- Babies Learn From Each Other
- Postpartum Care for Mom
- The Importance of Encouraging Creativity in Children
- Top 5 Ways To Increase Your Milk Supply
- How Parents Play With Baby
- Battling Morning Sickness
- Understanding Your Baby’s Temperament
- Nutrition for Postpartum Recovery and Breastfeeding
- Dental Health and Your Pregnancy
- Donating Breast Milk
Top 5 Ways To Increase Your Milk Supply
It seems we are hearing more and more moms concerned about not having enough milk to feed their baby these days. There are many effective strategies for helping women increase their milk supply but first we need to determine if there truly is a concern about your milk supply. Is your baby gaining about an ounce a day in the first 3 months and half of an ounce a day for months 4 to 12? Do your breasts soften after the feed? Is your baby peeing and pooping appropriately (at least several poops a day for the first 6 weeks and at least 8 wet diapers a day)? If so, you have enough milk and don’t need to work on increasing your supply.
If you find your baby isn’t gaining enough weight or isn’t peeing or pooping enough, here are some suggestions for increasing your supply.
- Breastfeed more frequently. Most newborns feed anywhere from 8 to 12 times a day. If you have been feeding less than 8 times a day, offer your breast anytime the baby shows signs of hunger. Frequent emptying of the breasts signals the breasts to make more milk.
- Use a breastpump to help stimulate your supply. Consider renting a hospital grade pump such as Medela’s Symphony for a week and try pumping after as many feeds as possible. 10-15 minutes of pumping is appropriate- it is the frequency of the pumping that will help the most, not the duration. Remember, nurse first, then pump. You may not collect much milk but you are pumping to stimulate supply, not collect milk.
- Consider taking a supplement designed to increase your milk supply. Many women have found herbal supplements such as Fenugreek, and the herbs in supplements like Mother Love’s More Milk Plus or Go-Lacta tremendously helpful in boosting their supply. They don’t replace frequent feedings but are a good addition.
- Take a “nursing vacation”. Since the reality is that you won’t be getting much of anything else done if you are feeding 8-12 times a day, plan on 48 hours where you can stay in bed with the baby and feed all day. Ask your partner to wait on you with food and lots of water and just stay in bed for a few days. Skin to skin contact has been shown to increase prolactin, the hormone that helps with milk production, so curl up with your naked baby on your chest in bed. It is remarkable how effective this tool is in jumpstarting your supply.
- If you have tried the first four tips and aren’t seeing an improvement in your supply, consider making an appointment with a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). Many times there are things we can spot when we observe a feeding or assess the mom and baby that could be contributing to the low milk supply. Lactation consultants are there to support you in your efforts, so utilize them!
At the end of the day, it is important to keep in mind that a baby needs to be fed and if you don’t have enough breastmilk, formula or donor breastmilk are options to make up the difference and support your baby’s growth and development.