Are you having trouble producing breast milk? If your baby is gaining weight on breast milk alone and isn't fussy, you likely do not have a problem. However, if your child is not gaining weight and you are both struggling, this article covers some breastfeeding tips and methods to help increase your supply.
How to increase breast milk production:
- Remain dedicated. First and foremost, the best breastfeeding advice is to remain dedicated. You made the best decision by choosing to breast feed. Sometimes it isn't easy but remember that it provides your baby with nature's best method of nutrition.
- Know the proper techniques. For some mothers and babies, breastfeeding is second nature. Others have to work at it. There are several resources to learn the proper feeding techniques that will allow your baby to feed the right way, thus letting your body produce more breast milk.
- Eliminate daily stress. Stress is one of the most common factors in breast feeding issues. Eliminate as much stress as you can by letting others help out. Whether it is dishwashing, doing laundry or cleaning your house, try to find some extra help. Enroll your other kids in extra chores or ask a family member or friend to help out for a short while.
- Get some rest . Taking care of an infant can be very hard work. Make sure you get some rest. Yes it can be easier said than done, but at the very least follow the advice of sleeping (or resting) while baby sleeps.
- Keep hydrated . Drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day will increase breast milk supplies. Your body can't produce fluids unless you are replenishing it with fluids. Try to avoid caffeine or many beverages with sugar in them.
- Feed yourself! This is a busy time but don't forget to eat. Nutrition is as important during breast feeding as it was while you were pregnant. You don't have to eat tip top foods but try to get basics in you diet to not only pass nutrients on to your baby, but to keep your body performing. Have lots of easy-to-eat fruit on hand and try to grab that for a light snack instead of candy or chocolate.
- No pacifiers or bottles. If your baby is a newborn, introducing alternate nipples into the situation may cause confusion. An older baby should be able to easily switch between bottle and breast, but while you are trying to increase your supply, let your baby find comfort and food from you. If you are certain your baby is not getting enough breast milk, supplement by using a dropper, syringe or spoon.
- Increase frequency. Milk supply is produced according to the law of supply and demand, so if you want to increase milk supply, try either increasing your feedings or pumping small amounts frequently between feedings to stimulate production.
- Plan a breastfeeding retreat. Lock yourself and baby away for a couple of days and focus solely on breastfeeding as much as possible. You will not only stimulate breast milk production, but you will get some much needed rest!
- Alternate breasts. Allow your baby to nurse on one breast while she is actively swallowing. When she slows down, offer the alternate breast. On your next feeding, start with the breast you finished on.
- Sling feed. Keep your baby in a sling throughout the day close to your breasts. When she is hungry, she will have it readily available, helping you to produce more due to frequent feedings. This is a good method for increasing milk supply.
- Let your baby end the feeding. Allow her to end her own feeding when she is ready. This may lead to longer nursing and more stimulation. You will know she is done and satisfied when she falls asleep and detaches from your breast.
- Try herbal supplements. This supplement contains chemicals close to the estrogen hormone and can help to increase milk supply.
- Avoid nursing distractions. Find a quiet place to breastfeed. Your baby will focus more on the task at hand rather than the chaos around you.
- Ask for help. If, after trying these steps, you are still facing problems with how to increase breast milk or other issues with lactating breasts, contact a lactation consultant or your local La Leche League for help and support.