If you're a breastfeeding mother or plan to be, there may come a time where you struggle with milk supply. It's a totally normal occurrence and can happen from time to time for a plethora of reasons including: stress, diet, fatigue, illness, etc. There is nothing wrong with you, your body, or your baby if a supply struggle crops up. There are a lot of ways to solve a supply issue, one of which you can do before you start your day. So what is the one thing you should do every morning to increase your milk supply?
The answer? Pump like there's no tomorrow. According to Kelly Mom, milk volume is the highest in the morning and it dwindles throughout the day. Whether you put your baby directly at the breast, exclusively pump, or do a combination of both, it'd be a good idea to maximize on the sheer volume of milk you have in the morning by getting out as much as you can. A manual hand pump, electric, or hospital-grade pump will generally do the job. You could even try hand expressing as well and storing the extra milk.
Regardless of the cause of your supply issues, it's generally recommended that you up the amount of times you feed or pump per day. According to Le Leche League International (LLLI) human milk supply runs off of the law of supply and demand. The more you feed or pump, the more milk your body makes. If you find yourself unable to empty your full morning supply onto your baby directly (alas, baby can only eat so much), additional pumping will ensure that you empty your breasts completely, thereby signaling your body that you still need to produce that amount.
Beyond preventing or solving supply issues, emptying your breasts completely during each feeding or pump session is important to prevent engorgement, clogged ducts, and even mastitis. If you're making milk, but not expressing it all the way, the milk can get backed up, as explained on Baby Center, so it's important to empty your breasts as much as possible during each feeding or pump session.
Just because breastfeeding is touted as natural, that doesn't mean it's always easy. Making small adjustments in the morning, like pumping or extending the length of nursing time (if you're baby wants) are good ways to increase your milk supply and ward off any potential and painful breast issues overall.