Tips To Increase Breast Milk Supply
Many times, mothers assume that the milk supply is low, when it is not. The best way to confirm that the baby is nursing well and you are producing enough milk is by keeping a constant check on the baby’s weight. If you suspect decrease in milk supply and want to increase it, follow these tips.
- Nurse frequently and efficiently: Milk production is a demand and supply process. The more the baby drinks, the higher is the production. Nurse once every two hours. Position the baby properly while nursing so that he latches on well.
- Express milk: If the baby is unable to empty your breasts, express the milk after nursing to maintain the milk supply.
- Nursing vacation:Spend time just nursing your baby for two to three days and do nothing else. Of course, you have to feed yourself and be relaxed.
- Switch sides: Make your baby drink from both the breasts. Switch sides twice or thrice every time you feed. But let the little one finish one breast and then switch to the other. This technique gives fatty ‘hindmilk’ to the baby. Using breast compression helps the baby feed longer.
- Avoid pacifiers and nipple shields: Avoid using pacifiers and nipple shields. Avoid supplements, unless it is medically needed.
- Avoid solids: If the baby is younger than six months, avoid feeding her solids, water, and formula.
- Rest well: Besides eating well, rest well. Consume well-balanced diet and more liquids.
- Stay away from alcohol and nicotine: No surprises here, right? Alcohol and nicotine consumption are harmful not only during but also after pregnancy when you are nursing your little one. Nicotine and alcohol restrict the breast milk supply. These substances can pass into your baby’s body through breast milk and trigger developmental problems.
- Check your medication: If you are taking medicines, find out from your doctor if they are interfering with your milk production. Avoid using hormonal contraceptives right after your delivery.
- Stay calm and relaxed: Believe it or not, stress does play a major role in reducing the milk production. Well, handling a baby can be a tough job, and you may not get enough rest. Seek help from your family so that they babysit while you relax. The key is to stay relaxed by practicing healthy, stress reduction techniques like breathing exercises. These would help ensure a good supply of milk.
- Use the right bra: Wearing a tight bra that compresses your chest region or one that is rigid around the band can affect milk flow. The wrong bra can lead to clogged ducts, blocking milk production.
- Breast massage: Massaging your breast will help open blocked ducts, besides loosening hardened areas or lumps. It does not increase milk production but allows easy flow of milk. It may even lessen the risk of mastitis. Massage gently on the breasts and do it yourself as you can judge the pressure applied:
- When both you and your baby are comfortable and relaxed, give a gentle massage on the chest region, ending towards the nipple.
- Now let your baby suckle. Then massage another breast. Be gentle as vigorous strokes could damage the ducts.
- Nurse skin-to-skin: Go skin-to-skin while nursing . Take off your clothes from the upper part of the body and leave your baby in a diaper, while nursing. Wrap a blanket covering both of you together and begin breastfeeding. The technique promotes bonding and helps in releasing more milk-producing hormones.
- Add pumping sessions: Add pumping sessions in between or after nursing sessions to maintain the milk supply. Pump for at least two to five minutes every time.
The key to speed up milk production is to remove more milk from the breasts, frequently, so that lesser milk accumulates in between the feeds. Here are some tips to increase milk production through pumping.
- Use an automated hospital grade electric pump and pump both the breasts simultaneously.
- Shorten the intervals between pumping, rather than increasing the pumping duration. For instance, pump thrice every 15 to 20 minutes than thrice every half an hour, in case you are away for 8 to 10 hours.
- Follow the ‘massage-stroke-shake’ (M-S-S) pumping technique developed by Chele Marmet, co-director of the Lactation Institute in Encino, California:
- Double pump the breasts for five to seven minutes and stop.
- Simultaneously massage both the breasts in a circular motion (as if self-examining).
- Use your fingertips to apply gentle strokes in a line from the chest wall till the nipple.
- Using your hand, cup each breast and lean forward. Now shake your breasts gently.
- Repeat pumping for another five to seven minutes.
The M-S-S technique stimulates prolactin levels, thereby increasing the milk production in a short time.
All About Lactation:
Understanding lactation would help you boost milk supply. We have categorized lactation into three main phases:
a. Steps Leading To A Healthy Lactation:
Your body reacts to your baby’s milk demands and produces in the following way:
- Your baby’s sucking is a strong pull for the milk to come.
- Your brain receives the message.
- Your brain releases the milk ejecting hormone called oxytocin.
- Oxytocin flows through your blood to your breast muscles.
- The milk induced due to prolactin hormone flows out through the breasts.
- You begin feeding the baby.
b. Symptoms To Show That It Is Lactation Time:
It is surprising how your body will get ready to feed just at the time your baby starts to get hungry.
- It usually takes two weeks for your body to settle into a proper feeding routine.
- You will start experiencing a kind of tingling under your breasts.
- Sometimes you hear your hungry baby crying and you will experience a sensation in your breasts
- You may most likely experience a fullness and discomfort in the breasts if you have passed the feeding time and not fed yet.
- Many women may automatically start to leak milk when it is time for feeding.
c. Tips For A Smooth Lactation:
The following will help make lactation time better and easier for both you and your baby:
- Nurse your baby in a quiet room.
- Stay calm.
- Follow the lactation diet listed above.
- Wrap warm towels around your breasts.
- Burp your baby after every feed.
- Consult your doctor in case of any discomfort to you or your baby.
- Breast feed your little one regularly.
- Avoid worrying about your post-delivery weight-gain. This is the time to eat right. You can always get on a diet later.
Make sure you eat the right foods, sleep well and take adequate rest. Keeping calm and staying rested will help you pass through these initial months with ease. Make use of the nursing time to bond with your baby. Very soon she will grow up, and you will suddenly come to miss your breastfeeding sessions!
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