Mama, we’ve all been there: the panic of “Am I producing enough breastmilk to help my baby grow?” or “Why is my supply decreasing? Is it decreasing?”
There is a crucial point to assist in those anxiety-driven questions: breastmilk is demand-driven. The more you breastfeed, the more breastmilk you will produce.
If you are concerned about low breastmilk supply, check out signs of low supply blog post.
In the meantime, here are six ways that you can increase your breastmilk supply.
6 Ways to Increase Breastmilk Supply
- Make sure baby has a good latch
- Make sure you are frequently feeding
- Take a nursing vacation
- Take care of yourself
- Consider integrating pumping into your routine
- Look into galactagogues
Make sure baby has a good latch
A good breastfeeding latch is defined as the following: it isn’t painful, the baby’s chin is touching the breast, the nose is free, and finally, your baby’s mouth is open wide with more breast tissue in it (not just your nipple—ouch!).
Make sure you are frequently feeding
The more often you empty your breasts, the more your body will be triggered to create breastmilk. Feed your baby on demand (whenever they’re hungry). This means that you shouldn’t limit your baby. When your baby fusses, you feed them, rather than sticking to a strict schedule. Breast or pump at least every two to three hours.
Take a nursing vacation
A nursing vacation is where we highly recommend “naked and Netflix.” With your baby skin-to-skin, take time to sit on your couch, bed, or chair of choice and simply breastfeed on demand and as much as possible. A nursing vacation can last for two to three days with uninterrupted mama and baby bonding time. Cancel all other plans, arrange for childcare for your other children (if that is an issue), and bring the food to you. Your only scheduled item should be breastfeeding and relaxing. By doing so, you signal to your body, once again, that more milk is needed.
Take care of yourself
When you have a new baby, it is so easy to become quickly overwhelmed. In your new postpartum state, you find yourself with looming visitors, sleep deprivation, and every time you sit down to eat, somehow, your baby knows to start fussing. Mama, you may find yourself skipping out on the basics: meals, hydration, and sleep. Because adding a child to your family is inherently stressful, you’ll likely find yourself stressed, too. Reduce stress by advocating for yourself and your needs. In any way you can, mama, take care of yourself. Eat your meals. Drink your water. Get some sleep. If you need to set an alarm to remind yourself to do these things, then do it! Your health matters. If you’re not healthy, your breastmilk supply likely won’t be either.
Consider integrating pumping into your routine
Power-pumping or pumping after feedings can be extremely helpful in increasing breastmilk supply. Power-pumping is when you use a pump to imitate cluster feeding. For instance, for about an hour, you pump for twenty minutes, rest for ten minutes, pump for ten minutes, and then rest again for ten. You repeat this cycle as many times as possible during your designated hour. It doesn’t have to be at a particular time of day, but many mamas prefer to do so right after the baby has gone to sleep for the night.
Pumping after feedings is also useful when it comes to increasing breastmilk supply. You simply do this by pumping both sides as soon as your baby is done. Don’t panic if not much milk comes out. The idea is to get the last little bit of milk that the baby didn’t get.
Look into galactagogues
Galactagogues (lactation enhancements) are an option when it comes to increasing breastmilk supply. Galactagogues include capsules, teas, cookies, and many other products. Galactagogues will not magically increase supply. You do need to find out the root cause of your low supply before consuming an enhancement. I can help you determine that cause. Galactagogues should be used after all of the techniques, as mentioned earlier, have been implemented.
Give your body time about a week or more of using the above methods to see an increase in supply. If these methods don’t seem to be helping, contact your healthcare provider to have hormone levels checked.