What Are Some Tips to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply?
Frequent stimulation of the breasts, by breastfeeding or pumping during the first few days and weeks after birth, is very important to establish a good milk supply.
Try the following suggestions to increase your milk supply:
Empty breasts frequently
- Breastfeed your baby more often, at least eight or more times in 24 hours.
- Offer both breasts at each feeding.
- Massage breasts while baby is nursing.
- Ensure the baby is completely emptying your breasts at each feeding.
- Avoid use of bottles without also expressing your milk to maintain supply.
Using a breast pump
- Pump eight or more times per day. Use a hospital-grade pump with a double kit. Ask your lactation consultant for help in obtaining a pump.
- Pump for two minutes after your milk stops flowing to build a good milk supply.
- Hand express some drops of breast milk before and after pumping to start the flow of milk and fully drain the breast when pumping. View video: Hand Expression of Breast Milk: Exactly How to Perform This Technique, by Sarah Trinajstich.
- Pump both breasts at the same time to increase milk supply and save time.
- Ensure proper fit of pump flange. Meet with lactation staff if you need help.
- Avoid long times (more than five hours) between pumping sessions.
Pumping will usually take about 15-20 minutes. Some mothers find it helpful to keep a written log of time spent pumping and volume of pumped milk. Talk to your lactation consultant about what your milk volumes should be in 24 hours.
Help your let-down reflex
- Listen to relaxing music. This can help milk supply and fat content of milk.
- Look at a picture of your baby or have a piece of your baby’s clothing or blanket that has your baby’s scent on it close by, or pump where you can see your baby.
- Hold your baby skin to skin and pump right after. This lowers the stress for both you and your baby and can increase milk supply.
- Apply warmth to your breasts and use breast massage before and during pumping to increase milk production and the calories in your milk. View video: Maximizing Milk Production with Hands-On Pumping. How to Use Your Hands When You Pump, by Dr. Jane Morton.
- Use a hands-free pumping bra to free your hands to perform breast massage while pumping to maximize your milk supply.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with a variety of foods. Keep a water bottle with you and drink plenty of water.
- Check with your doctor before taking any medicines or galactogogues (medicines or herbs to increase milk supply), as some medicines can affect milk supply.
- Use relaxation or do slow, deep, relaxed breathing and relax your shoulders. Get a back massage.
- Reduce stress and activity as much as possible, get help from friends, family or your community.
- Limit alcohol, caffeine and smoking. Avoid severe weight loss diets.
With time and effort you will likely see an improvement within a few days. Your baby will be glad you did! Check with your doctor for any medical concerns.