Breasts, in all their glorious shapes and sizes, are designed to make milk to feed your baby. But at times, many mums can suffer from a low milk supply, or what they perceive as such. Of course, there’s every chance your milk supply is fine – for example, if your baby is gaining weight well, you don’t need to worry at all.
But what if your baby isn’t gaining weight – or you can’t shake the feeling that your supply is low? When you’re breastfeeding, it’s hard to gauge how much your baby is actually getting at times, so this is a common concern for many mums.
Experts say there are a range of reasons for low milk supply, including poor latch, tongue tie, maternal medical conditions such as breast surgery, PCOS, diabetes, thyroid issues or insufficient glandular tissue. No matter the reason, it can be distressing for any mum to think her baby isn’t getting enough nourishment or worse, is actually going hungry.
So how can you boost your milk supply and maintain a good supply? Here are some tips to try.
10 ways to create a healthy breast milk supply
- Forget feeding routines, at least at first.
- Check your baby is latching correctly.
- Use nipple shields and bottles sparingly.
- Tweak your diet if necessary.
- Get help as soon as you need it.
- Offer both sides at each feeding.
- Consider pumping.
- Forget feeding routines, at least at first. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. The more you feed, the more milk your breasts make, so allowing your newborn to feed on demand will actually help your supply, as well as helping your baby feel secure and loved. (And you will not, as some may suggest, create a ‘rod for your own back’ or a ‘clingy’ child. Meeting your child’s needs is the best thing you can do for them.)
- Check your baby is latching correctly. Midwives are fantastic but they all have their own way of doing things, and any first-time mum is likely to leave hospital completely bamboozled by all the conflicting advice they’ve received, particularly about breastfeeding. If you need help with your baby’s latch, a certified lactation consultant can observe and diagnose any issues you may be having, and help guide you and your baby towards a better technique.
- Use nipple shields and bottles sparingly. It’s up to every mum to find her way and if your baby’s starving, maybe topping him or her up with formula will work for you (no judgement!). Be aware though that using bottles – or nipple shields – reduce the time your baby is on the breast, say experts, as well as the time your nipples are being stimulated and both can affect your supply. Plus, bottles can affect your baby’s sucking technique or the baby can start preferring the more constant, more rapid flow of the bottle.
- Tweak your diet if necessary. You want to make sure you’re eating plenty of fruit and veg, leafy greens, lean meats, nuts, seeds and good fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, salmon, eggs. And don’t forget a good supplement! Our Maternity Formula is designed to support breastfeeding mums with a range of essential vitamins and minerals.
- Get help as soon as you need it. No mum wants to feel as if her baby is starving and when breastfeeding’s not going well, it’s all too easy to tell yourself it’s not working, your kid is starving and it’s time to go get that tin of formula. But with some help by a trained breastfeeding consultant or lactation consultant before you get to that point, you could be back on track fast and happily feeding your baby again.
- Offer both sides at each feeding. Offering one breast is fine if you have a good supply, are in a good rhythm with your baby and he/she is gaining weight well, but if you’re trying to increase milk supply always drain one breast during a feed then offer your baby the other.
- Consider pumping. Experts say that pumping often or for long periods of time can help boost milk supply, by helping remove milk from the breasts and encouraging your body to produce more milk.
What’s your tip for increasing milk supply? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.Tags: breastfeeding, breastisbest, breastmilk