If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, you may be wondering how to increase milk supply.
All breastfeeding mummies worry about it at some point: Is my baby getting enough milk? Will they be OK?
Well, the main thing to know about breastfeeding, one that will probably give you some peace of mind, is that it works on demand. The more your baby wants, the more milk your body will create, so, if breastfeeding has already been established, the increasing of milk supply will happen on its own, as your baby sucks for more! Here you have some breastfeeding tips for some extra help.
But the thing is, we can’t really measure how much our little one is eating, or measure the increase of breast milk as they eat. This is why needing to increase milk supply is more often a perception of the worried mummy more than a real, existing need.
But is it possible to really need to increase milk supply? Well, yes. There are some women who can’t produce enough milk even if breastfeeding correctly, but this is very rare. If you’re worried about not having enough milk, first of all, talk to your GP or a lactation specialist to revise your expectations. Many mummies expect their babies to sleep through the night too soon, and when they don’t, they think they may need to increase milk supply.
Don’t miss the following tips to increase milk supply – You will see how they are just the common rules for successful breastfeeding, and you will get some peace of mind.
Tips to increase milk supply
The best way to increase milk supply and guarantee that our little one is getting enough nourishment is by breastfeeding correctly. The following tips are focused on that!
Here’s how to increase milk production:
- Start as soon as possible. It’s best to start breastfeeding during the first hour after your baby’s birth. The baby will start latching immediately and you won’t worry about increasing your milk supply.
- Feed the baby on demand. Breastfed babies don’t have any schedules, so forget about the clock. Fixed times are for formula fed babies, since then the mummies have to make sure to give them a determined amount of milk. That is not the case with breastfed babies: each of them has their own feeding schedule, which will regulate in time.
- Make sure he’s latching on correctly: The more your baby eats, the more you can increase milk supply. They need to take the whole nipple in their mouth to latch correctly – your midwife will teach you how if you have doubts. Besides, latching incorrectly could have other nasty consequences for you, like sore or cracked nipples.
- One breast, and then the other: In order to increase milk supply, make sure both breasts are empty. They will produce more milk like that! So, first, give the baby one breast and don’t give him the other until there is no more milk. You will know because your little one will seem more uncomfortable, or will start falling asleep.
- Take care of yourself: Eat a healthy diet and get as much rest as you can. The better you are, the better your milk! Since you are producing food for your little one as well, you will need to eat from 300 to 500 extra calories a day. Make sure they’re healthy calories, though! Here you have the top 9 foods to avoid when breastfeeding.
- Stress is your enemy: If you’re stressed or uncomfortable, your baby will feel it and breastfeeding will be more difficult.
- Drink lots of water: That’s right! It’s important that you stay hydrated. You can keep a bottle of water with you, so you can control how much you’re drinking during the day.
- Wait on the dummy: Dummies are not pernicious for breastfeeding per se, but they can make things more difficult if it’s proving already difficult for your baby. Sometimes, the baby gets used to the artificial teat and rejects the breast. So, if you think you were thinking on increasing milk production, wait for a while before you give him the dummy.
You may be tempted to give your little one a formula supplement if you think he’s not eating enough. Well, it’s better not to do that unless your doctor recommends it. If the lactation is established and well, and you are able to feed your baby on demand, your breast should be producing enough food for the baby. A formula supplement would provoke that your baby latches less, since he will be satisfied with the bottle, and your breasts will interpret that they need to produce less milk.
Get help to increase milk supply
If none of these tips are working, ask for help. Tell your GP, and he or she will refer you to a lactation specialist. They will be able to tell you exactly how to breastfeed, and will look into other possible reasons why breastfeeding’s not working. A lactation consultant is the best option especially if you don’t want to introduce bottle feeding just yet, since there are many doctors who recommend introducing the formula supplement. You will need to do this if your baby stars to lose weight, or doesn’t grow enough, but if your baby is fine and you want to keep trying to breastfeed, the lactation specialist would be the way to go.
It’s important that you don’t despair or feel less of a mother for it. And remember that even if there isn’t a more perfect food than breast milk, baby formula is also a healthy option.
Don’t stress over the need to increase milk supply. As we said before, many times it is just a perception of the worried mummy, and the baby is fine and eating enough. If you take your little one to the required well-child visits and your paediatrician tells you that they’re growing and putting on weight fine, there’s no need for you to worry.