Here are my 10 best tips for increasing your breastmilk supply, which helps both mother and baby to be happy and healthy during their breastfeeding relationship:
Milk Supply Tip #1: Ditch any feeding routines
Feed your baby when he or she appears to want the breast. You can also prevent an upset, crying baby if you pick up early hunger signals – crying is a late hunger signal. Offering the breast even when you’re not sure what your baby wants does no harm. Remember, the more your baby feeds, the more your breasts will supply. When in doubt, get the boobs out!
Milk Supply Tip #2: Check your latch
Your baby doesn’t nipple feed, he breastfeeds. Make sure he has a wide open mouth and the nipple is going towards the back of his mouth. Make sure baby’s lips are flanged outwards completely and a major portion of areola is inside the baby’s mouth. A lactation counsellor or consultant can diagnose any issues and give you valuable peace of mind. Please try to see one before you self-diagnose with low supply or start using formula.
Milk Supply Tip #3: Avoid dummies/pacifiers, nipple shields and bottles, unless absolutely necessary
The lesser your baby is on your breast, the lesser your nipples are being stimulated, and so, the lesser the amount of milk you will produce. Check with a lactation consultant before you decide to get a nipple shield – your sore nipples could be due to a poor latch, so correcting the problem first is important
Milk Supply Tip #4: Trust your baby, not the clock!
Of course your baby knows what he needs; his brain is wired for survival. The clock is wired for… well, the time. If your baby is taking a while to feed, let him! I’ve never seen a cow in the paddock with a watch on – we are the only species that considers the time when feeding our young.
Milk Supply Tip #5: Ditch or avoid formula top-up feeds because the less you breastfeed your baby, the less milk your breasts will make
The more formula you give your baby, the less milk you’ll make. Worse yet, if you head down the path of offering formula, your baby may wean and start to refuse the breast. Unfortunately, this is a common and unintended problem.
Milk Supply Tip #6: Make sure you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet
Make sure you’re eating enough nutritious food to produce sufficient breast milk. Going on a diet is not recommended unless it’s specifically breastfeeding friendly. Breastfeeding mothers need more calories than a non-breastfeeding woman, but they should be nutritious calories, not empty calories which can be found in processed foods, sugars and wheat/grain products. Make sure you’re getting plenty of leafy greens, good fats, fresh veggies in a range of colours, protein (keeps you full), nuts and seeds.
Milk Supply Tip #7: Be available to your baby 24×7 if possible
Babies thrive having 24×7 access to their mothers. Being able to breastfeed (from your breasts not a bottle) anytime is optimal for your baby and breastmilk supply. Plan lots of skin to skin time, to help with the production of oxytocin, which is involved with milk production. Skin to skin time also encourages your baby to latch more often.
Milk Supply Tip #8: Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water
Breastfeeding makes for thirsty work, and your body will suffer if you’re not drinking plenty of water – to the tune of constipation, haemorrhoids and nasty anal fissures. When you don’t drink enough water, your energy, concentration and focus also suffers.
Milk Supply Tip #9: Take your baby everywhere
Plan to take your baby wherever you go for the first few weeks.
Milk Supply Tip #10: Get help sooner rather than later
My best advice to you as a new mother would be to make sure you reach out for help as soon as you can. Don’t struggle in silence or give up on yourself. Breastfeeding troubles can quickly spiral out of control and result in a dash to the supermarket for some formula, when in many cases, it’s not needed at all. Just some good old fashioned advice and support. No matter if you call a breastfeeding support, source a lactation consultant or purchase some good breastfeeding books as a precaution, know that help is available and make yourself familiar with them in case the need arises.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Jui Shinde Patil is an internationally certified lactation educator and childbirth educator (prenatal expert)and hypno-birthing practitioner. B.D.S(Mumbai), CCCE., CLE.(USA), HypnoBirthing practitioner(USA)
She can be contacted on Tel: 9920724666 & Email: firstname.lastname@example.org