Breastfeeding is a skill that you and your baby learn how to do together. It is a team sport - and every team is different.
Some of you may have an under-supply, some of you may have an over-supply - many of you will experience both throughout your journey as baby's milk needs ebb and flow with its growth leaps.
Many breastfeeding mums have wondered how to increase their supply at least once throughout their breastfeeding journey. It is such a common worry. “Is my baby getting enough?”. “Why do they suddenly want to feed 24/7?”. “ How can I keep up?”. Well, if you do find yourself asking these questions, fear not. There are lots of ways you can help supercharge your supply, and it’s not as hard as you think.
Put simply, milk production is a demand and supply process. So it’s worth remembering that the more milk that is removed, the more milk will be produced.
- When breasts are full, milk production is slow
- When breasts are emptied, milk production increases
Here’s 10 of our most helpful tips and tricks to help increase breast milk supply
1. Nurse on demand
Follow your baby’s lead and feed as often as they require. Don’t worry about routine or schedule. This will naturally fall into place in a few months. The best way to make sure you have enough milk to meet the needs of your baby is to exclusively breastfeed on demand. When aiming to increase supply, try not to offer a bottle. If you do have to offer a bottle, make sure you pump when baby feeds.
2. Switch sides / Offer both sides
Switching sides regularly during feeds is a great way of keeping a sleepy baby awake and interested in feeding. The longer they feed for the more milk is removed, in turn helping to increase supply. Switching sides helps ensure both breasts are drained of milk. It also allows baby the chance to get a good balance of fore-milk and hind-milk whilst also reducing the risk of engorgement or mastitis.
3. Eat well and stay hydrated.
Aim for at least 8 ounces of water per day. Breast milk is made up of more than 80% water so it’s important you stay well hydrated in order to increase your supply. Breastfeeding mums need on average around 500 additional calories per day. In order to keep up your energy levels and keep milk supply up, be sure to eat a healthy, nutritious balanced diet.
4. Consider using a pump
(After 6 weeks postpartum)
Pumping for 10-20 minutes after each feed will help maintain stimulation of the prolactin hormone that is responsible for breast milk production, by completely emptying the breasts.
You can also try power pumping which basically mimics that of a cluster feeding baby. Typical during growth spurt or developmental leaps.
In the hour after feeding, here is the pumping routine you could follow:
Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
Pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
Pump for 10 minutes
5. Replace pump parts
If you are worried about your supply because you have noticed a drop in your milk levels when pumping, it might not necessarily be your supply that is to blame. Change your pump parts regularly to ensure you are getting the most out of your pump.
6. Breast massage
This is a quick fix that can yield results immediately. While breastfeeding our pumping try massaging the breast down towards the nipple. This should help increase the flow of milk and in turn increase supply.
7. Don’t focus on what’s coming out
Easier said than done, right? Ever find yourself waiting for the tingle of your let down as you feed your little one or waiting for the first few drops of milk to hit the bottom of the pump bottle? Well, this could be one reason why you’re experiencing supply problems. In order for let-down to occur and milk to come out, your body needs to release the hormone oxytocin. Your body can’t actually release oxytocin if you are anxious or stressed. So instead of focusing on the feed or the pump, put on a program or read a book to help distract you. If you are pumping, one top tip that we found was to pop a muslin over the pump bottle to stop you from fixating on what milk is being produced.
8. Take a breastfeeding holiday
Sounds lush, doesn’t it? A breastfeeding holiday is basically just locking you and baby away in your bedroom for 2 or 3 days and spending all of your time feeding them with plenty of skin-to-skin and bonding. Ahhh, what could be any better than that. The relaxed, no pressure environment coupled with the increased levels of oxytocin naturally help increase supply.
9. Speak to a lactation consultant
If you feel like you need to talk to someone about improving baby’s latch or finding new breastfeeding positions that could work for you, reach out to a lactation consultant. Since the restrictions have come in to play, a lot of lactation consultants have gone online and can offer wonderful support via video call.
10. Andddd RELAXXXX!!! (With your BellaMoon™)
Possibly one of the most important things you can do to help increase your milk supply is simply rest and relax. When your body is under less stress, when your mind isn’t racing, oxytocin flows in much higher levels, in turn increasing milk production. So if you’re on a mission to increase your supply, grab your BellaMoon™, lie down with your baby and relax into every feed.