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Are you worrying about low milk supply? Well stop worrying right now, because I’ve got you! I’ve also got 10 simple tips for increasing breast milk supply that work really well.
QUICK THINGS TO BUY TO HELP INCREASE BREAST MILK SUPPLY
- Motivational water bottle – HidrateSpark Pro or Mameido are both great options
- Breast pump (pumping straight after feeding is a great help) Medela or BabyBella
- Lactation cookies – Boobbix peanut butter and chocolate chip, yum!
10 TIPS FOR INCREASING BREAST MILK SUPPLY
How do I know these tips work? Well, it is because I’ve been there and I managed to work through low milk supply, increase my breast milk supply AND breastfeed my daughter until she was over a year old.
So, I empathise totally with how you’re feeling if your milk supply is low at the moment.
It is so easy to worry why something that gets touted around as being the most easy, natural thing in the world, isn’t working for you and your baby. It can leave you feeling very down about yourself.
But chin up, there is a way forward.
MY LOW MILK SUPPLY STORY
I had a very sleepy baby who barely woke to feed. When still in hospital she was given formula from a beaker as her blood sugar fell so low.
Although, I continued to try and breastfeed when we got home, we seemed to be behind the curve from the very start.
My daughter would go five hours without feeding, she was asleep and truly impossible to wake!
The result of her infrequent demand was that my supply was low, which meant she then didn’t get enough milk to satisfy her during a feed and would then be hungry after her feed. Joy!
She seemed otherwise healthy, but gained weight very slowly and fell from the 50th to the 10th percentile fairly rapidly.
Which, as you might imagine, had me incredibly worried.
Of course there are many reasons why a mother’s milk supply is low or inadequate for their baby.
Looking back I am sure that in my case being induced at 37 weeks, and then having an emergency c-section, was the major cause, as it made my baby girl so dozy in the first months.
SO HOW DO YOU INCREASE BREAST MILK SUPPLY?
For the first three months, I really struggled to find helpful advice.
I ended up supplementing heavily with formula which actually created a vicious circle, as it doesn’t do anything to increase demand from your baby.
None of the general baby books seemed to cover a very sleepy baby, and unfortunately our local maternity services weren’t great at explaining what caused the problem, or how to catch up and increase my milk supply.
So, I went on a search and find research mission and put together my own plan to increase my milk supply.
And guess what… it worked!
I eventually managed to drop using formula altogether and breastfed my daughter right up until she was 15 months old.
Of course one of the most important things to remember about every new mum and every baby is that we’re all different! So there are different things that will work for different mothers and babies.
With this in mind, I’ve put together a list of the low milk supply tips I found the most sensible and useful.
I really do hope that you find using one or a combination of them helps you find a way to increase your milk supply.
Ahead of this list I’d also like to add that I do think it’s incredibly important to recognise that breastfeeding does not work out for everyone.
AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS. YOU CAN STILL BE THE BEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD EVER TO YOUR BABY.
That said, I was really keen to breastfeed and I found that it is entirely possible to solve a good number of breastfeeding issues that may be hampering you feed your baby.
So, dive in, take a look through this list and good luck!
10 TIPS FOR INCREASING BREAST MILK SUPPLY
1. SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT
Strip both of you down whenever you can and get your baby’s skin touching yours. This is the most natural way in the world to stimulate your breasts to produce more milk.
2. REST REST REST
Rest as much as you can. Easier said than done? Well, not always.
Sometimes you just have to put your mind to it, forget about all the non-urgent stuff, ease up on yourself and REST.
Rope in friends and relatives to help out if you are really struggling.
3. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS
This is one of those ‘go figure’ tips, especially when you realise that 88% of breastmilk is water!
So yes, drinking plenty of fluids really will increase your milk supply.
Try to stick to water and drink small amounts of it through the day.
It can be easy to forget to drink, especially when you’re tired and have an irritable baby.
So, what I did was buy a drinking bottle that I filled and then had to hand wherever I was in the home or outside.
The latest innovation seems to be motivational water bottles, which help you keep track of how much water you are drinking each day.
If you really want to go for it, you could invest in one of these HidrateSpark water bottles that actually alert you when you need to drink more water. Very handy for tired, sleep-deprived new mums!! Over 3000 extact reviews are a good sign this bottle is worth splashing out on (pun intended!).
If you want to go for a more budget-friendly motivational water bottle, one that still does a great job of keeping you hydrated, you should go for one of these gorgeously designed bottles by Mameido.
4. PUMP AFTER FEEDS
Now I believe this tip was an absolute winner for me, what with having a baby who wasn’t particularly demanding to be fed.
This ways your breasts get a good milk making workout that gets them in the breastmilk making mood!
You will produce VERY LITTLE milk initially, but don’t be demoralised. Persevere and you might well surprise yourself at what a milk-making marvel you are.
There are myriad breast pumps out there and there really is no ‘one pump works for all’ solution. I went for a manual pump rather than an electric one, but it really is down to personal choice and budget.
This Medela manual breast pump is one of the best-selling on Amazon at the moment. It gets almost a pure 5 star on reviews by over 2800 happy mums who have bought one.
5. GET YOUR OATS
This is one of those breast milk production tips that lactation experts the world over recommend.
Oats are a great source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and iron. They are also low G.I, so give a slow release of energy, plus they are dense in calories, which is super important for breastfeeding mothers, who need to up their usual calorie intake to between 2500- 2700 calories per day.
Porridge is a great way to get those oats into your diet. As is adding a handful to a smoothie.
You can also chuck in a handful of flax seeds, as they are also heralded as a way to stimulate milk production.
Alternatively, you can eat what are known as ‘lactation cookies’, which are made from oats and usually have flax seeds and a host of other ingredients said to stimulate milk production.
I was lucky enough to have a mum who provided me with a constant supply of her own recipe oat cookies.
But if you don’t have someone kind enough to make them and you don’t fancy making them yourself, you could try these peanut butter lactaction cookies by Boobbix.
6. EAT A HEALTHY DIET
You are probably well aware of how important it is to eat a healthy, well balanced diet. But when you’re tired and dealing with a newborn it can be difficult to ensure you’re eating healthily.
But do watch out for fruit and vegetables that may trigger colic (our post on how to reduce colic) and reflux (our post on how to relieve reflux)
Again, rope in your partner, family or friends if you are struggling to find the time or energy to prepare and cook healthy meals.
Or try one of the many meal recipe-kit delivery services, that deliver all the ingredients you need to make a meal, alongside a recipe card.
Hello Fresh is super popular, I have friends who swear by it. You choose three recipes each week, and Hello Fresh deliver them straight to your door.
Or if you really can’t stretch to a recipe-kit delivery service, I wholeheartedly recommend you switch to online grocery shopping.
Honestly, I made the switch when my daughter was a couple of weeks old and I’ve not looked back since. I am a MASSIVE Ocado fan, there are very few brands I rave about, but Ocado are simply amazing and I couldn’t live without its grocery deliveries!
Click on the link to take a peak at Ocado – I challenge you NOT to sign up after seeing how easy it can make your life!
If you would rather have an electric breast pump.. one that comes with dual pumps, breastmilk bags and it’s own digital dashboard, then you should take a look at the BellaBaby double breast pump. Over 20,000 YES 20,000 reviews from happy new mums has to be a good sign.
7. PRACTICE RELAXATION
Right up there with rest, relaxation exercises are SO important. They can help reduce stress and anxiety hormone levels, which can inhibit milk supply, and instead bring an air of calm that will help you relax and your body to function more fluidly.
Try slow breathing to bring some deep relaxation.
8. BREAST MASSAGE
Massage your breasts before starting a feed to stimulate the milk glands.
Here’s a great video showing you how to massage your breasts.
9. TAKE A HOT SHOWER
The warmth of a hot shower – or apply a hot compress to your breasts before feeding – can help letdown. It’s also totally lovely and relaxing to have a hot shower, not to mention stress reducing to have a few minutes to yourself in the shower.
10. BE PATIENT
And finally…. be patient. It is SO hard when you’re a new mum, you worry about everything, you want to get everything right for this new bundle that you love more than anyone you’ve ever loved. But sometimes taking the pressure off and being patient can pay real dividends.
Because sometimes it just takes time for babies to feed effectively – and for your breasts to get into gear with milk production. None of us are machines.
Also bear in mind that premature, induced and C-Section babies may be very sleepy for the first month, but after the first month they may suddenly start feeding efficiently and your milk supply naturally increases as a result.
I hope you find these tips useful, they did truly help me through a very frustrating time as a new mum.
I have more baby and new mum posts including my guide to baby essentials shopping.
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Sunday 20th of October 2013
Wow I knew what you ate could affect your supply but I never realised all this. Thanks for joining in the monday parenting pin it party
Thursday 17th of October 2013
Great post, my milk supply has decreased a bit and I have been utilizing some of these tips to help increase it. It's great to see posts like this to help mothers continue breastfeeding long!
Wednesday 16th of October 2013
Great tips! It's also important to remember that the BEST way to measure input is to look at output. Many times mums think they have low supply when they don't. It's merely a growth spurt. Or perhaps mum isn't nursing frequently enough. It's far more common to have too much milk than not enough. And a baby will pull off and fuss at the breast when there's too much milk or the milk is coming out too quickly, so mum may think there's not enough milk.
Tuesday 15th of October 2013
What a really interesting post. I found I had a LOT of milk with both my previous babies so I'm hoping it will be the same again this time but if not I will be back to work my way through your tips! #MagicMoments
Monday 14th of October 2013
Some fantastic tips on there, i so wish i had read this when trying to feed Joshua x
thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x