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If you had difficulty breastfeeding one child, don’t lose hope. Tia Mowry just proved it’s possible to change your breastfeeding fate.
The TV personality and actress posted a mirror selfie with her newborn son on Instagram this week to celebrate her recent success in breastfeeding.
“Boobs glorious boobs,” the mother of two began her caption. “Feeling pretty good! Wasn’t able to breast-feed Cree for long because of low milk supply!” she said of her first son. “However, this time around I have plenty.”
Breastfeeding pressure is a major cause of depression and feelings of failure in moms. So many women out there might be relieved to know that their breastfeeding success rate isn’t sealed after their first baby.
How likely is it that the average mom wouldn’t be able to breastfeed one child but would be able to breastfeed another? Very likely, it turns out.
While many women are able to breastfeed all their children, most have varying experiences between kids, according to pediatrician and breastfeeding medicine specialist Jenny Thomas. “Having different experiences and different levels of success is more typical than breastfeeding going well with every pregnancy,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Why the inconsistency? Well, as your body and life changes, so does your milk supply. There are a lot of factors at work.
Age can affect your breastfeeding success rate, just as it does with pregnancy itself. “Sometimes when you’re younger and you have your first child, you don’t have the complications you could have with your later kids,” Thomas says.
The baby comes into play, too. “Every baby is different as mom begins her breastfeeding journey,” says lactation consultant Betty Greenman. One baby might easily latch on, but the nipple could be too big for a sibling.
“Sometimes a baby is born with something like prematurity, cleft palate, or Down syndrome; these babies often have latch problems,” Greenman explains. For example, “a mom who delivers prematurely with one baby may deliver at term with another, and that would be a totally different breastfeeding experience,” says Thomas. “Additionally, a baby with a rare genetic metabolic condition or phenylketonuria may have trouble breastfeeding. A baby who suffers from galactosemia cannot breastfeed. These situations may make it possible for mom to breastfeed one and not the other child, depending on the baby’s health.”
The mother’s health is of course a consideration as well. Blood pressure, BMI, and stress can all have an impact on breastfeeding success. “Sometimes a mom has a low milk supply due to some medical conditions she may have, such as insufficient glandular tissue, polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothyroidism, previous breast surgeries, or prior radiation treatment for breast cancer,” says Greenman.
Then there are the delivery conditions. “Mothers who have C-sections have a more difficult time breastfeeding than moms who deliver vaginally,” says Thomas. She explains that a C-section causes a “delay in the milk coming in.” Plus, the baby may have been in distress, which is why the C-section was necessary, and “that distress could harm their eating ability, which then can impact the milk supply.” Moms who have postpartum hemorrhages also tend not to have very good milk supplies, she notes.
Confidence is also key, and women tend to be more confident with baby No. 2. “The second time around, mom has gained lots of confidence, knows what can help with milk production, such as a warm compress before breastfeeding or power pumping to help her milk production,” says Greenman.
As for what Mowry credits for helping her, Thomas says diet can make a difference. “She had a lifestyle change; she could have lowered her BMI or blood pressure. She also may have more confidence in herself and her body because she was able to make this lifestyle change, and that’s incredibly important for your supply,” Thomas explains.
While Mowry credited fenugreek for her newfound breastfeeding success, Thomas isn’t convinced. “Fenugreek is a spice that’s been used to increase your milk supply forever, but in randomized controlled trials, it doesn’t do much,” she said. “There’s a huge placebo effect in breastfeeding. If you think it’s going to work, and you convinced your body it’s going to work, it just may work because your stress level will decrease, causing your adrenaline level to go down.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• This reality star drinks milk from a baby bottle before bed — is that weird or what?
• January Jones got rejected at ‘Vanderpump Rules’ restaurant — and her response was epic
• The Columbus Zoo named its newest ‘mischievous’ vervet monkey after ‘Vanderpump Rules’ star Jax Taylor