Many breastfeeding mothers think that they do not have enough breast milk or their breast milk is low. However, the first question that we need to address is whether you really have low milk supply? The easiest way to tell whether your baby is having enough breast milk is to monitor your baby weight gain. If your baby is gaining weight well, you have no issue in breast milk supply.
However, if you need to increase your milk supply, here are some suggestions to boost your breast milk:
- Nurse Frequently - Breast milk supply follows the rule of Demand and Supply. If you have high demand in breast milk, your body will supply more breast milk. In other words, if you nurse your baby more frequently, you are generating a message to your body to generate more breast milk for supply. Your supply will then go up with the demand. You need to ensure that your baby remove more milk from your breast. If there are many left over in the breast, your body may assume that you do not need this much of supply and will result in decrease of milk supply.
- Latching Position – Latching position is important in breastfeeding. A correct latching position will allow the baby to remove or clear the milk from your breast easily and avoid any crack nipple problem. On the other hand, a poor latching position will result in poor clearing of milk, thus decrease the milk supply. Therefore, it is important to learn the correct latching position while you have your lactation consultant with you in the hospital. Get the lactation consultation to check on your latching position , so that she can advice whether you have the correct latching position. It is important to understand that all babies are unique, hence you need to learn and adjust to a latching position that best fit both of you.
- Feed on Demand – It is important to feed your baby on demand basis. It could be ranging from 2 – 4 hourly, depends on your baby needs. If your baby is sleeping and it is more than 3-4 hours since you last feed your baby, you should wake your baby up to nurse. Hence, it is important for you to monitor the breastfeeding time. Do not let your baby sleep more than 4 hours without feeding. Again, according to Demand and Supply ruling, the lesser your feed your baby, the lesser your body will produce the breast milk.
- Use of Breast Pump – You may opt to use the breast pump to assist you in clearing your breast milk after latching your baby. Breast pump will help to clear the milk that is leftover in the breast and able to generate the message to your body to generate more milk.
- Eat and Drink Well – Breastfeeding is burning 200-500 calories per day. Therefore, it is important for you to eat and drink well. Balance meals and healthy snacks are important to replenish energy to your body. Food such as fish, papaya, soup, oatmeal, dark green veggies will be helpful in boosting your milk supply. Drinking more waters are important because 90% of the breast milk is made up of water. Therefore, it is especially important to keep yourself hydrated at all time. Avoid consuming too much caffeine and alcohol. These will interfere the milk supply.
- Relax and Rest Well – Get enough rest whenever you can. Breastfeeding is a long journey. It is important that you get a nap whenever your baby is sleeping. High stress level and exhaustion will affect the milk supply.
- Milk Bottle and Pacifier – Avoid introducing milk bottle and pacifier to your baby at the early stage. Milk bottle has a faster flow compare to the breast. Pacifier is comforting to baby. If we were to introduce these items to baby at the early stage, they may not like to latch on your breast as they need to work harder to get the milk flow from your breast compare to the bottle. If you really need to feed them with the milk bottle at the early stage, feed them with a small spoon. It will be much slower in feeding, but it will not affect your breastfeeding and milk supply.
In short, it is important that you must first believe that you can breastfeed your baby well and have enough supply for the baby. Do not stress up or feel insecure with the milk supply that you cannot see and judge. Just make sure you feed on demand basis, eat, drink and rest well, you shall have sufficient milk supply for your baby. If your baby is gaining weight well, you have no issue in milk supply.
1. “Too little breast milk? How to increase low milk supply” Medela
2. Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC “Increasing Low Milk Supply” Kelly Mom Parenting Breastfeeding, 14th January 2018
3. Sarah Novak “Breastfeeding and Low Milk Supply” What to expect, 28th January 2019
4. Donna Murray, RN, BSN “Naturally Increasing Your Breast Milk Supply” Very Well Family, 20th April 2020