Lactation education

A lactation expert helps moms increase their milk in times of shortage

CLEVELAND — As store shelves remain empty in the infant formula aisles, some new moms are seeking help from lactation specialists to see if they can increase the amount of milk their bodies produce.

What do you want to know

  • Some mothers seek medical help to start breastfeeding again
  • Doctors say it’s possible to re-lactrate
  • The more often mothers breastfeed their babies, the more milk they produce, according to medical experts

Dr. Ann Witt is a family physician, founder of Breastfeeding Medicine in northeast Ohio, and director of lactation at Senders Pediatrics in south Euclid.

“The most common thing we see is an increased desire for an increased milk supply,” Witt said.

This may be due to:

  • Lactation and Latch Problems
  • Concerns about infant nutrition and weight
  • Mother’s concern about taking medication while breastfeeding
  • Unsupportive work policies and lack of parental leave
  • Cultural norms and lack of family support
  • Unsupportive hospital practices and policies

Witt said whatever the reason is between the mother, her family and her doctor.

“I think there’s a lot going on. It’s very stressful when you worry about feeding your baby,” Witt said.

Witt said women who stopped breastfeeding their babies could start again.

“It’s a return to basics. When you look at milk supply, there are a lot of things that impact our milk production,” Witt said. “Some we have control over, some we don’t have control over. After childbirth, the thing we have the most control over is how often we stimulate our breasts, which gives our bodies a feedback to produce more milk.

She suggested moms increase the frequency between pumping and breastfeeding to help their bodies produce more milk.

“There’s always been a small percentage of women who have trouble making milk and that’s why formula milk was invented,” she said. “There is a need.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 84% of babies in the United States have been breastfed, and the number of babies still breastfed at six months goes down to 56.7%.

The organization launched the Healthy People 2030 Breastfeeding initiative to help bring these figures to 42.4% of babies still breastfed at six months and 54.1% at one year of age.

“I think it’s also realizing whatever your individual goal is – it’s important to support that goal, even when there are a lot of different influences on the options and what you should or shouldn’t do, what which is good for you and your family is the most important,” she said.

The CDC offers guidelines on re-lactation. Click here for more information.