What Is ‘Breast Milk Storage Capacity,’ And Can I Increase Mine?

Breastfeeding is a fancy course of that each mum or dad experiences in another way. One’s breastfeeding journey can change over time and fluctuate from one child to the subsequent.

And to make issues extra complicated, there’s a variety of unfamiliar jargon within the breastfeeding space. One time period that always crops up is “breast milk storage capacity” or “breast storage capacity.”

To assist demystify this phrase, we requested breastfeeding consultants to interrupt it down for nursing mother and father and parents-to-be.

What is breast storage capability?

“Breast storage capacity is how much milk is available when breasts are the fullest,” mentioned Dr. Emily Huffstetler, a board-certified OB-GYN and adviser for Share the Drop. “It has nothing to do with breast size, but rather the room in the glandular tissue ― where milk is produced.”

Because breast storage capability has nothing to do with the scale of 1’s breasts, a mom with small breasts may even have a better capability than one with bigger breasts.

“Women vary dramatically in their breast storage capacity,” mentioned Carole Kramer Arsenault, a registered nurse and founding father of Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny. She famous that two studies discovered moms to have a breast storage capability vary of 74 grams to 660 grams, or 2.6 ounces to 23.3 ounces.

It’s attainable to have breasts with two totally different storage capacities as nicely.

“It also has nothing to do with the total amount of milk being produced, commonly called ‘supply,’” famous Susan Mocsny Thomas, a registered nurse {and professional} liaison division administrator with La Leche League Alliance. “Breast storage capacity is the amount of milk in the breast at the beginning of each feeding. If your breast capacity is on the lower side, your baby may need to breastfeed more frequently. The amount of milk needed will still be produced, but since there is not as much storage room, your breasts will fill more frequently, and baby may want more frequent feedings.”

If your storage capability is bigger, your breasts could not attain that “full” stage as shortly, and your child could require much less frequent feedings, she added.

It’s necessary to notice that not everybody within the breastfeeding group is on board with the concept of “breast storage capacity.”

“I would emphasize that ‘breast storage capacity’ is not a medical or scientific term,” mentioned Dr. Sheela Rath Geraghty, co-director of the Cincinnati Children’s Center for Breastfeeding Medicine and medical director of the Cincinnati Children’s Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic.

She defined that every one infants drink totally different quantities of milk from the breast at every feeding. The concept that infants ought to at all times eat the identical quantity of milk is predicated on bottle feeding and is “not physiologically normal.”

“There is no way to say that a mother will ever get the same out of the breasts each time that they have milk extracted from their body, whether by a pump or a baby,” Geraghty mentioned. “We as people eat different amounts each time we eat. Breastfed babies extract different amounts of milk from the breast every time that they eat as well.”

Can breast storage capability be elevated?

“It’s not possible to increase your storage capacity since it is physical, but again, it does not have to do with the amount of milk you produce,” Thomas mentioned.

Interestingly, a number of consultants famous that there’s some anecdotal proof of storage capability growing in subsequent pregnancies. But that has not been adequately studied and can be outdoors a mum or dad’s management anyway.

“Some women notice a slight increase in milk capacity with additional pregnancies,” Arsenault mentioned. “If a mom is diagnosed with insufficient glandular tissue, it is still possible to breastfeed, but she will likely have to get creative and augment the feedings.”

Should nursing mother and father even take into consideration this?

Breast storage capability “does not need to be a concern of breastfeeding parents,” Thomas mentioned. “If anything, it’s an incidental finding, where you might think, ‘Hm. My baby seems to breastfeed on the frequent side. Maybe my breast storage capacity is on the smaller side,’ or, ‘Huh. My baby is gaining well, but seems to nurse less frequently than I expected. Maybe my breast storage capacity is on the larger side.’”

She defined that feeding in keeping with your child’s cues is what issues and can be sure that they’re getting sufficient to eat.

“As long as baby has the number of wet and dirty diapers expected and is gaining well, it is of no concern what your storage capacity is,” Thomas mentioned.

Between the latest components shortages and steerage from sure breastfeeding blogs, many mother and father really feel added strain to supply much more milk and have a deep “stash” of their freezers.

But Geraghty warned that this strain can make them pump too regularly and probably develop engorgement and mastitis within the course of. Don’t concern your self with what you assume your breast storage capability is or attempt to “compensate” by nursing or pumping greater than essential.

“What makes a mother feel accomplished at feeding her baby is when she is successful at making the right amount of milk for her baby,” Geraghty mentioned. “A breastfed baby’s behavior should be watched closely ― when the baby is satisfied and full, the baby will be calm. If the baby did not eat enough, the baby will be fussy and want to go back on the breast and be fed more.”

If you aren’t producing sufficient milk to fulfill your child or are having bother successfully latching, search assist from knowledgeable. Together, you could find research-backed options and determine what works finest for you and your youngster.

“The concept of breast storage capacity reiterates that each woman’s body is different and each woman’s breastfeeding journey will be different,” Huffstetler mentioned. “Knowing your own body and what your own baby needs is an important part of every woman’s breastfeeding journey.”

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