Breastfeeding is so important for babies and can be challenging for breastfeeding mothers, so our lactation experts offer our top breast milk production tips.
1. Establish a full breast milk supply by getting off to a good start…
Breast milk production for the duration of breastfeeding is greatly influenced by milk removal during the first weeks of baby’s life.
Breastfeeding, and/or pumping, at least every three hours and every time baby is hungry sends a message to the body that breast milk production is a priority.
Remember that allowing your breasts to stay full signals the body to make less milk, while a breast that is consistently emptied before it is full signals the body to produce more milk.
2. Perceived low milk supply vs. actual low milk supply…
There are many times when a mother may believe that her breast milk supply is low, only to find out that she is making too much milk or just the right amount.
In fact, low breast milk production is actually less common than moms realize.
If you believe that you have low milk supply call an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) that will weigh your baby with an accurate scale before and after feeds to assess the full picture of your breastfeeding relationship and milk supply.
3. Get qualified help as soon as you suspect your milk supply is low...
True low breast milk supply is something that an IBCLC may be able to help you with.
Time is of the essence, as frequent removal of milk in the early weeks is essential to establishing a full supply.
Qualified lactation support aims to diagnose issues related to supply including; endocrine disorders in mom, oral anatomy issues in baby, and ineffective positioning or latch.
4. Pump when you are away from baby…
Every breastfeeding mother has a “magic number” of milk expressions per day that her body needs to maintain a full breast milk supply for her baby.
Eight expressions per day is typical for the majority of women.
If you are happy with your supply, be mindful to either breastfeed or pump as often as you are now, and your milk supply should not diminish.
If you are having supply issues, try Milkflow Fenugreek + Blessed Thistle drinks or capsules.
5. Breastfeed/pump at night!
Let’s face the facts, breastfeeding at night while sitting up in a chair is exhausting.
Many moms report that allowing their partner to do one feeding per night from a bottle allows them to get a little more sleep.
The problem is that many moms must wake to pump during this time to express milk or their milk supply may suffer.
One solution is to lay down in a safe sleep environment to breastfeed at night. Your partner can bring you the baby for feeds and bring baby back to where she sleeps when the feeding is done.
This way, everyone gets more rest and mom’s milk supply is not compromised.
6. Consult your doctor before starting any new meds…
While it is safe to take most medications while you are breastfeeding, it is best to consult your baby’s pediatrician prior to starting any new medications. Pediatricians are trained to reference a book titled, “Medications and Mother’s Milk” by Thomas Hale.
This book gives specific statistics on how each drug prescribed or available over-the-counter in the US affects the milk supply and the baby if at all.
7. Remember that breastfeeding is a culture of love and safety for your baby…
Breastfeeding is not just about the breast milk that is swallowed. The reality is that not all moms can produce 100% of their baby’s needs, although, most can.
If you are one of those moms that cannot produce enough milk for her baby’s nutritional needs please bear in mind that even a small amount of breast milk per day benefits a baby’s immune system immensely.
Mothers with low breast milk supply may benefit from learning to supplement at the breast with tools ranging from curved-tip syringes to bottles.
Babies think of breastfeeding as love and safety.
The time spent with baby close to your heart and looking into each other’s eyes is equally, if not more, important than the fluid baby is drinking.
Lauren Reyes, IBCLC, RLC
UpSpring Lactation Consultant