Real Life Breastfeeding Stories

It Takes a Let-Down Too

We have discussed in the newsletter that you need enough calories and stimulation to the breast to make milk. You also need a let-down. The let-down part is something you may need to be conscience of as I found out in the wee hours of the morning.

My daughter was a couple of months old. Things were going well with breastfeeding, but our family had recently had some car problems. As I was sitting down to feed her at about 2 a.m., I started to think about how upset I was that the car was acting up and the inconvenience it had brought to my life. After about 10 minutes of dwelling on the car, I started to pay attention to my daughter and realized she was sucking away but I wasn’t hearing any swallowing. I realized I had been so preoccupied with thinking about the car that I had failed to focus on feeding my daughter. I had never had a let down in that 10 minutes of vigorous sucking that she was doing. It was then I learned, you can eat enough (although even inadequate diets, while not ideal, can provide an adequate milk supply) (1) and you can have a baby that sucks well and stimulates a milk supply, but you must have a let-down to provide that milk to your baby.

Once I focused on her and relaxed a bit the milk flowed and she was happy and I tried not to go back to thinking about the car. All these years later—I know the car got taken care of, but I remember more that I cost my daughter some time in getting fed that night because I wasn’t focused on her first. Baby and Mom do work together in this situation.   Enjoy this little person, the car will get fixed, and any other concerns that come into your head in the wee hours will get taken care of.

1.  Lawrence RA, Lawrence, RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, 7th edition, Maryland Heights, MO, Elsevier Mosby, 2011 p 284.