Five tips to help boost your milk supply
By Sara Keli
Having a new baby can be stressful enough without having to worry about if you’re producing enough milk for you baby. If you have a low milk supply, all is not lost! There are many things you can do to increase your supply and go on to have a long and happy breastfeeding journey.
Also remember that if your baby is having an adequate number of wet nappies in a 24-hour period, and they’re putting on weight, chances are your milk supply is just fine. Speak to your midwife, GP or a lactation consultant if you’re ever worried about your about your baby’s feeding.
Switch up how you feed
One of the keys to regular and consistent milk supply is that at each feed, the breast is emptied. When the breast is emptied it signals your body to produce more milk.
So how do you ensure your breasts are being emptied at each feed? Firstly, alternate which breast you start with for each feed, and always offer baby the second breast once they have finished with the first. For example, for your morning feed you might start with the left breast, and when your baby has drained that breast you offer them the right breast. At your next feed, start with the right breast.
If you’re concerned that your baby isn’t emptying the breast at each feed, you can also use a breast pump at the end of the feed.
Pump between feeds
If you have the time, you can also pump in between feeds to help increase your supply. Be sure to pump for a few minutes after the last drops of milk to be sure that you have drained the breast as much as you can.
Just remember that the amount of milk you get from your breast pump isn’t necessarily a reflection of your milk supply, as a baby is far more efficient at draining the breast than a pump is. Some women have more than enough milk for their baby but can only ever get a small amount if they pump. You can check our parent reviews of the best breast pumps to find the best pump for you.
Try breastfeeding cookies
Breastfeeding cookies contain galactagogues that can help to increase the flow of your milk. They aren’t a catch-all solution, but can help. The ingredients to make breastfeeding cookies are commonly available in supermarkets, including brewer’s yeast and oats, so you can try to make them at home – google for a good recipe.
Alternatively there are many commercially available breastfeeding cookie options, along with breastfeeding bliss balls, cereals and tea.
Get some rest
This is a tough one. When you’re breastfeeding, you need to ensure you’re getting some rest to allow your body to do its work of producing milk. Take up any offers of help with housework or looking after the baby so you can get some rest when the baby is resting or doesn’t need a feed. Remember that this is such a short season in your life, and getting some well-timed sleep will help in so many ways.
Drink more water and look after yourself
Breastfeeding is thirsty work! As any breastfeeding mum knows, you need to keep up your fluids – and your food – to fuel your body for those feeding marathons.
To make it easier to stay hydrated, take a glass or bottle of water with you for each feed and be sure to keep drinking while you are feeding your baby.
Some mums also choose to take postnatal vitamins and supplements – some of the products are designed to help improve breastfeeding, while others focus on the mum’s nutritional needs.
If you are concerned about low milk supply, the best place to seek advice is with your GP or a lactation consultant. They can calm your fears about whether your baby is getting enough milk or not and help you increase your supply.