Baby formula shortage prompts increased demand for lactation consultants
NEW YORK — The Biden administration is taking new steps to try to address the baby formula shortage happening across the country, but as parents wait for supply to ramp up, some lactation consultants say they’re seeing an increase in demand for their services.
Parents say there’s a panic that sets in when they see empty shelves, not knowing how they’re going to find baby formula for their child.
“Some people are thinking that I’m just going to breast feed for three months while I have maternity leave, and they’re like, well, I’m going to extend this, I need to extend this,” lactation consultant Leigh Anne O’Connor told CBS2’s Leah Mishkin.
O’Connor says she is also working with moms who want to re-lactate for their own babies or to donate supply to milk banks. The question is, how do you do that?
“Stimulating your breast is one of the best ways to make milk,” O’Connor said. “That means a baby either sucking at the breast effectively and a good quality pump or hand expressing.”
“I also highly, highly recommend massaging while your pumping,” lactation consultant Lisa Binderow said. “Make sure that you do have the correct flange size, so the actual thing that attaches to you … Our bodies make the most milk between 2 and 5 a.m.”
Binderow says her inbox has been increasing by the day from parents seeking help. She says there are many factors that play into your body’s ability to re-lactate if you’ve stopped.
“How far you are out from breastfeeding and birth,” she said. “Another factor is, is it your first or second child? Because if you breastfeed another child, your body maybe will respond quicker.”
“It can take a week. It can take a month,” O’Connor said.
“You want to be pumping constantly even if nothing is coming out?” Mishkin asked.
“Absolutely,” O’Connor said.
“How long would you pump for if nothing is coming out?” Mishkin asked.
“About 15 minutes,” O’Connor said.
“It’s not just about pumping when your milk is coming out. It’s about pumping when milk is not coming out,” Binderow said.
If you want to re-lactate, Binderow says, “I think it’s going to be increasingly more difficult as you move away from three months … It’s worth trying because we wouldn’t know unless we tried.”
Both consultants suggest reaching out for professional help, as every person is different, and try not to stress because that can make it harder to release milk.