10 Ways To Increase Milk Supply
Author: Kaitlyn Griffin Date Posted:28 September 2015
For some, breastfeeding a baby comes naturally and there are no issues with supply. Othertimes, the journey is not so smooth. Breastfeeding your babe can be such a lovely and enjoyable thing. This is a picture of me and my daughter, Willow, breastfeeding when she was 1 day old. Mind the tired eyes :)
If you are struggling with low supply, here are 10 ways to keep that milk flowin'. We also have a Milk Supply kit which will get you off to a good start.
- Milk production is essentially a demand vs supply. The more you feed, the more milk you will produce. I find this pretty amazing. When Willow was gearing up for a growth spurt, she would feed more often in the days leading up to it, so that she had enough milk to see her through her growing. I remember calling my midwife when Willow was 10 days old saying 'umm, Willow has not hopped off the boob in about two days, is this normal?' Turns out it was, and my little gal was just building my stores. What a smart cookie!
If your babe nurses more frequently leading up to night-time (known as the 'witching hour') this is probably because they are trying to fill their tum tums as they might be going longer without food at night. I say 'might', because they also might be up every two hours because they miss you so much. How lucky are you!
- Until milk supply has established and breastfeeding is under control (around the 1 month mark usually), avoid dummies/pacifiers and bottles. We took this advice and it worked like a charm. Once my milk had come in and settled down, we waited until Willow was about a month old and then started introducing the bottle. This is because your babe might become confused between nipples and if they are using bottles and dummies, they will naturally spend less time at the boob. Less time at boob = less milk. Even those comfort sucks that your baby does at the breast will lead to more milk, so let your baby use you as a dummy (as long as you can handle it :) )
- Take your boobs and your baby and head to bed! I understand this is easier said than done, especially if you have another child, but it will definitely help increase your supply. I found my milk took a real hit when I was overdoing it. It took me about 3 weeks (and 2 rounds of nasty mastitis) to realise that I was pushing myself too far, and my milk was suffering because of it. When you are low in energy and not taking care of yourself, you won't be able to produce as much milk as if you are well rested and relaxed. Take care of mama in order to take care of the babe.
- Sip on some lactation tea. Herbal teas can be great for boosting supply. Look for teas that contain fenugreek and you will typically see an increase within a couple of days. I recommend the Mother's Milk, Weleda Nursing Tea or Love Chai variety. Take a cuppa to bed and pop your babe on the boob. Life is good.
- Avoid formula if possible. Similar to the dummies and bottles point. The less time your baby is nursing, the less milk you will make.
- Make sure you are eating a well balanced diet with plenty of good fats. Think avocado, chia seeds, eggs and salmon. For a quick and delish recipe, make some chia puddings.
- Bake some lactation cookies. Lactation cookies contain Brewers Yeast, which helps to boost supply. Mums have reported an increase of between 10% - 15% when eating the cookies. They also make a delish and healthy snack to have on hand for those times you are absolutely starving.
- Forget the clock and watch the baby. Abandon any concept of a feeding schedule and just read your babe's signs. It can be daunting and quite exhausting to make yourself physically available to your little one around the clock. But it's only temporary and it can really help establish a great supply. I found myself feeding about every 2 hours when Willow was in her early weeks/months. She was either eating, comforting, or building my supply. That time has passed now, and she definitely has fallen into a more predictable 3 - 4ish hourly feeds. Having said that, I still work with her rhythm and feed when she wants to be fed. She's human, and we don't always eat because we are hungry, we eat because we need some comfort and warmth. A little babe's tummy is so tiny and if you stick to a strict schedule it can result in an unhappy bub.
- Take some blessed thistle or fenugreek tablets. Herbs of Gold have a great supplement that combine the two ingredients. Both blessed thistle and fenugreek are known to increase milk supply as they are galactagogues (food or herb that increases milk supply). For a better list of foods and herbs that increase milk supply, check out our galactagogues shopping list below or our milk supply kit.
- Increase skin on skin contact. This helps waken sleepy babies and stimulate them to feed more. A great way to sneak in a bit of skin on skin is to undress your baby during feedings and strip down to your bra. If it's cold, make sure you wrap both of you in a blanket. Another great way to promote milk supply is to wear your baby during the day. When you are close to your babe, you will naturally nurse more frequently.
If you are struggling with your milk it is a great idea to call the ABA or find a certified lactation consultant or breastfeeding counsellor. The above list is a great starting point, but if you need support, those are the people to get in touch with.
Let me know if you have any other ideas for boosting your supply.
- Fenugreek (Capsules or Tea, combined with Blessed Thistle)
- Blessed Thistle (capsules)
- Fennel (Tea)
- Brewers Yeast