If you suspect that you’re not making enough milk, you’re in good company! This is probably the biggest concern among nursing moms. It’s also the top reason moms stop nursing earlier than they planned.
Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for what your boobs are giving you. Here’s what you can do today to increase your milk supply super fast!
Disclaimer: These tips will help healthy mothers who are nursing healthy infants. If you or your baby have a medical condition that’s causing your low milk supply, PLEASE seek medical help!
Understand the Basics of Milk Production
Your breasts are constantly making milk, but the milk that’s readily available isn’t necessarily the super-nutritious liquid gold you suspect. See, there are two types of milk: foremilk and hindmilk. The foremilk is very thin and sometimes has a bluish look. That’s the milk your baby gets when he first starts nursing and before your letdown reflex…well…lets down. Hindmilk comes after the letdown reflex and is more fatty and more filling than foremilk. The longer you nurse on one side, the more of the fatty hindmilk your baby gets and the longer he’ll stay satisfied. This is why it’s important to nurse on one side until your baby seems done. Then offer the second side.
There are a few issues that can cause low milk supply. It’s helpful to understand what causes low your milk supply so that you can avoid it before a problem starts.
The more milk that’s removed from your breast, the more milk it will make. Did you catch that? Barring any medical reasons, if you take more milk out, your breasts will make more. That’s the key to increasing your milk supply!
What Not To Do
- Don’t supplement. Not with formula, not with expressed breastmilk. You want to be removing it from your breast so that your breast sees a greater demand and starts to provide a greater supply.
- Don’t give your baby any food or liquids other than breastmilk while you’re trying to increase your supply.
- Don’t stop supplementing too quickly though! If a significant portion of your baby’s diet comes from formula or solid food, you might need to reduce the outside calories slowly while you build up your supply.
- Avoid bottle-feeding your own pumped milk. The stimulation you receive during nursing will speed up the milk-supply-boosting process.
- If you think pacifiers are interfering with nursing, and you can handle the fury of your tiny one, taking the pacifier away for a while can actually help.
- Don’t stick to a schedule. There are many reasons why scheduling is a bad idea, but that’s a post for another day. Right now, while you’re boosting your supply, feed on demand.
- Don’t end a nursing session early. Let your baby nurse until he’s uninterested in drinking another drop.
What To Do for Fast Results
- Feed often. More than usual. More nursing = more milk!
- Use a breast pump after nursing. More milk removed = more milk made!
- Practice self-care. Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed or touched-out. It happens easily. Take a little relaxation time away from the baby. Stress can hurt your milk supply, so try to relax and rid yourself of as much stress as you can.
- Take a nursing retreat. This is a 2 or 3 day period of time when you & your baby do nothing but snuggle and nurse and talk (or coo). Preferably in bed the whole time. You will be more relaxed, more bonded, and be making more milk at the end of it!
- Massage and/or compress the breasts while nursing. It’ll help remove more milk.
- Make an effort to get lots of skin-to-skin contact with your baby. It benefits both of you more than you know!
- Feed from both sides at every feeding. Start one side and feed until the baby is satisfied, then burp him and offer the other side.
- Try fenugreek, oatmeal, alfalfa, or blessed thistle. There’s not a lot of scientific proof they work, but some moms swear by them! Don’t start them all at the same time though. You can find tablets which combine these ingredients but don’t use those until you’ve tried each ingredient individually and made sure that you and baby can tolerate it.
Related Post: Fenugreek for Breastfeeding! The what, why & how
Related Post: 5 Reasons skin-to-skin contact is amazing
When to Get Help
If your baby loses weight, get help immediately! Your baby’s weight should never drop.
If your baby isn’t producing 5-6 wet diapers a day, get help immediately! Dehydration is life-threatening.
If you’ve done all the right things and you’ve avoided the what-not-to-do’s above, yet you still don’t think your milk supply is increasing after a week, contact a lactation consultant. They can help you determine how strong your milk supply truly is, and assist you in diagnosing any hindrance to your milk production.
Let It Flow, Let It Flow
If you’re singing a Disney song now that automatically makes your my best friend!! Sorry if you hate that song…
For most women, increasing milk supply isn’t hard. It can be inconvenient, especially if we have to alter routines or the way we do things for a while.
And frankly, some women might prefer to take the easy way out and say “I don’t make enough milk,” and then stop without putting forth an effort. No judgment, parenting is hard. But the effort is worth it, I promise!!
Making milk is simply a process of supply and demand. The more demand there is for your milk, the greater your supply will grow to meet that demand.
All the Do’s and Don’ts I listed above fall under the simple rule of getting more milk out of the boob. Easy peasy booby squeazy!
Have you overcome a low milk supply? What helped you the most? Comment below and share your trick!