Breastfeeding can be a tough gig. Unlike bottle-feeding, where you can see exactly how much your baby is drinking at each feed, breastfeeding can leave you wondering if your baby is getting enough milk. And those thoughts can often lead to concerns over low milk supply. Cue late-night googling of “How to increase milk supply.” But don’t worry, we’re here to help!
So is it possible to increase breast milk supply? Well yes, but first off, let’s see if you actually have anything to worry about.
In this article: 📝
- Do you need to increase breast milk supply?
- How can I increase my breast milk production naturally?
- What increases the supply of breast milk?
- What foods help produce breast milk?
- How can I increase my milk supply quickly?
Do you need to increase breast milk supply?
It’s common to worry about low milk supply, but the truth is, your supply might be just fine. Even if your boobs don’t feel “full” or you don’t produce much milk when pumping, it doesn’t mean you have a low milk supply.
Here are signs that your newborn is getting plenty of milk:
- pooping three or four times a day
- having plenty of wet diapers (six or more with colorless, odorless urine)
- gaining weight
- seeming happy and content after a feed
If your baby isn’t showing the above signs, it’s worth calling your doctor or lactation consultant (LC) to get some assistance. But don’t worry. You’ve got this mama, and there are things you can do to increase breast milk supply.
How can I increase my breast milk production naturally?
In the early days of breastfeeding, the best way to increase milk supply is by feeding your baby on demand. It’s a supply and demand process, so frequent nipple stimulation from your baby’s sucking will prompt your body to produce more milk. Feeding from both breasts at each feed will send an even stronger signal to your body to make more milk.
What increases the supply of breast milk?
What helps increase breast milk supply, along with feeding on demand, is ensuring your baby has a good latch and is positioned comfortably. A doctor or LC can check for tongue or lip ties which can hinder proper latching technique.
If your technique is fine, but still want to know how to increase breast milk supply, you may want to consider:
- Allowing your baby to feed for as long as they like, rather than keeping a strict schedule.
- Feed your baby often — every two or three hours, or more frequently, for the first few weeks.
- Switching your baby between breasts frequently throughout the feed can help prompt a sleepy baby to keep sucking productively.
- Try not to supplement breastfeeding with formula or bottle-feeding expressed breastmilk for the first few weeks, to avoid nipple confusion, and so baby learns to get their nutrition primarily from the breast.
- Pumping immediately after feeds or between feeds. An LC may be able to advise on how to do this best without exhausting yourself.
- As much as you can as a new mama, make sure you are well-rested, eating a reasonably balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking, which can reduce supply.
What foods help produce breast milk?
Foods to increase breast milk supply are known as galactagogues, but there’s little scientific evidence behind any of the claims. Lactation teas and cookies will often contain fenugreek, fennel, flaxseed, ginger, brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, and almonds. There’s no harm in trying, though, and most of them are yum!
How can I increase my milk supply quickly?
There’s no quick fix, unfortunately, but in most cases, you should notice a difference after a week or so of following these tips. If you choose a tea or certain food to help and don’t notice a difference within a week or so, it’s unlikely they will have an effect at all. So if you hate the taste of that fenugreek tea, no need to continue punishing yourself!