAN negatively impact your production. Do not be scared if your breasts feel soft; as you continue breastfeeding, your body "picks up the pace", so to speak, and your mammary glands will be able to prepare the milk for when the baby needs it, triggering the ejection of the milk within minutes of starting suction.

In Costamed Medical Group, we suggest that in addition to staying informed about these possible scenarios, get advise from a lactation professional, such as "La Liga de la Leche" or similar associations, and above all join a tribe of women who are also nursing mothers so that together you can find support

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