How to boost your supply – an essential guide for the breastfeeding mom

Aside from getting enough sleep, figuring out if your little one is getting enough food from the milk your body produces, can be one of the most stressful parts about taking care of a newborn. Even if it seems like your body is producing very little milk, know that you are most likely making enough. Newborns don't need much food, Baby Center reports. 
"Nearly all nursing mothers worry at one time or another about whether their babies are getting enough milk. Since we can't measure breast milk intake the way we can formula intake, it is easy to be insecure about the adequacy of our milk supplies. The 'perception' of insufficient breast milk production is the most common reason mothers give for weaning..." according to Breastfeeding Basics. 
Advertisement
How to tell if you are making enough.
Most mothers make plenty of milk for their little ones. Weight loss is even normal for most babies (sometimes up to 7 percent of their initial weight), so some weight loss is not even a symptom that they are not getting enough food. 
What to Expect recommends keeping tabs  on a few things to determine if you are making enough milk: 
Weight loss: While some weight loss is normal, if your little one drops more than 10 percent of their birthweight, they may not be getting enough nutrients, according to Parents. This isn't always an indication that you are producing enough, you may just need help finding the right position so your baby can latch better. 
Diaper check: Your baby should have a dirty diaper at least five times until they are two months old, after which they may poop only once a day or every other day. They should have a wet diaper around 8 to 10 times per day. Urine in the diaper should be light yellow or clear. 
Fussing after feedings: If you've nursed your little one on both sides and burped them and they seem unsatisfied and fussy they may not be getting enough milk. There are other reasons for this too, so talk to a doctor before you give up breastfeeding right away. Fussiness and frequent feedings often trigger concerns from new mothers about their supply, but it can simply mean your baby is going through a growth spurt. This is a natural pattern of growth and your body will adjust to baby's growing hunger.
Pumping: The amount of milk you pump is not an indicator of the amount of milk your baby is able to get while nursing. A full-time nursing mother can pump as little as 1/2 oz total per session, according to Kelly Mom
If you have any concerns about your little one, talk to your pediatrician. They are there to help (even if you think your questions are silly!). 
Why is your supply low?
If your milk supply is low, you may be unknowingly sabotaging your own efforts. Things that could reduce your milk supply include overuse of pacifiers, birth control pills, illness and medical conditions. Trying to keep your baby on a strict feeding schedule and limiting their nursing time to super short sessions, could also reduce your milk. If you plan to return to work, you may want to consider pumping to help offset some production loss, according to Breastfeeding Basics. 
Some mothers have a difficult time producing milk, but this is not as common as it seems. 
Increase your supply
If you think you need help increasing your milk supply, here are a few suggestions to give your supply a boost:
Supplements: Some women claim the use of a natural galactagogue (herbs and foods that increase milk production) has been helpful. Some of these herbal remedies are not regulated and could cause side effects in mom and/or baby. The Boob Geek recommends using caution if you choose to go this route. 
Diet: Rather than herbal supplements, Mom Junction recommends adding these foods  to your diet to help increase your milk supply: oatmeal, salmon, spinach, carrots, fennel seeds, basil leaves, garlic, barley, asparagus, brown rice, apricots, healthy fats and oils, milk, water, almonds and sweet potatoes. 
Nurse more frequently: Your body is highly tuned to adjust to your baby's needs. The more you remove milk from your body, the more it will produce. Nurse as often as baby needs, and offer both sides, recommends Kelly Mom. 
Keep baby interested: If you have a sleepy nurser, she might be falling asleep before getting the milk she needs. Try switching sides frequently and breast compressions to keep baby interested. 
Add in a pumping session: Adding an extra pumping session stimulates your nipples and your body into producing more milk. Don't worry about how much milk you are able to get while pumping, the goal is to simply introduce more frequency. 
Talk to a professional
Before you give up on nursing, consider talking to a lactation specialist Most hospitals have a specialist on call. You can also talk to your gynecologist or pediatrician for references. These specialists can sit with you during a feeding to help you learn different techniques for helping your baby latch. They can also make recommendations for handling problems in the future. Many of these services are offered for free (or very low cost) so don't be afraid to ask for help! 
Advertisement
Being a new mom can be scary. You are probably tired, emotional and more than a little overwhelmed. But, stress can actually make nursing harder, so take a few deep breaths and relax. You have this! 
Share on Facebook

 
Recommended
Advertisement