How to Produce More Breast Milk
by Laura Wilson
There are a number of ways to boost your milk supply. These ideas may help if you’re not sure where to start:
- Start breastfeeding as soon as you can. If you can, try not to wait too long after the birth of your baby to begin breastfeeding and holding your little one skin to skin. However, in some cases, like if you’re recovering from a caesarean section, you may end up starting to breastfeed later. If there are delays in when you can start breastfeeding, you can still stimulate your breasts by massage so they do not become unable to produce enough milk.
- Express breast milk or use a breast pump regularly. The more you can express breast milk, the more breast milk you’ll produce. This is also a good option if you’re breastfeeding and returning to work.
- Breastfeed often. Your baby will probably want to feed 8 or more times a day. If your baby feeds often, you can use a breast pump or express by hand between feeds so your breasts will continue to be stimulated into making more milk.
- Make sure your baby is latching on properly. It’s important your baby has latched on correctly and swallows while feeding. If in doubt, a breastfeeding specialist, midwife, or your health advisor will be able to help you confirm your baby has latched on and is swallowing properly. If you still doubt, you can pump breast milk and feed your baby on your chest to still create the skin to skin bond.
- Feed from both breasts. Remember to alternate between breasts. Both need to be drained to produce more milk. You can also use a pump to express any built-up milk.
- Don’t skip feeding times. You’ll want to keep your feeding schedule up. If you’re working while breastfeeding and you’re pumping breast milk, try not to miss any sessions, as this can affect your milk supply. Most employers will be understanding of your need to take breaks to pump so long as you communicate the need ahead of time.
- Talk to your GP or health advisor about medications. Some medications can decrease milk production. Discuss your medication options with your doctor, as solutions may be available that are suitable to take while breastfeeding. Some medications may also pass through your breast milk to the baby, so you may need to reduce the dose or stop taking the medication for the duration of breastfeeding.
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Even if you feel your milk supply is on the low side, there are steps you can take to boost your breast milk production. By following these tips and talking with your health advisor or doctor, you can make sure your baby is getting the nourishment he or she needs. Don’t forget that there are numerous resources available including breastfeeding classes and coaching.