11 Little Things You Can Do To Help Increase Your Milk Supply
Although the thought that your body may not be producing enough milk can throw many new moms into a panic, it's something many new moms all can admit to wondering (or obsessing) about. During the first months as a mom (and pretty much all of the subsequent ones), you're constantly worried if you're doing enough for your children. And although having a short supply of breast milk or not being able to produce it at all is extremely rare, there are many little things you can do to help increase your milk supply. Because, really, you can never have too much of that liquid gold.
Believe it or not, Mayo Clinic noted that it's actually rare to have a low milk supply, so don't let the thought of not producing enough stress you out. Instead, focus on feeding your baby as often as you can. Your body was actually made to do this, so don't let unnecessary worry take over. Whether you're pumping, nursing, or doing a combination of both, your body tailors your milk supply to fit your babies needs. But since you can never have too much, using these simple hacks can make a huge difference in your milk supply, allowing you to put worry behind you.
1. Nurse Often
Your baby is your best asset when it comes to upping your supply. If you increase the frequency of feedings, your body will naturally produce more milk— it's amazing, really. According to Dr. Sears, even if your baby doesn't seem overly hungry, offering the breast at least every two hours will work wonders on your supply.
2. Pump After Nursing
It may not be your favorite thing to do, but pumping for a few minutes after a nursing session can increase your supply as well. According to Kid's Health, the more milk you remove, the more you'll produce. So even pumping for a few minutes at a time will do your supply some good.
3. Wear A Bra That Fits
As strange as it sounds, the experts at California Pacific Medical Center noted that wearing a bra that's too tight may decrease your milk supply and potentially cause blocked milk ducts or painful mastitis. Though the bra would have to be very tight for this to happen, it's best to buy bras that are supportive but not tight.
4. Nurse On Both Sides
Though there is no set rule that you must nurse on both sides each feeding, Baby Center noted that at least offering the other after your baby has finished one could boost your production and help your baby stay full longer.
5. Eat All Of The Oats
According to Belly Belly, oats are a common lactogenic food, or galactagogue, that are known to impact the milk-making hormones produced by the pituitary gland. So adding a simple bowl of oatmeal to your morning routine is an easy way to up your supply.
6. Use Breastfeeding-Friendly Birth Control
Though most hormonal birth control pills aren't recommended while you're breastfeeding, there are plenty of other breastfeeding-friendly birth control options available to moms that won't put a damper on her milk production.
7. Stay Hydrated
Drinking extra water won't cause you to make more milk, but La Leche LEague noted that staying hydrated will help you stay healthy, which is the biggest thing you can do for your milk supply.
8. Make Lactation Cookies
9. Check Baby's Latch
Ensuring that your baby is latched on properly can make a big difference in the amount of milk you produce. If the latch isn't right, your baby won't be expressing as much milk which signals your body to produce less. Use this guide to ensure your latch is correct.
10. Don't Time Your Feedings
Some sources tell moms to stick to a strict feeding schedule when nursing their baby. Not only does this leave out the fact that each baby is different and need different things at different times, but it puts far too much pressure on moms. There is nothing wrong with nursing on demand, or for however long your baby wants. In fact, it's thought that letting your baby take the lead on when and how long you nurse can help your supply as well.
11. Don't Stress
Although the thought that stress can have an effect on your milk supply might actually stress you out more, it's important to stay as relaxed as you can. Nursing releases the hormone oxytocin, which is naturally calming, but Baby Center noted that if you're extremely tense or stressed out, it could slow the release of the hormone, causing your supply to be a bit slower. Use this as an excuse to take it easy and rest a little bit more than you otherwise would.