As a first-time mom, I had no clue that I’d be so obsessed with my milk supply once my baby was born. Supply seems to be a common concern among mothers and it makes sense. When you are nursing, you can’t see how much the baby is drinking. When you are pumping, you can see how much you are producing and it becomes your main focus.
We all want to make sure that our babies are getting enough food to keep them satisfied and healthy. I’ve done a lot of research and wanted to share what I’ve found to help increase your milk supply.
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*This post is not intended to provide medical advice as I am not a doctor. I have put together this information through my own and other moms’ suggestions. Consult your healthcare provider for your specific health questions and needs.
Do you need to increase your milk supply?
First of all, you can determine if you need to increase your milk supply in the first place. As I mentioned before, if you are nursing, you may be wondering how much your baby is getting and if it’s enough.
There is a general rule that most go by to determine if their breastfed baby is getting enough to eat. As long as the following conditions are met, your baby should be getting the right amount of milk:
- Baby is gaining enough weight
- Baby is producing enough wet/dirty diapers
You can check in with your pediatrician to determine if your baby is gaining enough weight and how many diapers they expect them to soil in a day. Most people look for at least 6 wet diapers a day but this will vary with age. I’ve also learned that breastfed babies can go days without pooping which is totally normal. It’s also normal for them to go several times a day. You can check with your pediatrician with any concerns in that department as well.
How to Increase Your Breastmilk Supply
Once you’ve determined that you want to increase your milk supply, there are a lot of different things you can try. There is no one answer for everyone since our bodies are different. These approaches have been recommended by other mothers. You should consult your healthcare provider on what is best for you and your baby.
Supply and Demand
The most common advice given to mothers trying to increase their supply is to nurse or pump more often. When you remove milk, your body is signaled to make more. By frequently and consistently removing milk, your body will adjust to your baby’s needs.
The amount removed is also important in telling your body to make more milk. You want to try to empty (as much as possible) your breast during each feeding/pumping session. If you are nursing, you can do this by pumping after your feeding session.
You can massage your breasts while nursing or pumping to help empty completely. A lot of moms recommend the massager below not only for emptying but also to release clogs that can cause mastitis.
Most moms trying to boost their milk supply are feeding or pumping every 2-3 hours.
When you are skin-to-skin with your baby, your body releases hormones that can boost milk production. You can do skin-to-skin while feeding and snuggling to help your supply. If you are pumping, keep your baby on or near you if possible. I’ve also heard moms who say looking at their baby or a picture of their baby while pumping helps them produce more.
Foods and Supplements to Increase Milk Supply
A healthy, balanced diet seems to be key in milk supply. Make sure that you are eating enough healthy calories to sustain your body and your breastmilk. You can talk to your healthcare provider about your own specific needs.
These foods are frequently recommended by moms who have boosted their breastmilk supply:
- Lactation cookies – there are tons of recipes online, most containing oatmeal, flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast
- Foods high in protein
- Foods high in iron
- Dark green vegetables
- Prenatal/postnatal supplements to support your body after birth
- *Brewer’s yeast – a lot of moms report that this makes them/their babies gassy
- *Fenugreek – a lot of moms report an adverse effect with fenugreek, use with caution
- Milk thistle
- Goat’s Rue
Companies have made snacks and supplements specifically for lactation. Some mothers swear by these and some have spent a lot of money with no luck. I would suggest only purchasing a few to try or making your own at home. You can try out these easy oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies that I made. There are some drinks made specifically for lactation that work for many people. Be aware of the ingredients as some, like fenugreek, can have an adverse effect. Here are some of the popular recommendations:
Drinks to Increase Milk Supply
Staying hydrated is one of the most recommended ways I’ve seen to increase your milk supply. Electrolites are also recommended by many.
These drinks are frequently recommended by moms who have boosted their breastmilk supply:
- Coconut water
- Lactation teas
- Body Armor
- Gatorade – specifically the blue ones
There are some drinks made specifically for lactation that work for many people. Be aware of the ingredients as some, like fenugreek, can have an adverse effect. Here are some of the popular recommendations:
Correct Breastpump Sizing
I had no clue that there were multiple sizes for flanges when I ordered my breast pump. A lot of moms report that they need smaller flanges than the standard 24-28 mm that come with most pumps. Have a lactation consultant help you find the right size. You can also measure at home to find the right size for you. It depends on the breastpump but typically, you measure your nipple and add 3-5 mm to get the correct flange.
Replace Breastpump Parts
I also didn’t know that breastpumps had so many parts that need to be replaced! Check with your specific pump to see what parts need to be replaced and how often. Old or broken parts can contribute to your pump not working efficiently and can affect your supply over time if you aren’t getting empty.
Find a Lactation Consultant
A knowledgeable lactation consultant can help you with your supply. There may be something you are missing such as a tongue or lip tie in your baby that is preventing them from latching correctly. Having someone assess you can be so helpful in your breastfeeding journey! Some insurances even cover the cost for a LC so look into meeting with one.
Increasing Your Breastmilk Supply
Hopefully some of these tips have been helpful in increasing your milk supply. Do you have any tips that have worked for you that I missed? Please let me know in the comments!
Producing enough milk can be stressful but please give yourself some grace and relax. Extra stress can ruin your supply. Do your best and consult with your pediatrician to find the best path for you and your baby.