When you’re in the early days of caring for a breastfed baby, nothing can be more stressful than worrying if you’re producing enough breast milk. It can seem like every cry, hiccup, burp or whimper from your baby is a signal he/she isn’t getting enough milk.
After successfully breastfeeding three babies, including a set of twins, I feel like I’ve come to know a lot of ways to boost milk supply and build an adequate stash. The first thing I tell my friends just starting out breastfeeding is to relax and trust your baby. Do they seem content after eating? Do they sleep well? Are they having plenty of wet diapers? Then you’re most likely doing great.
However, if you suspect or worry that you have a low milk supply, there are ways to increase breast milk production quickly. These are some tactics I’ve personally had success with when it comes to producing more breast milk and building a supply.
Tips to Boost Your Milk Supply
- Nurse on demand
- Power pump
- Make lactation cookies
- Try a lactation supplement drink
- Breast massage
- Eat and drink more
- Get more rest
- Offer both sides when nursing
- Find a lactation consultant
- Replace pumping parts
Nurse on Demand
Your milk supply is based on supply and demand. The more your baby nurses, the more milk you’ll produce (theoretically). Let your baby nurse on demand when you’re building your supply, and your body should respond by boosting milk production.
Power PumpA great way to boost your milk supply quickly is to power pump. Essentially for 2-3 days in a row, you pump after every nursing session for 10-20 minutes. This fully empties your breasts and signals to your body to make more milk. If you’re already exclusively pumping, you can achieve this by pumping more frequently and for longer for 2-3 days.
Make Lactation Cookies
Try to incorporate foods that increase milk supply in your diet. In the early days of breastfeeding, I had friends make several batches of some delicious lactation cookies for me to snack on. There are a variety of lactation cookie recipes, but the key to boost milk production is to include galactagogues, or milk-stimulating foods, like brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, flax seed meal and whole oats.
Try a Lactation Supplement Drink
I made sure to drink Premama's lactation supplement drink mix every day to boost milk supply. It provides natural lactation support because it’s formulated with fennel seed, fenugreek and blessed thistle to help boost milk production. It includes key lactation vitamins like folic acid, vitamin D3 and calcium for added breast milk nutrition. I really noticed a difference in my supply once I added Premama Lactation into my daily routine.
Breast Massage While Nursing or Pumping
A hospital lactation consultant introduced me to breast massage or compression while nursing after the birth of my twins. They didn’t have a great latch and every attempt to drink needed to be maximized. She showed me a simple way to massage and compress in order to push more milk out with each nursing session. This also applies well when pumping to help you fully empty.
Eat and Drink More
As busy as it can be caring for a newborn, I’ve learned that to increase milk supply a nursing mom MUST prioritize eating and drinking enough throughout the day. Nothing can tank a milk supply faster than being hungry or dehydrated. I took to carrying a snack and water bottle with me everywhere I went so I was constantly reminded to keep eating and drinking.
Get More Rest
A good nights sleep or a great nap can do wonders for your milk supply. When you’re burning the candle at both ends, your body gets worn down. Making sure you are as rested as possible can help your body operate at it’s optimum and can help boost milk production.
Offer Both Sides When Nursing
Even if your baby seems uninterested, try offering both breasts when nursing. This will stimulate more milk production. If your baby is too sleepy, try taking his/her clothes off and tickling her until she perks up. Another option is to pump on the side your baby isn’t nursing on.
Find a Lactation Consultant
A lactation consultant is your best option for getting an expert opinion on what may be causing your low milk supply. He/she can ensure your baby’s latching well, you’re in the best nursing position, have the right fit with your pumping parts and provide general advice and encouragement.
Replace Pumping Parts
Providing breast milk for your baby is a great way to start their life. Follow the tips above to begin producing more breast milk and of course, seek expert advice if necessary. Good luck on your breastfeeding journey!
~ Liz, Mom Blogger
1. What are some foods that can help increase milk supply?
- To boost your milk supply, consider incorporating foods known as galactagogues into your diet. These foods stimulate milk production and include items like brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, flax seed meal, and whole oats. You can include these in your meals or make lactation cookies to enjoy these benefits.
2. What helps produce breast milk, and how soon does it replenish after breastfeeding?
- The production of breast milk is primarily driven by the principle of supply and demand. The more your baby nurses, the more milk you'll produce. After breastfeeding, it typically takes about 1-2 hours for your body to start replenishing milk. However, the full replenishment may take a bit longer, usually around 2-5 hours, depending on various factors like your baby's feeding patterns and your hydration and nutrition status.
3. When should I seek the help of a lactation consultant to improve my milk supply?
- If you suspect that you have a low milk supply or are facing difficulties with breastfeeding, it's a good idea to consult a lactation consultant. They can provide expert guidance on issues like latching problems, proper nursing positions, and ensuring your pumping equipment fits correctly. They can also offer encouragement and support throughout your breastfeeding journey. If you have concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant for assistance.