Tips to Increase Breastmilk Supply

October 11, 2011
Tips to Increase Breastmilk Supply

Concerns of low breastmilk supply are very common among breastfeeding mothers. However, simply listening to your baby’s needs, learning to recognize your baby’s feeding cues, breastfeeding often and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can remedy many of these concerns. Occasionally, some mothers have more serious supply issues that can be treated by working with a Lactation Consultant or healthcare provider.

Typically, when you first begin breastfeeding, your supply develops based on your child’s needs. Thus, it is particularly important that you breastfeed often. Breastfeeding as soon as possible – preferably within an hour after birth – will help you and your baby get off to a good start. The skin-to-skin contact encouraged by breastfeeding is also beneficial. Many moms also choose to pump to increase supply and collect additional breastmilk. It can be beneficial to continue to pump for 2 minutes after the last drop of milk comes out. This will help to stimulate an increase in milk production.

In the beginning, you may feel as though you need to breastfeed continuously in order to empty your breasts. However, as you continue to breastfeed you may feel like you aren’t producing as much milk. Don’t be alarmed. Your body has just become more in tune with your baby’s needs. Just think about it, the two of you have become quite the breastfeeding team! So, listen to your little one and feed whenever he or she seems hungry. Likewise, don’t stop feeding until your baby looses interest. A breastfeeding routine based on your baby’s needs, rather than a strict schedule will help ensure you produce the right amount of milk for your child.

With a new baby, it can be hard to focus on your own health and well-being – but it’s important! So, adjust your perspective and consider your healthy lifestyle a necessary step. Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, get as much sleep as possible and always drink enough water to satisfy your thirst. Some moms even benefit from taking a nursing vacation. This means spending 2 to 3 days breastfeeding, cuddling and relaxing with your baby. The rest will help rejuvenate your body and the time the baby spends at breast will help to activate the hormones that stimulate milk production. On top of that, who doesn’t love cuddling with their little one?

Maintaining your supply can also depend on the breastfeeding habits you develop. It is crucial to make sure your baby is nursing efficiently, because if less milk is removed from the breast, your supply will decrease. Check that your baby is latching properly. Also, avoid the use of bottles and pacifiers until after breastfeeding is well established. Those items can lead to nipple confusion for your baby, making it harder for him or her to nurse. Try “switch nursing,” which means alternating breasts two or three times throughout each feeding. If your baby begins to fall asleep, change breasts to keep your baby alert and interested. Also, gently massage and compress your breasts during feedings. This will encourage your baby to breastfeed longer.

Low milk supply is a very common concern among breastfeeding mothers; so don’t be afraid to ask for support. Feel free to reach out to your healthcare provider or Lactation Consultant for additional tips.

Do you have supply tips of your own? Please share them in the comments below.

38 thoughts on “Tips to Increase Breastmilk Supply

  1. My son is 10 months old and I have been nursing and want to continue past the recommended time,a year. Suggestions…

  2. My baby is 6 weeks today. He would not latch on so I started pumping. I gave up after 2 weeks. Its been 4 weeks since I pumped but I still have milk. I pumped today and expressed a little. Will milk come in more if I keep pumping?

  3. Hi… Im a first time mom with 5month old baby… when i cant continously breastfeed my baby, i introduced to him formula milk.. But my supply of milk became lesser now.. How can i increase it..?

    • Hi Jass,

      Because your breasts produce milk on a supply-and-demand basis, the best thing you can do is pump or breastfeed frequently. If you’ve tried the tips in our blog but are still wanting to increase your supply, we suggest that you reach out to a Lactation Consultant for guidance. Or, you can email our LC by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1pqwQa3.

      Kathy

  4. My 6 week old son has been exclusively breastfed since birth (with an intensely strong latch). I just bought my Freestyle this week and am never sure when to use it. I want it for the purpose of storing in the freezer as well as for the odd bottle to be able to be given to baby by someone other than me. (I’ve tried giving him the bottle with Calma nipple, and he also takes and loves any type of soother without confusion). Do I pump in between feeds even if I don’t feel “full”? Will there then be enough for him at the next feed? He goes 5 hours at night …should I be waking up to pump during that time?? And if we are out and a bottle is more convenient, do I have to pump when he takes a bottle?? (Therefore making it not so convenient).
    Thank you for your time,

    • Hi Kristen,

      There’s no need to wake in the middle of the night to pump if your baby is sleeping through the night unless you’re having trouble with your supply and want to boost it. If you’re simply pumping to establish a storage surplus and to be able to offer a bottle when you’re away occasionally, you can start by pumping after baby feeds and continuing to pump for two minutes after the last drop of milk comes out. You can absolutely pump between feedings even if your breasts don’t feel full (and fullness is not an accurate indicator of your breastmilk supply). Your breasts are producing milk at all times, so your breasts are never empty. You can learn more about how milk production works by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1lf2dFX.

      If you have further questions, our Lactation Consultant can help: http://bit.ly/zvOMx9

      Kathy

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