Worrying about your milk supply is the number one thought on every new mother’s mind. You want to know if it’s enough or not. And what more you should be doing in both cases.
Since we know how important your baby’s health is to you, we gathered all the best ways that boost milk production in one place.
Read these tips and methods to learn how to produce more milk when breastfeeding. Some you’ve probably already heard of, others may be new. But they’re all evidence-based and have been used by mothers all around the world for centuries.
It’s perfectly safe to try more than one at the same time.
Reasons for a Low Milk Supply
It’s natural to have a low milk supply the first week or two after birth, especially for new mothers. But it isn’t a reason for concern.
Yet, there are many other reasons why some women have a low supply, such as:
- If you’ve separated from your newborn right after delivery for any health reasons.
- If you have medical problems, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, or high blood pressure.
- Not feeding your newborn on demand.
- Introducing your baby to formula feedings.
- Taking oral contraceptive pills that contain estrogen.
- Your baby isn’t able to latch on.
- Smoking and drinking
Best Strategies to Produce More Breastmilk
The first thing you have to realize is that your milk supply won’t magically increase overnight. Each of these strategies is known to be foolproof, but they do take time to go into effect.
While it mainly depends on how much milk you’re currently producing, you should start seeing results in a couple of days. The main factor is that you’re consistent with whatever method, or methods, you’ve chosen.
Teaching your newborn how to latch on starts as soon as your baby’s born. Latching on is how your baby attaches to your breast to nurse. If done right, his tongue and jaws will aid in milk flow.
It’ll take a few tries before you and your baby are able to get it right. You can ask a nurse, your pediatrician, or a lactation consultant for help.
Increase Your Baby’s Feedings
Breast milk production is all about supply and demand. The more your baby feeds, the more milk your body will produce.
In the beginning, you should breastfeed on demand. This should be at least 8 times during a 24-hour period.
Make sure you switch your baby from one side to the other during each feeding. This ensures that your baby is getting a sufficient amount. It also gets your body to boost its supply in order to meet the demand.
As your baby’s feeding, try to gently massage your breast working your way from the top downwards. This will help increase milk flow and will promote better sucking techniques.
Pump Between Feedings
Whether you’re feeding on demand or following a feeding schedule, you should pump a couple of times a day between feedings. Pumping is also referred to as ‘expressing’. The idea is to trick your breasts into producing more milk because there’s a constant demand for it.
You should never go longer than 5 hours a day without removing milk. The best way to do this is by feeding your way regularly. If you’re unable for any reason, then using a hand pump or an electric pump is the next best thing.
Drinking Plenty of Liquids
Staying well-hydrated should be at the top of every new mother’s to-do list. The truth is, we’re so sleep deprived we don’t drink as often as we should.
One way to remind yourself to drink enough water throughout the day is to use a reminder app on your phone. During a full 24 hours, you should drink no less than eight 8-ounce (236.5 ml) glasses of water.
No new mother thinks ‘rest’ should be part of her daily vocabulary. But it can mean the difference between providing your baby with enough milk, and not being able to.
Your body needs to operate at its best in order to produce enough milk. It can’t do that if it’s not well-rested.
Stress can also lead to lower milk production. Find an outlet for your anxiety by talking to a friend or listening to some music.
Best Foods to Eat
Nature provides us with a variety of foods and herbs that can help speed along the process of increasing your milk production. Women have depended on these for centuries to ensure their blood supply doesn’t dwindle down.
Most of these boost prolactin levels. Prolactin is referred to by medical experts as the ‘breastfeeding hormone’.
Try to incorporate them into your meals for a balanced diet. Also, it’s vital that you not miss any meals.
Just remember that even though these may be all-natural, they can cause unwanted side effects. Talk to your doctor before trying anything new.
- Fennel and dill
- Fenugreek, sesame, caraway, and anise seeds
- Whole wheat foods
- Brown rice
- Brewer’s yeast
- Apricots and papaya
- Red beets, asparagus, and garlic
How Do I Know If My Baby is Getting Enough Milk?
One main thing that worries mothers is that they don’t know how much milk their babies have had. There are several ways to know whether or not your baby’s getting enough milk.
If there are between 6 and 8 wet diapers every day, then you’re producing enough milk. What’s even better is if the pee is colorless or light yellow.
If your baby passes a soft mustard-colored stool, that’s also a good sign. Starting at one week old to around 2 months old, he should poop at least three times. Once he’s 3 months old, that’ll go down to about one poop a day or even every other day.
Number of Feedings
Experts say that breast milk is digested anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours. This means that during a 24-hour period, your baby should have 8 to 12 feedings. Check that he’s swallowing and gulping down milk as he’s feeding.
After a good feeding, your baby will settle down and fall asleep without a fuss. Then after a couple of hours, he’ll wake up when it’s time to feed again.
Your doctor will examine your baby’s weight to see whether or not he’s systematically gaining weight. During the first 3 months, babies gain an average of 5 ounces /150 g every week.
A Final Note
If you’re worried about not producing enough milk for your baby, listen to your body, and more importantly, to your baby. He’ll let you know early on whether or not he’s getting enough milk.
Try one, or a combination, of the methods we’ve listed. These proven tactics are guaranteed to boost your breast milk supply in no time. Remember to stay consistent, be patient, and most importantly, don’t stress out.