Low milk supply is something most breastfeeding mothers tend to worry about. All mothers want the best for their babies, and not being able to keep their newborns well-fed can lead to stress. Hence, many would wonder how to increase breast milk supply and if there are effective ways to boost their milk production. Thankfully, there are! From recommended nursing practices to the best foods to eat to increase breast milk, here are 15 tips all breastfeeding mothers should know.
How To Increase Breast Milk: Best Nursing Practices
Breastfeed Regularly And For Longer Periods
The more often you breastfeed, the more breast milk you’ll be able to produce. Breastfeeding frequency is associated with increased milk production as milk-producing hormones are released whenever babies suckle on their mother’s breast. In fact, this study recommends breastfeeding mothers to nurse their newborns about eight to 12 times a day to maintain healthy milk production. On the other hand, make sure to nurse for longer periods (about 20 to 30 minutes a session) until your baby is full.
Feed Your Baby On Demand
Nursing your baby at the very moment they’re hungry is also helpful to boost milk production. That’s because when there is a demand for milk, your body naturally reacts by producing more milk to ensure there’s enough supply for future feedings.
Pump After Nursing Or Between Feedings
A breast pump is something to consider buying if you want to learn how to increase breast milk supply quickly. You can either pump after nursing or between breastfeeding sessions. Either way, the act of emptying out your breasts of breast milk will signal your body to make more milk. In fact, you can try pumping post-nursing for about 10 to 20 minutes each time. Other great opportunities to pump are when your baby misses a feeding, when you have leftover milk after feeding, and if you’re exclusively pumping.
Replace Pumping Parts If You’re Pumping Daily
Is pumping a daily occurrence in your efforts to increase milk supply or because you’re exclusively pumping? Then it’s important to have certain parts (like the valves and membranes) replaced every four to six weeks. Another good indicator of when to replace those crucial parts is when you notice your milk supply decreasing.
Breastfeed From Both Sides
Here’s another often neglected nursing method on how to increase breast milk production: feeding with both breasts. By offering your baby both sides during each feeding, you’ll be able to build up a stronger milk supply over time. Another useful tip? Remember to alternate the breast you start feeding with during each session, as this will ensure both sides are getting equal stimulation to encourage milk production.
Get Sufficient Rest
More often than not, having a newborn means having sleepless nights for several months. However, sleep is something you should prioritise in this crucial nursing period, especially if you want to know how to increase breast milk. Having sufficient rest means your body will be able to utilise the extra energy for making more milk. On the contrary, being stressed and exhausted will negatively impact your milk supply.
Consult A Lactation Specialist
Still having low milk production despite your best efforts in following the recommended tips on how to increase breast milk? Then the next step is to get the opinion of a lactation expert. They’ll be able to assess your situation better and identify what’s causing the low milk supply. From there, they will also provide you with professional advice and guide you through the nursing sessions.
How To Increase Breast Milk: Best Foods To Eat
Barley And Barley Malt
Wondering what are the best foods to increase breast milk? Barley and barley malt are great options. This is because they are rich in lactogenic beta-glucan, which promotes the breastfeeding hormone, prolactin, to stimulate the production of milk. You can add them to hearty stews and soups, homemade bread, salads, and of course, milk.
Oatmeal And Oat Milk
Love oats? Good news: Oatmeal and oat milk are recommended foods to increase breast milk too! Just like barley, they contain a high concentration of beta-glucan. Moreover, oats is a rich source of iron, which is crucial since low levels of iron could inhibit milk supply. The best part is that it’s so easy to incorporate oats into your diet.
Even everyday food staples are lactogenic. For example, brown rice and whole wheat bread contain beta-glucan as well (unlike white rice or bread). Hence, remember to reach out for these healthier complex carbs that also keep you fuller for longer.
Fennel And Fenugreek Seeds
When it comes to seeds, your best bet is to go for fennel and fenugreek seeds. These liquorice-flavoured seeds are known to be milk boosters as they contain estrogen-like compounds that encourage milk production. That’s why they’re often used in lactation cookies too!
Lean Meat And Poultry
For meat-loving mamas, you can happily load up on protein-rich foods to increase breast milk supply. However, instead of going for fatty cuts, stick to lean meat and poultry including chicken, beef, lamb, or pork for their rich iron content. Eggs and tofu are good alternatives too.
Commonly found in lactation snacks, brewer’s yeast is another recommended breast milk booster and supplement as it has plenty of B vitamins, iron, protein, chromium, and selenium. However, its bitter taste may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and may cause gas in babies through feeding. That said, you can carefully include small amounts in baked goods such as pancakes.
Did you know that lactation cookies are actually made up of some of the ingredients mentioned on this list? They contain a combination of oats, brewer’s yeast, flax, and herbs such as fenugreek to promote milk flow and supply. If anything, they’re one of the best and tastiest foods to increase breast milk production for nursing mothers. And plus, who doesn’t love cookies?
Besides hunger, dehydration contributes to low milk supply too. And it makes sense, since 90% of breast milk is made up of water. Hence, do stay hydrated by drinking eight glasses of water daily. You can also quench your thirst with other healthy beverages such as juice, milk, and tea.
Learn How To Increase Breast Milk With The Best Foods And Nursing Methods
From ideal nursing practices to the recommended foods to increase breast milk, there are many ways to boost milk production naturally. That said, be sure to avoid habits that could interfere with your efforts in building and maintaining an adequate supply of milk. This includes smoking, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine.
Besides learning how to increase breast milk, proper storage is equally important to prevent potential wastage while allowing your baby to be fed when you’re not around. From factors like shelf life to the right types of containers to use, read up on how to store breast milk the right way.