Firstly, why do you think your milk supply is low?
There are many myths flying around about low supply, but if you’re baby is exclusively breastfed and is gaining weight well, the chances are that you do not have an issue with low supply.
Despite claims that you can increase your supply by eating/drinking certain things, there is no evidence to support this. The only proven way to increase your milk supply is to regularly extract more milk from the breast – which will signal to your body that you need to produce more milk to keep up with the demand.
Step-by-step guide to help you improve your milk supply:
- Ensure your baby has a good latch. This is important in order to ensure that milk is being effectively removed from your breast. If you are unsure whether baby has a good latch, then ideally get a breastfeeding specialist to observe a feed – you should be able to access one through either your local Sure Start Children’s Centre or your local NCT branch. If you are unable to source one, please contact us and we will try our very best to help you.
- Feed baby frequently. If you are having issues with babies weight gain, then aim to feed at least every 2 hours throughout the day and leave no longer than 3 hours during the night.
- Offer both sides of the breast. If baby has fully fed off one side, offer the other breast.
- Pump between feeds. Some women can be put off pumping breast milk if they do not obtain much milk per pumping session, but please be aware that how much milk you pump is not an indication of how much milk the baby is getting from the breast. Pumping to increase supply can be an important part of increasing your milk production, as it signals to your body to produce more milk.
- Don’t stress over it. Relax, keep feeding, pumping and before you know it your baby will be an efficient milk drinker and you an efficient milk producer!
- Look after yourself. Whilst a mum with a poor diet can still produce enough milk to feed her baby, you will be a much happier mum if you are well fed and hydrated. Plus, with breastfeeding burning up to around 500 extra calories a day, you deserve those extra snacks!
Things to avoid when trying to increase your milk supply:
- Dummies. Whilst it may seem daunting as babies are constantly associated with dummies, all babies needs can be fulfilled without the use of one. Use of dummies can cause nipple confusion and cause you to miss feeding cues.
- Formula (unless advised necessary by a Health Care Professional). If you replace feeds with formula, you will reduce your supply, unless you pump as well. If you do give formula to baby, you must pump every time you’re replacing your own breast milk.
Please note: Whilst some people swear by herbal remedies, such as Fenugreek, there is no evidence to show it helps increase milk supply. As a result of this, we do not advise their use. However, you can read more about them here, and make your own decision as to whether you would like to include them in your plan to increase your milk production.
To the Mums reading this, you are amazing, and you are doing the best you can for your baby.
I’d love to hear about your own breastfeeding journey, so please feel free to leave a comment.