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When you are a breastfeeding mom or know of one, chances are how to increase milk supply has come up. A good way to tell if your baby is getting enough milk is to check their daily output of soiled and wet diapers.
Your baby should have around 3 to 4 soiled diapers and 6 to 8 wet diapers a day. You and your doctor can also keep track of your baby’s weight and make sure your newborn gets back to their birth weight within 10 to 14 days after delivery.
Some moms might be tempted to switch to formula or to start supplementing because they are frustrated that they cannot provide enough milk for their baby, but don’t give up yet!
Whatever your reasons for wanting to increase your milk supply are, here are some tips and strategies you can try out:
Tips To Increase Milk Supply
Drink more water
Water is essential in order to produce milk since it is made up of 88% water after all. This is why it is crucial that you drink a lot! A nursing mother should drink between ½ and 1oz of water per pound of body weight. So if you are 150 lbs you should drink between 75 and 150 oz of water per day!
I know that sounds like a ton of water…well because it is. I personally have a Contigo 24 oz water bottle that I carry with me everywhere. I aim to drink a minimum of 3-4 per day to help keep me hydrated.
Since supply and demand is the essence of breastfeeding, it is important to nurse often if you are aiming to increase your milk supply.
A good latch is essential in order for your baby to get enough milk. Baby’s mouth should we wide open, their chin on the breast, and the bottom lip should be flipped outwards in order to avoid sore nipples. You can also massage your breasts in order to stimulate them and activate a letdown.
Wearing the right bra is also vital in making sure you have good milk production. If your bra is too tight, you could get an infection and this could affect your milk supply.
Emptying the breast
Make sure each breast is empty before switching to the other. If the baby is already full, you can just start with the other breast during the next feeding. This is to prevent one breast from producing a lot, while the other cannot because it is not used or emptied out.
Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand, so if you want to increase milk supply make sure you are completely emptying each breast. If your baby isn’t able to empty the breast, you can pump it out save the milk for later.
You can use this to give your baby more milk especially when they are asking for it often or are falling asleep. This is when you are squeezing your breast in order to push the milk out. Make sure you are being gentle the first times though to prevent the baby from gagging.
Drinks to increase your milk supply
Mother’s Milk Tea – this tea is organic and has ingredients like herbs to increase milk supply including coriander and fennel which is good for lactation. You can add a bit of honey to sweeten it. Keep it to not more than one cup a day though to prevent your baby from becoming gassy.
Gatorade – the electrolytes found in the drink can help with leg cramps and can also be another alternative to water.
Smoothies – you can make one with ingredients like oats, flax seeds, and peanut butter that is great for boosting milk supply.
Beer – If you drink alcohol you can try beers that are made from oatmeal like stouts which can actually increase your milk supply. Ginger beer is also another alternative you can try. Of course, you need to make sure you consume a sensible amount.
Talk to your doctor about how much is okay for you to drink. You don’t want to have alcohol getting into the breast milk or to have to “pump & dump” that liquid gold.
It goes without saying you need to keep your body healthy while you are breastfeeding by having a well-balanced diet to increase milk supply. After all, what moms eat, baby eats too! That’s why it’s important to try to avoid junk food and foods with a lot of calories in order to ensure that your baby is getting the right nutrients.
There are some foods that are great for boosting your milk supply. Oatmeal is one that can stimulate milk production. With my little guy, I made it a habit to eat oatmeal for breakfast every day (I still eat it for breakfast most days!) because it is easy and tasty. Add in some brown sugar, cinnamon, fresh fruit, or some super easy instant oatmeal packets and indulge! Overnight oats are a great option too!
Omega-3s rich foods are great as well and include salmon, seeds, eggs, nuts, chia seeds, and Brussels sprouts. Other milk supply-boosting foods include almonds, cumin, apricot, asparagus, barley, basil, beet leaves, carrots, fennel, ginger, spinach, and sweet potato.
You can pump in between your feeding sessions to further stimulate your breasts and increase milk supply. A good breast pump can go a long way in helping you with this process.
For the first couple months, I would pump immediately after my daytime feedings to help completely empty the breast and increase my supply. This also helped me build up some milk in the freezer, which allowed my hubby a chance to take a turn feeding the baby in the night.
Depending on your budget (many insurance companies will cover the cost of a pump for you. Ask your doctor about getting a prescription for a pump) and needs, there are a lot of options to choose from.
Here are some key features to look out for in a breast pump: portable, adjustable suction, ease of cleaning, manual or electronic, and single or double.
Power pumping is a simple technique that can greatly help you increase your milk supply fast. You can do this once for about 3 to 4 days.
Pump for 20 minutes and make sure each breast is drained. Take a break for 10 minutes and drink some water or tea. Pump again for 10 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes and drink water. Pump again for 10 minutes and even if you aren’t producing any more milk, you are still stimulating milk production.
You can also try pumping near your baby or look at a picture or video of your baby in order to encourage milk production.
You can use different kinds of supplements to help with milk production. These could be in the form of drops, powders, or tablets. Depending on your budget, you can choose from various supplements but it is best to look for those containing Goat’s Rue, Blessed Thistle, and Fenugreek.
Let There Be Milk – you can put these all-natural drops in your drink a few times a day to help with milk production. The taste is pretty strong but you can also use a dropper to deposit it at the back of your throat and wash it down with some water.
Motherlove More Milk – this is similar to Let There Be Milk and is more in stock.
Fenugreek – you can take around 3 capsules a day to increase milk supply and you can even open them up and add the powder to drinks or food.
Sleep and rest
This is something most mamas find hard to do especially with a newborn. Try to find times during the day when you can rest or take a nap. If your baby is sleeping, then maybe you can take a breather as well.
Try to reduce stress since it can hinder your milk production. You can try listening to relaxing music or spend some moments with your baby to just bond and don’t worry too much about making milk.
There are a lot of trials that come with breastfeeding but in the end, it is well worth it and become some of your favorite times during the baby stage!
Make sure to take care of yourself and try out these different tips on how to increase your milk supply.
Have a tip to increase your milk supply? Comment below and share with us!
P.S. If you are struggling with nursing your baby check out the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class. Become a breastfeeding pro in 90 minutes with detailed trainings and videos from a Certified Lactation Educator. This course totally crushes the breastfeeding overwhelm and it is super affordable!