Breastfeeding mamas know the pressures of producing enough milk for their little ones, especially during the first few months when the baby’s entire food and nourishment supply relies on you. If your baby eats more than you can produce or pump, then the heat is on and it can get quite stressful. But relax mamas, you got this. And here are a few ways you can increase your breastmilk supply:
Drink lots of water.
And we mean A LOT. Breastmilk is made up of 88% water, so if you are not drinking a lot of fluids, you can get dehydrated, which can then adversely affect your milk supply. Ensure that you drink at least 8 ounces of water 8 times a day. This may seem a lot, but the best way to do this is by making it easier for yourself — such as using straws or bottles with measurements. You can also set small goals for yourself throughout the day to make it easier to gulp it down.
Check your latch.
A shallow latch can also adversely affect your supply, so ensure that your baby has a proper, deep latch. Also, note that it’s called breastfeeding and not nipple feeding for a reason. Ensure that your baby has a wide open mouth, with your nipple going back towards his mouth, and he should latch onto your whole areola.
Avoid pacifiers, nipple shields, and bottles as much as possible.
The less time your baby spends on your breast, the less your nipples are being stimulated, and the fewer signals for your body to produce more milk. Offer your breasts and let your baby latch on as much as possible, as this is the ultimate signal for your body to produce more milk for your baby.
Avoid or ultimately make-do without the formula or top-ups.
“Topping up” with formula means following up breastfeeding with formula bottle feeding. And doing so also minimizes your baby’s time on your breasts, which can again affect your milk supply. A mother’s milk production entirely depends on her baby’s demand, and the only way for her body to sense this demand is to let her baby dictate it. And the only way baby can do this successfully is by letting him latch on.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Breastfeeding mothers burn more calories than a non-breastfeeding woman and thus need more of it every day. So this may not be the best time to go on a diet — unless it is specifically a breastfeeding friendly diet. Ensure that you are getting enough proteins (to keep you full and your blood sugar levels stable), good fats (from avocados, butter, eggs, chia seeds, seafood), fresh veggies, and even nuts. You can also opt for galactagogues such as oatmeal, malunggay and fenugreek supplements, or even lactation goodies from mompreneurs.
Spend as much time as possible with your baby.
A surefire way to boost your milk supply is to give your baby 24/7 access to your breasts and spending lots of skin to skin time — as this helps produce oxytocin, which is also involved in milk production.
Get help ASAP.
If you are still struggling with your milk supply or with breastfeeding in general, then reach out for help as soon as you can. Consult your OB, Pedia or Lactation Consultant ASAP, or connect with Breastfeeding support groups in social media.
Remember, getting stressed out over your breastfeeding and milk supply issues can also contribute to a decrease in your supply. So relax and keep on breastfeeding your baby!