There are some easy ways to increase breast milk production to ensure that your baby is getting everything he or she needs.
It’s sweet to think about your baby’s suckling communicating with your body as if putting in an order for room service. The more your little one hungrily sucks, the more milk your body produces to satisfy that demand for nourishment. This is how many new mothers think about milk production, but there are a lot of factors that go into determining how much milk your breasts produce at any given time.
Your little one is communicating with your body while sucking, but your hormones also play a part in the milk production process. While you are pregnant, it is hormones that tell your breasts a baby is coming and that baby will need nourishment. Immediately after the birth of your baby, it is hormones that tell your breasts that the baby has arrived and is hungry.
Finally, your little one gets in on the action and starts telling your body how much breast milk he or she needs. The frequency and length of breast feeding sessions will help your body determine how much milk it needs to produce in order to feed the baby without leaving you engorged with too much milk.
If your hormones and baby do their job, it seems like you should naturally produce an abundance of milk that is readily available whenever your baby demands nourishment. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can go wrong and many mothers find themselves struggling to produce adequate amounts of milk for their babies over the long term.
Top Increase Breast Milk Production Tips:
The following 20 tips will tell you how to overcome these problems and keep the milk flowing abundantly.
1. Feed your body the wholesome, healthy foods you would want to feed your baby. A healthy body functions better in every way, so you take care of your baby by taking care of yourself. It is also believed that oatmeal, brown rice and other grains naturally support milk production, so it doesn’t hurt to add those foods into your diet. (Here is a yummy way to do it!)
2. Don’t compress your breasts with tight clothing. Compression is used to stop milk supply, so it is the last thing you want to do when trying to increase supply. Even sleeping on your stomach with your breasts pressed against the mattress can send signals to your body to stop producing milk.
3. Ditch your schedule in favor of an anything-goes attitude toward breastfeeding. Not all women can do this due to work and other obligations, but if you can allow your baby to feed whenever he or she wants, they should naturally feed at a high frequency in order to demand a continuous flow of milk. Allow your child to set the feeding schedule rather than expecting him or her to adjust to your schedule.
4. Invest in a good breast pump and use it wisely. If you cannot breastfeed for an extended period of time, it is important to pump so that your body still receives those signals demanding more milk. You may want to pump before or after a feeding session to help your baby completely empty both breasts during each session. Some mothers even pump one breast while their baby feeds on the other. When and how frequently you pump will depend on your baby’s feeding pattern.
5. Don’t allow your baby to suck on pacifiers or bottles. You want them to save that aggressive feeding action for your breasts, especially if they are not the strongest feeders.
6. If your baby naturally wants to feed in clusters at certain times of the day, allow them to do so. It may require some sacrifice to feed so much in a short period of time, but cluster feeding actually supports healthy milk production by telling your body to produce more in expectation of the next feeding.
7. Encourage longer breastfeeding sessions. Ideally, your baby will empty your breasts at each feeding. This is another signal to your body that more milk is needed.
8. Help your baby out by massaging your breast while they feed. This will allow more milk to express during the feeding, and that increases your chances of emptying your breasts during the feeding. This is a good technique to use with a baby who tends to fall asleep during feedings.
10. Hold your baby close and make sure they are pressed against your skin throughout the feeding. Babies tend to nurse longer when they feel safe and warm against their mother’s skin.
11. Make sure your nipple shields are not interfering with breastfeeding sessions. Sometimes, shields can interfere with the flow of milk from your breast to your baby. This is something to check mainly if your baby seems to struggle during feedings.
12. Eliminate medical problems for low milk production. For instance, some mothers with thyroid disorders struggle to produce adequate amounts of milk. Visit your doctor if you think there is a medical reason for your struggles.
13. Pay attention throughout feeding sessions. If you are talking on the phone or watching television, you won’t notice if your baby is struggling to feed or how long they are feeding. Actively engage with your baby so that you can keep them stimulated and focused on the task at hand. They are much less likely to fall asleep during feedings if you are engaged in the session. For instance, you can switch sides at just the right moment to keep a sleepy baby awake long enough to empty your breasts.
14. Ask for help. Many friends and family members will disappear once your baby is home and everything seems to go back to normal in their lives. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help so that you can spend more time focusing on breastfeeding. Get emotional support as well, even if you have to turn to online forums for mothers.
15. Don’t go on birth control pills unless you have to for an important medical reason. The pill affects your hormone levels which can have an influence on your milk production.
16. If your baby favors one breast, encourage them to nurse from both breasts regardless. You want to encourage even supply of milk from both breasts.
17. Discuss herbal supplements and prescription medications with your doctor. While the research is not conclusive. Some mothers swear by supplements that help stimulate milk production, but remember, everything that goes into your body is passed on to your baby. Get your doctor’s approval first.
18. Make sure your body and mind are relaxed during feedings. If you are tense or upset, you will pass that onto your baby and it will affect the feeding. If you are physically uncomfortable during a feeding, your baby is likely uncomfortable as well. The more comfortable you are, the longer your baby is likely to feed. Some relaxing time in a sauna between feedings is not only a safe option, it also has been proven to relax you while increasing your milk for the next feeding (source).
19. Learn multiple latching techniques and work with your baby to determine what works best for him or her. If your baby seems to struggle with latching and staying latched, try to work with your baby to learn new techniques. If nothing works, consult with a lactation specialist.
20. Don’t feel guilty about the time you spend lounging in bed or in a comfortable chair with your baby. Relaxing your body and nourishing your baby are two of your most important jobs during this period of your life. Spending lots of time cuddling your baby close and allowing him or her to feed on demand will increase your milk supply and help create an unshakeable mother-child bond that lasts their entire lifetime.
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