7 Ways to Increase Breast Milk Production
Every baby (and mom) is different. So often, there’s not a “one size fits all” plan for feeding your child. Regardless of what you choose, fed is best. However, if breastfeeding is something that is important to you, we’ve got your back. Especially if you’re having a difficult time producing enough breast milk. Below are seven ways to increase breast milk production.
1. Pump it up.
Breast milk is generated on a supply-and-demand basis, so if you’re having trouble producing, you can try supplementing your nursing with pumping. Or try to increase your supply by nursing more, even if you don’t feel like your breasts are full. The sucking reflex should help your body start producing more milk.
2. Eat well.
As a breastfeeding mama, you’re going to need to consume an extra 450-500 calories per day to keep your milk supply up. Try avoiding processed foods, and eat foods rich in protein, iron, folic acid, calcium, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins B and D. Here’s a list of some nutrient-rich foods that can aid in increasing breast milk production:
- Fennel seeds
- Fenugreek seeds
- Spinach and beet leaves
- Black sesame seeds
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Basil leaves
3. Stay hydrated.
Don’t forget to drink water. Because your body is producing more liquid, it’s vital that you stay hydrated. Utilize the free mug that you receive at the hospital, and make sure you’re filling it up multiple times a day. Have it next to your bed at night for nighttime feedings. Don’t be afraid to drink while baby is nursing. If you’re unsure of how much water to drink per day, consult your doctor. You should also try to avoid excess caffeine and soda, as they can be dehydrating.
4. Limit binkies and bottles.
There are many schools of thought on this particular point, but if you really want to breastfeed and are struggling, limiting binkies and bottles can be a huge help. Eliminating binkies and bottles decreases nipple confusion, so your baby can familiarize herself with you and learn to nurse successfully.
5. Nurse on both sides.
If you find that your baby falls asleep before she nurses from both breasts, stop her a few minutes into breastfeeding and switch sides. Doing so can keep her awake to feed more. Keep doing this if she continues to doze, until your breasts feel drained. You can also burp your baby before you switch sides to eliminate gas bubbles and increase feeding time.
6. Skin-to-skin is always a win-win.
Skin-to-skin contact is a great way to help your body release more hormones, including those that produce milk. So try to breastfeed utilizing this method as often as possible. Make sure you take off your shirt and your bra, and have your baby be in her diaper only. Wrap a blanket around the two of you and enjoy the bonding time. Skin-to-skin contact is also great to do even when you’re not breastfeeding, but it can still help kick those hormones into gear.
7. Ask the experts.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get in touch with your local La Leche League, and find a lactation consultant. She’ll be able to help you to ensure that you’re getting a correct latch and can advise you on breastfeeding tactics that are personal to you, your body and your baby. If you’re not quite ready to take that step, utilize resources on the internet, and empower your partner to do the same. Get to know your body, different nursing positions and signs of breast infections. Remember, knowledge is power.
Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!
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