The majority of mothers produce enough breast milk to meet the needs of their growing babies, but there are certain factors that can put a woman at risk for low milk supply like infrequent feedings, previous breast surgery, thyroid problems, hormonal insufficiency, diabetes, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. In most cases, you can naturally increase your milk supply. Here are our top 5 tips to help you increase your milk production:
Ensure a proper latch. A good latch is one of the main elements to successful breastfeeding. When a baby is latched on correctly, moms avoid the risk of nipple soreness and can breastfeed comfortably, allowing the baby to transfer milk successfully. If a baby is not latching well and milk is constantly being left behind in the breast, milk production will automatically decrease. If you’re unable to achieve a comfortable latch or baby is still hungry after a long nursing session, be sure to seek help from a lactation consultant!
Pumping Mamas: Make sure to get your flanges fitted correctly. This can help decrease nipple pain and improve output.
Increase breast stimulation and drainage. Breastfeeding functions by the law of supply and demand, meaning the more the breast is stimulated and emptied, the more it refills with milk. You should aim to breastfeed at least 8 times per 24 hours and then pump after feeding to ensure full drainage. Using a hospital-grade pump is highly recommended for women who are trying to establish a milk supply.
Practice breast massage. Studies show that practicing breast massage while breastfeeding and pumping helps increase milk output by up to 48%! Hand compression and massage help to compress the ducts and empty the breast more effectively. Many moms use the LaVie Lactation Massager to massage the breast while baby is nursing or during pumping sessions to help fully empty the breast. While massaging alone does not directly increase milk supply, it will help you drain the breast more effectively which then signals your body to produce more.
Eat & drink enough. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got the energy to produce enough milk and care for your little one. Research suggests eating a minimum of 1800 calories per day from a variety of healthy foods and drinking to thirst. It's very common to experience increased thirst while breastfeeding due to the oxytocin release so be sure to keep a water bottle within arms reach!
- Consider taking a galactagogue. Galactagogues are natural foods or herbs that are known to increase milk supply. Fenugreek, alfalfa sprout, goat’s rue, mullungay, blessed thistle and fennel seed are herbs and that help many women produce more milk.
For many moms, implementing these suggestions will gradually help increase milk production as long as the underlying issue is identified. If nothing seems to help increase your milk supply, it’s important to seek professional help from a Board Certified Lactation Consultant to figure out the root of the cause.
The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.