How to increase your milk supply!

ASK, BABY, PARENTING, YOU

ahp-ask-image-Increase_Milk_Supply

If you wish to increase your milk supply for storage, or you fear you don’t have enough, here’s the routine that I found worked best for me without fighting the pump (I have done that too). I am not sure who told me about this routine, but nothing has worked better.

I do wish to say one thing before I start this article. It has been proven repeatedly in wet-nurse studies that the huge majority of women can produce enough milk for at least 4 babies and most likely more (1). Additional studies of wet nurses (80-plus-years-old) have shown that even with their age they can produce large quantities of milk… amounts more than I have ever produced. I also have never had 4, 8 or 12 babies nursing in a day. Breastfeeding is based on supply and demand. In my experience, most women, including myself, wish their breasts worked more like a faucet than the reality. If one had faucet-like breasts, pumping and storage of extra milk would be extraordinarily easy. I encourage moms to worry less about the amount of milk they are producing (or think they are yielding from their breasts) and trust in their bodies and babies. Unless your baby is dropping weight or showing other concerning signs, don’t stress out.

I also suggest looking into other alternatives for the source of the problem, if you think there is one. Focusing on supply has caused many of my friends not to realize other health concerns. An example of a complication, in particular nearly a dozen of my friends/acquaintances have missed due to their fixation on increasing their supply (their words, not mine), their babies had a tongue-tie, their supply was never a problem. I would go as far to say probably 98% of all my nursing friends have thought their milk production was low, including myself, when statistically it is extremely unlikely. If your supply is indeed low, it is conceivablely due to a low water or calorie intake, or exhaustion. If you think exhaustion may be the culprit, I suggest that you pump at the times I have suggested below and ask your partner to feed the baby for the first middle of the night feed for a few nights and then after if it works for you, your partner and baby.

If you are working, pumping for a break, or an emergency, then the above doesn’t apply to you, and I am sorry I put you through it! 😉 The thoughts above are not a criticism… I want to make that clear. Remember, I have been there as well. I struggled and stressed over the pump, I was constantly thinking there was something wrong with my body, when there was nothing amiss at all. The above was written to encourage you. There is a very low chance your supply is inadequate. It may be a moms “job” to worry. Just try not to worry yourself too much.

This plan is easiest if your baby is on a sleep schedule, but can be achieved without one. I know for many, the thought of having their child on a sleep schedule can be considered offensive to some. I am not encouraging one, just stating that it makes increasing your milk supply easier.

Increase Your Milk Supply

you wake-up

15 minutes before you baby wakes up, pump 1 ounce from each breast

wake up baby

He/she should be given a full feed from both breasts

eat

it’s important that you eat and drink water

rest

if possible, rest as much as you can 2 hours after waking

nurse & pump

3 hours after his/her last feeding, nurse one side

then pump the other, express 1 to 2 ounces

after you have pumped, offer baby second breast

if your baby doesn’t like waiting to be offered the second breast until after you have pumped, you can pump prior to the feed

nurse

2 hours after the last feeding, have your baby nurse from one breast. If you prefer to bottle feed at this time, offer your baby 2 ounces of expressed milk.

nurse

2 hours after the last feeding, have your baby nurse from one breast. If you prefer to bottle feed at this time, offer your baby 2 ounces of expressed milk.

then pump the other, express 1 to 2 oz.

After you have pumped, offer baby second breast, the same breast you just pumped from. Remember, your baby is far more efficient than the pump at stimulating let down.

nurse

3 hours after his/her last feeding, offer a full feed from both sides

nurse, then bed

1.5 hours after his/her last feeding, offer a full feed from both sides

If your baby seems hungry, offer some expressed milk.

wake-up nurse

Depending on your baby’s schedule, it should be about 10 to 11pm, wake baby up and offer a full feed or pump both breasts.

sleep

After this last feeding I highly encourage moms to get as much sleep as they can.

If and when your baby wakes up, offer a full feed. You want your breast to be emptied, if possible.

Typically after 3 days, most will find their breasts much fuller. Continue with the routine for 7  to 10 days, even if you have more milk after 3 or 4.

information

How do you count time between feeds?

From the time your baby starts nursing. Don’t calculate from the time he/she has finished feeding.

Drink a ton of water!

Don’t forget to drink water. You need liquid to produce more liquid. The water in your food isn’t going to be enough to produce milk for your baby. I know so many moms that barely drink anything and are severely dehydrated.

eat

Forgetting to eat is never a problem for me, but it is for a lot of moms. You need fuel to produce milk.

rest

If you have more than one baby, getting enough rest may be impossible. To help with the ability to rest, I made “downtime” a fun activity for my eldest when my newborn was sleeping. We would get “cozy,” dim the lights and snuggle, or sometimes read a book. It was our special time. She began to crave our alone time and would “rest” sometime with some almond milk as much as I needed.

general breastfeeding

Breastfeeding requires time/work. If you are finding nursing terribly tedious, I don’t say that to discourage breastfeeding. I myself have breastfed for 5 years of my life so far and now I have a newborn, so my breastfeeding journey is staring all over again. The first year of breastfeeding is full of growth spurts, far less sleep than most would like, and likely most of the burden falls on the nursing mother… but the experience is rewarding.

Good luck and remember stress doesn’t help in increasing your supply!

 

sources

(1) Macy IG, Huncher HA, Donelson E, et al: Human Milk Flow, American J. Dis Child, 6:492, 1930

“Macy reported that in his 1920s study, wet nurses easily produced 3.5 liters of milk, 4 times what the norm mother produces. If the breasts were stimulated further, the 3.5 liters (about 4 U.S. quarts) could be surpassed.”


Disclaimer

I am not the authority on any topic asked in this forum. For questions that may have medical implications, please consult your doctor or midwife. The purpose of this section of the site is to provide support, help, or a sounding board for individuals. Whether a person is going through struggles, would like to know they’re not alone, or find out which bottle worked best for my children, I will do my best to answer. There are going to be many ways to reply to all questions posted. I am merely providing my perspective. This forum is not meant for debate.

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