How to increase your breastmilk supply?!
Some tips if you feel or have been advised to try to increase your breastmilk supply- so a little secret. Breastmilk works purely on supply and demand, your body is clever like that. The more milk you extract, the more milk you make! Amazing right?! Grab a cup of tea, a big breath and lets read some tips together.
1.) The first thing to do is to have someone check baby is properly attached. Is there pain when baby feeds? Do you still feel like your breasts are full even when baby has finished? Does your babe get an upset stomach and lots of gas? (sucking air as opposed to breast tissue) If you are unsure, ask your midwife or a lactation consultant to check for you.
2.) Increase the frequency of feeds in a 24 hour period. Try to feed baby every 3-4 hours, if baby is not interested, after a feed try pumping to stimulate further milk production. The more milk you extract the more you will make. Ensure baby is draining one breast completely, before offering the next one. Always offer both if you feel your supply is low.
3.) Try to avoid dummies, they are not useful for breastfeeding babies especially in the newborn stages. They are a different shape to a nipple which often causes ‘nipple confusion’ and its always easy to miss early feeding cues if baby is busy sucking on a dummy. Although it can feel like they are living on the breast, if you can- let them suck the breasts as opposed to a dummy.
4.) Keep yourself hydrated- keep a water bottle with you all day everyday and aim to drink 3 litres per day- your body needs fluid to make fluid mama’s. Try to eat hydrating ,healthy foods- fuel your body the best you can.
5.) SKIN TO SKIN! This is so important for making milk. You probably heard midwives harp on about it over and over but your body knows when your baby is close to produce milk. We are all just mammals at the end of the day.
6.) The calmer you are, the easier your ‘let down reflex’ will kick in, try to get comfortable, talk to your baby, do skin to skin, play some relaxing music and embrace this moment the best you can- the laundry, the cleaning the phone calls, they call wait.
7.) See a lactation consultant, don’t hesitate! If you’re in Australia, your early childhood centre more then likely has breastfeeding groups run by a lactation consultant who can give you very personalised advice and a plan so it doesn’t all feel so overwhelming.
8.) There are a lot of herbal remedies out there for increasing your supply as well as products like breastfeeding cookies and cakes! Do a google search and see what you find- some common ones are:
Milk thistle tablets
9.) There is a medication called Motilium that is used for women with a known low supply- a lactation consultant can give you this (or a GP). If you are really struggling, ask for help. Motilium works by increasing the milk-producing hormone, prolactin. There are no known side effects to mother or baby (that I am aware of).
Remember that you are never a failure in this breastfeeding journey. Give it your best shot (if you choose) but listen to your body and be kind to yourself mama’s- your baby adores you no matter what. A fed baby is the best baby.
Image from the beautiful Karolina Kurkova