How To Increase Your Breastmilk Supply (and maintain it)
When your milk supply is dipping or you feel like you are not making enough for your baby. It can be very stressful; this stress in turn lowers your breast milk supply even more. To combat that I have 12 simple hacks that can help maintain and increase your breast milk supply.
I’ll also be answering some of the most asked questions regarding breast milk supply to help make sure you maintain this increase in breast milk – so make sure to read till the end.
This post may contain affiliate links. For my full disclosure see here.
Signs Your Breast Milk Supply Is Decreasing
Before we can even answer how to help increase your breastmilk supply we have to look at your breast milk supply as a whole and figure out if you do have a low supply in the first place.
Signs your baby may not be getting enough milk:
- Baby is producing less wet and dirty diapers
- Baby’s weight gain is decreasing or non-gaining
- Your baby is dehydrated: looks jaundice (yellow), has circles underneath eyes, dry mouth
Most women believe they have low milk supply, but if you are nursing or pumping at every feeding more than likely your breast milk is fine.
#1 Breastfeeding Tip
Take a look at this Ultimate Breastfeeding course perfect for expecting moms and a mom struggling and learning to breastfeed.
Signs Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk
- Baby is feeding regularly (every 2-4 hours) *
- Short feedings
- Long feedings
- You’re constantly hungry
- Breasts feel lighter after feedings
Now if you believe your milk supply isn’t at its best let’s look at ways to increase it.
1. Skin to Skin
Skin to skin is amazing for so many benefits like:
- soothes baby
- less crying time
- releases hormones that promote less stress on baby’s body which in turns helps their blood sugar, temperature
- regulates heart beat
So how does skin to skin help you with your milk supply? By releasing the hormone oxytocin which is the hormone that’s responsible for milk ejection, it increases your supply! How awesome is that.
And you don’t have to stop skin to skin at 6 weeks, continue to do it for as long as you plan to nurse (or before pumping sessions to help if you are an exclusive pumper)
For even more tips on exclusively pumping – check out my eBook with everything I wish I knew about exclusive pumping.
2. Nursing On Demand / Breastfeeding Often
In order to be able to nurse your baby on demand you need to listen to their feeding cues and you need to make sure that you are latching baby on correctly each and every time.
Not only will being on a schedule help you establish your milk supply it will also help your body increase the supply if you add an extra feeding.
Those first few weeks baby will be eating nonstop. Every 1.5-3 hours. Try to go with little ones schedule and feed them at each time. This will make sure your milk supply gets established and keeps going strong.
3. Eating Well / Staying Hydrated
You need to start having a more balanced diet while you are breastfeeding.
It helps to increase your fiber and vitamin intake. Learn about foods that help increase your supply. (see our free pdf for that)
There are certain foods that can help increase your breast milk supply while also helping you feel healthier and full.
Not only should you eat every time your newborn does (in moderation of course) you should also chug water like your life depends on it.
It only makes sense to make a liquid you need a liquid.
This is my favorite water bottle because it’s large and requires less trips to refill.
4 Ingredient Lactation Smoothie (drink it hot)
4. Talk To Your Provider
If you feel that you are trying every trick in the book and you are still not feeling or seeing an increase in your breast milk supply. Now may be the time to ask your provider for help.
Let them know you want to continue to breastfeed and you need help as you think your supply is low. If they confirm that it is low – they may help prescribe you some supplements that will help increase your supply.
*don’t worry we’ll talk about supplements down below.*
5. Fixing Engorgement / Not Letting So Much Time Pass Between Feedings
When you feel engorged and baby is not hungry try pumping. Not only will this tell your body that baby is still hungry it relieves the pressure of engorgement and allows your body to up its milk production.
If pumping is not your style try hand-breast compression to ease the flow of milk and help with engorgement.
- Get a bowl of warm water, a small wash cloth
- Dip the cloth in the water Then
- Take the wet wash cloth and put it over your breast.
- Removing it do hand-breast compression’s by massing your breast downward.
- Use your thumb and palm to express your breast milk
- Not only will this help engorgement it will also help clogged milk ducts. Which hurt soo freaking bad!
6. Keep Taking Your Prenatal Vitamins
Your baby is taking your nutrients and vitamins and they need you to keep adding them in your well balanced diet. In order to help with that keep taking your prenatal vitamins.
It is a super easy hack that will help you increase your supply and keep your health up. #winwin
7. Let Baby Feed Fully On Each Side
Some babies come out of the womb with a preference to one breast over the other. In order to avoid having one larger breast that hurts all the time make sure you are switching between breasts when you are feeding baby.
It also helps to make sure that each breast is being emptied out when baby is done eating.
You can tell your breast has been emptied by your newborn when:
- Your breast are softer to touch
- They feel flacid (kind of floppy)
- Your let down was 10 -15 minutes ago (meaning you haven’t leaked any breast milk in the last 10-15 minutes)
- Little to nothing comes out when you try to hand express
8. Try Lactation Cookies / Teas
Do you want to know how to increase breast milk in one day? You can try making lactation cookies, lactation brownies and lactation teas.
I suggest you eat one (or two – because they are sooo good) and then waiting a few hours to notice the increase your supply.
Most of the time you do have to wait a full day to notice the increase.
9. Use Your Breast Pump
Did you grab your breast pump? Make sure you sign up here and get one from your insurance carrier for free.
Using your breast pump is a great way to help your body increase the amount of milk you are making. Especially if you use it along with breastfeeding your baby.
The way breast milk works is that the more you feed your baby the more the milk increases to meet the demand of baby. So if you are breastfeeding on demand like tip #2 says and then you add a pumping session it can tell your body that baby needs more milk.
Thus the supply and demand make it so your body gets tricked into producing more milk!
Do you want a power pump schedule? I got you mama! Here you go:
10. Take Galactogogues
What is galactogogues you may be thinking. It is anything that is taken to increase your breast milk supply. Here is a list of things that are considered to be galactogogues:
- Whole grains
- Brewers Yeast
- Dark Leafy Greens
- Nuts, seeds
- Fennel Seeds
Try adding these things to your foods to help increase your supply and you will notice the uptick in ounces right away.
11. Change Your Pumping Parts
If you are pumping whether exclusively or just part time you may find that you need to do a total deep clean of your breast pump.
Having your pump in the best shape will help increase your breast milk. You want to make sure that each part is free of dried breast milk.
Changing the small parts like the membranes can make the BIGGEST impact when you pump.
12. Massage Your Breast When Nursing / Pumping
When you are breastfeeding your baby – try to use your free hand to massage your breast downward using your thumb and slowly go towards the areola.
You can also do this when you are pumping. Make sure you use a hands free pumping bra in order to do this with your free hands.
FAQ’s About Breast Milk Supply
Can You Increase Your Breast Milk Supply After 6 Weeks?
Most women start to see a decrease in their milk production around the 6 week mark. This could be for a number of reasons like going back to work at the 6 week mark and not having baby nurse on demand.
You can increase your breast milk supply after 6 weeks. Use some of the hacks down below.
What Causes Low Milk Supply?
If you are nursing baby (or pumping) only a few times per day instead of on demand then you will more than likely see a big dip in your milk supply.
Remember breast milk has a supply and demand need. If your baby (or pump) demand to eat then the milk will be supplied.
If you are using formula to give yourself some recover time until the next feeding you increasing the chance of lowering your breast milk supply.
If your child is losing weight and you are supplementing then keep doing it. A happy, fed healthy baby is better than anything. Just try to pump each time that you give baby a formula bottle to help your supply establish and stay.
Is your newborn only latching on and then getting distracted. Try to make sure that they empty out each breast while you are nursing. A short feed tells your body that your baby is full after just a few minutes.
So in turn your body starts to make less and less milk.
How Can I Increase My Milk Supply Fast?
You can try the tips above, especially making lactation cookies, brownies and teas and using the power pump tip to increase your milk supply the fastest.
How Long Does It Take To Increase My Milk Supply?
This is dependant on you the milk making mama. If you follow the tips above you can see an increase in your supply anywhere from 1 day to 4 days. The thing to do is be consisent and keep trying.
Eat a lactation cookie a day for a whole week, do power pumping every few days, massage your breast at every feeding, and have a better and more nutrient rich diet and then you will start to notice the uptick in your breast milk supply.
In conclusion increasing your breast milk supply and mainting that increase is doable and you can help your breastfeeding journey by doing these things.
Take each day at a time and try new things with your newborn as you both learn to handle life and breastfeeding. I know it is hard and I hope this article has made it easier for you to see that yes you can increase your breast milk supply and you don’t need to do anything crazy for it.
Don’t Forget These Life Saving Milk Makin’ Hacks. Pin The Image Below To Your Favorite Pinterest Board.
12 Ways To Boost Your Milk Supply (and keep it up)
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Rosaura is the mom blogger who helps first time pregnant and postpartum moms find the solutions to their everyday problems. From first finding out you’re pregnant to giving birth and baby care, she has you covered.