A mom wrote in asking her how to increase milk supply. Over the course of breastfeeding five children during seven years, I had many ups and downs with milk production. Mama, your question hits the CloudMom sweet spot. When it comes to breastfeeding, I adopt Winston Churchill’s mantra: NEVER GIVE UP. Your milk supply can dip and surge, so hang in there. In today’s video, I set forth my best tips on how to produce more milk. These are tips that I have tackled in detail in many prior blogs and videos, but which I have summarized here.
How to Increase Milk Production
Focus on three things when it comes to milk production. Number one, take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, good foods including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plenty of liquids including water and milk, either cow’s milk or whatever type of milk you prefer. Your baby is soaking up lot of energy and nutrients and you want to replenish. Also, consider supplementing with fenugreek.
Number two, breastfeed regularly. When you breastfeed, empty the first breast before moving on to the second breast, and the next time you nurse, start with the second breast from the prior feed. Make sure your baby is awake and full, burped yet refusing more milk. Try not to let the baby nod off to sleep, because you’ll just be back at it sooner. Now, if after a feed your baby shows signs of hunger, by all means, give some formula. There is nothing wrong with mixing breastfeeding and formula. If nursing is a priority for you, though, you want to give the baby as much breastmilk as possible before turning to the formula. Your goal is to stimulate your breasts to produce milk as much as possible and then supplement with formula; not to replace the breastmilk with formula. In essence, the more you breastfeed, the more milk you are going to produce. Keep at it!
How to Increase Milk Supply When Pumping
Third, pump after every time you nurse. Use a hands-free bra and pump for just 5-10 minutes while you are burping the baby or giving him his bottle.
Set up a pumping station next to your nursing chair so that all of your equipment is handy. When you pump after each time you nurse, regardless of how much milk you produce, you are telling you body to continue to produce milk. Don’t pay attention to how much milk comes out. Even if it is just an ounce or less, that’s helpful. At the end of the day, freeze what you have accumulated throughout the day.
And here’s tip number four, which I forgot about while filming my video but which proved invaluable to me. Keep that baby close. The closer you are physically to your baby, the more the hormones in your body are stimulated to produce milk. You’ll even notice that when you are holding your baby, your let-down is stronger. Some moms who pump away from the baby bring a picture of the baby to stare at for just this reason. When I returned to work after maternity leave, I found that my milk supply was the strongest on Monday since I had spent the weekend with my baby. So when you can, hold that baby and don’t let her go! Put her in a bjorn. Keep her close!
So, these are my tried and true tips for increasing milk production. I hope they help. Thanks so much for writing in and best of luck with your baby.