It’s been a long time since I’ve written something. With everything going on in the world, I haven’t known what to say. I’d love to share more about my time working with displaced Syrian refugees in Greece with Nurture Project International, but in truth, *I* haven’t processed my experience yet. Once I make peace with my personal experience, I will definitely share.
So then, on to today’s blog post: a book review! I don’t know about you, but when I was having children, my bookshelves were overflowing with books about child development, labor and birth, breastfeeding and nearly everything in between. Now that I’m an IBCLC, I have even more books, but my breastfeeding and lactation library has grown exponentially. There are books I use every single day and those that only get pulled out in critical and complicated situations. There are some real gems out there folks and I’m excited to share one with you today.
About six months ago I picked up “The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk” by authors and well-known IBCLCs Diana West and Lisa Marasco. I’ve had the extreme pleasure of meeting Diana West in person earlier this year at an annual lactation consultant conference and I can tell you that she lives up to her reputation! I have a major professional crush (that’s a thing, right??). As the title suggests, this book is written for a parent rather than a professional. It is geared to help you “find the cause of your low milk supply, discover the most effective ways to make more milk, and learn how to keep up your milk supply when away from (your) baby”. Sounds pretty amazing, right?! I assure you that it really is!
One of my favorite points that the authors make early on is the complexity of and multiple moving parts required for a good milk supply. They call it the “milk supply equation”:
sufficient glandular tissue + intact nerve pathways and ducts + adequate hormones and hormone receptors + adequately frequent, effective milk removal and stimulation = good milk production. As you can see there are a LOT of factors in this equation. If just one is out of place, your milk supply could suffer. Lucky for you, West and Marasco dive deep into each of these and offer solutions that are evidence based and manageable. They also emphasize the need for working with a well-versed lactation specialist, the IBCLC, when possible. One of our specialties here at Sweet Songs Breastfeeding is low milk supply issues. If you suspect you are experiencing low milk supply, we are happy to uncover the causes and work with you to meet your breastfeeding goals. Now back to the
“Making More Milk” tackles hormonal imbalances, latch issues, preterm infants, and supplementation among many other things as root causes of low milk supply. They even have a great chapter on increasing milk yield when pumping. I won’t share too much more from this book; you will just have to get it for yourself! It’s currently available for only $10 on Kindle. That’s a steal!
I will end my review with one piece of great advice that has served our own clients well. We often receive frantic calls from our clients when menstruation returns and milk supply takes a dip. In their book West and Marasco share IBCLC colleague Patricia Gima’s recommendation of a daily dose of 500 to 1000mg of calcium/magnesium supplement as a remedy to this. This supplement can be taken during midcycle (ovulation) to about three days into menstruation. We’ve seen it work wonders! Now the authors do note that “one of the results of low production is the return of menstruation, that is, the return of menstruation may be a symptom and not a cause”, which requires further investigation so the supply can be properly restored. Human lactation is truly a fascinating, albeit tricky,
process, isn’t it?!
I look forward to sharing more lactation and breastfeeding book reviews in the future as there are quite a few good ones out there. Tell us, what are you reading lately? Did you happen to already read this book? If so, we'd love to hear your thoughts!