Boosting Your Milk Supply: Top Tips for Overcoming Low Milk Supply
If you’ve ever questioned your milk supply, you’re in good company. It’s common to wonder if you have enough milk for your breastfeeding baby. Chances are your milk supply is just fine. However, there are times when your milk supply is in a slump. In this blog post, we'll explore some valuable tips to boost your milk supply and ensure your baby gets the nourishment they need.
**1. Frequent Nursing: Supply and Demand** The golden rule of breastfeeding is supply and demand. The more your baby nurses, the more your body is signaled to produce milk. Aim for at least 8-12 nursing sessions every 24 hours, allowing your baby to dictate when they need to feed. Frequent nursing helps stimulate your milk-producing hormones and encourages a healthy supply.
**2. Drain Your Breasts** Removing milk during nursing and/or pumping sessions is crucial. Draining the breast signals your body to produce more milk. (Remember: your breasts are never 100% empty) Encourage your baby to feed from one breast until it feels softer before switching to the other side. Draining both breasts during each feeding will help establish a robust milk supply. Pro Tip: If you have an oversupply, your baby could get full from one breast.
**3. Skin-to-Skin Contact** Skin-to-skin contact offers a multitude of benefits, including stimulating milk production. Spend time cuddling your baby with their skin against yours. This practice triggers the release of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for milk ejection. It's not only beneficial for milk supply but also for enhancing the emotional bond with your baby. Pro Tip: Add in some baby massage!
**4. Pumping After Nursing** Adding pumping sessions to your routine, especially after nursing, can help increase milk supply. Pumping for a few minutes after nursing can signal your body to produce more milk for the next feeding. The combination of your baby's nursing and pumping helps maintain a healthy supply when your baby isn’t quite draining your breasts yet. Be careful! You don’t want to push yourself into an oversupply (think clogged ducts, milk leaking, the freezer is overflowing and maybe even mastitis!)
**5. Stay Hydrated and Nourished** Proper hydration and nutrition are vital for milk production. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and maintain a balanced diet rich in whole foods. Some foods are thought to support lactation, such as oats, flaxseeds, and leafy greens. However, there's no magic food that guarantees an increase in milk supply. A well-rounded diet is the key. Nutrient dense foods and electrolytes added to your water really pack a punch of benefits.
**6. Get Rest and Reduce Stress** Rest is an often underestimated factor in maintaining a healthy milk supply. Fatigue and stress can hinder milk production. Prioritize rest and relaxation, and enlist help from family and friends to ensure you have time to recover. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and gentle exercise can also help reduce stress levels. Pro Tip: Go for a walk outside, while babywearing.
**7. Seek Professional Support** If you're still concerned about your milk supply despite trying these strategies, consider seeking help from a lactation consultant. We can provide personalized advice and support tailored to your specific situation. Get help from anywhere in the world here.
Remember that breastfeeding is a journey, and it's natural to encounter challenges along the way. The good news is that with the right techniques and strategies, you can effectively address concerns about low milk supply. By implementing these tips, you're taking proactive steps to ensure your baby receives the nourishment they need while enjoying the bonding experience that breastfeeding brings. Stay patient, stay positive, and trust in your body's incredible ability to nurture your little one.
Bri the IBCLC
*These tips apply to what we call “Secondary Low Milk Supply”. On the other hand, Primary Low Milk Supply can occur due to IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue), hypothyroidism, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), etc. These syndromes can cause low milk supply even when everything seems to be in order. Please work with an experienced IBCLC who can dig deeper into your health history.