Maintaining an adequate milk supply is essential for any successful breastfeeding relationship. This may be more difficult for some mothers than others, but there are ways to help promote a healthy milk supply.
Get plenty of fluids.
Make sure to consuming at least two liters of water per day. This may seem like a lot of water, but it’s important for nursing women to remain adequately hydrated or her milk supply may suffer. Tip: If you have a hard time remembering how much water you drink a day, consider filling a two liter bottle once a day and drinking from the bottle throughout the day.
Practice Kangaroo Care.
Kangaroo care might sound complicated, but the main basis of it, is that baby is held close, preferably skin to skin, as often as possible. You can do this while napping, watching televsion, etc. A great way to fit even more kangaroo care into your day is to wear your baby in some type of baby carrier that does not separate baby’s body from yours.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Breastfeeding women should consume 1800-2200 calories a day. Eating well-balanced meals, and snacks throughout the day, will help help promote a healthy supply. It is generally not a good idea to diet while nursing, as this may negatively impact milk supply .
Using a breastpump can help stimulate the breasts to produce more. Tip: If you are trying to increase your supply, try pumping both breasts with a double electric pump for ten minutes after your baby has finished feeding. While pumping after the baby has fed, you may notice no milk is coming out. This is okay, continue pumping the ten minutes, as this extra stimulation will help your body to product more at the next feeding.
Ban pacifiers and bottles.
When low-supply is an issue, it is important to provide the breasts as much stimulation as possible. Nipple stimulation is what signals the breasts to product more milk. By allowing the child to suck on pacifiers and bottles, the breasts recieve less stimulation, which, in turn, may reduce milk supply. When possible, all suckling should be done at the breasts, not at a bottle or pacifier.
Avoid supplementing with formula, water or juice.
If the baby is given supplements, they will fill the baby’s stomach, making them less hungry. This causes the baby to lose their desire to suck once satiated. Remember, suckling is what signals the breasts to produce more, so supplementing can cause the baby to suckle less, and decrease the mother’s milk supply. Tip: If you must supplement, be sure to pump your breasts around the same time your baby is supplemented, with a double electric pump for at least ten minutes.
Instead of breastfeeding every two hours, try breastfeeding every 90 minutes.
Although they might not be as hungry as they would had they waited two hours, the frequent stimulation and emptying will help signal the breasts to begin producing more. It doesn’t necessarily need to be two hours, just reduce the typical length between feedings.
Massage the breasts.
Massage may aid the letdown reflex and may help increase supply.
Allow baby to comfort nurse.
If baby is willing to comfort nurse, let them! The extra nipple stimulation may help signal the breasts to produce more milk.
Avoid Alcohol, Tobacco & Caffeine
All of these substances can be harmful while nursing, just as they are harmful while pregnant. These substances may negatively affect milk supply as well.
Avoid Antihistamines and Decongestants.
Anti-histamines and decongestants work by drying up bodily fluids, however, when taken while nursing, they may dry up breast milk as well. Avoid these substances unless absolutely necessary.