How do I Increase my Milk Supply?

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Sometimes, despite doing all the “right” things, you may find yourself producing less milk than your baby needs. Here are some things you can try:

  • Go to bed with your baby for a whole day and breastfeed and sleep. Arrange for help so that you are not getting up for anything but bathroom breaks. Sometimes getting more rest and a day of unrestricted breastfeeding can give your body a much-needed boost.

  • Try pumping (double) immediately after feeds for 5 minutes or so. The purpose of this is to tell your breasts you want more milk. It’s ok if you don’t actually pump out any milk.

  • Eat well! Now is not the time to try to lose weight. Losing more than 1 pound a week may interfere with milk production.

  • Try a bowl of oatmeal every morning. Many mothers have found this delicious intervention helpful.

  • Avoid hormonal birth-control methods.

  • Discuss the issue with a lactation consultant. There are herbs and prescription medications that can help with milk supply but you need professional guidance. There is a possibility of side effects and incompatibility with just about anything!

  • If your milk supply is truly inadequate for your baby’s needs, be sure to supplement as necessary with human milk or formula. Aside from normal weight loss in the first few days of life, it is never OK for a baby to lose weight. See your health care provider or a lactation consultant for guidance on supplementation.

See also: “Breastfeeding and Milk Supply.”

Written by Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC. Renee is a lactation consultant in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is available for home/hospital visits and phone consultations. Renee can be reached at www.second9months.com

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