How to Increase Low Milk Supply
Posted by Krystal Duhaney, RN, BSN, IBCLC on Oct 27th 2022
Increasing Low Supply
Did you know that low milk supply is rare, but according to La Leche League, it is one of the most common concerns of mothers, leading to formula use? If you’ve stopped breastfeeding and want to restart through relactation, or are mixed-feeding and want to build up your milk supply, you’re not alone! Keep reading for our tips and reach out to a breastfeeding consultant for more help!
How to increase breastmilk supply is one of the most sought after answers from breastfeeding mothers everywhere. During pregnancy our bodies nourish and grow our babies. This is true for breastfeeding as well! From zygote to newborn (and as long as you want to continue breastfeeding), our bodies give them exactly what they need to survive and thrive. Our bodies continue to nourish and grow our children by providing milk for nutrition, immunity, and a sense of comfort and care.
Milk production is driven by supply and demand. This means, the more the baby drinks, or the more you pump (supply) the more milk our body will make (demand).
By making sure you have a proper latch and you are frequently breastfeeding on demand, your body will produce a strong supply of milk. The biggest factor in a reduction of supply is stress. We all know how stressful life can get, and feeling like your baby is not getting enough nourishment can add to that stress. But don’t fret, Mama, we are here for you!! We have tons of tips to help you increase your supply and decrease your stress!
Skin-To-Skin contact can help reduce stress and increase your milk supply. Skin-to-skin contact stimulates the release of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”, which helps us bond with loved ones. Oxytocin is released by touch for both mom and baby when skin-to-skin is utilized. It helps reduce stress because the hormone release relaxes you, causing you to destress and as a result will encourage milk to flow.
How to do Skin-To-Skin
- Cuddle your undressed baby upright between your bare breasts, with a blanket to cover you both if the room is cool. *ENSURE Baby’s airway is clear!*
- Stay in this position as much of the day as you desire, as often as you desire. The more, the better!
Frequent and Effective Breastfeeding
While utilizing some skin-to-skin time, breastfeed on demand, as often as your baby is willing to feed. Follow your baby’s lead and never force-feed your baby. Offer nursing sessions often, do not always rely on nursing cues like crying or fussing to offer nursing sessions.
Make sure to offer both sides, and switch which side you offer first each session. It is also more effective if you are able to empty the breast at each feeding. By emptying the breast, you will produce more milk, because of the supply and demand method!
You can help your milk flow by gently squeezing your breast, starting with your fingers under your breast, your thumb on top, in the “C” or “cupping” position. Gently press and slide down, repeating, until you notice your baby swallowing.
Ensure that your baby has a deep and comfortable latch. It should not be painful. You can book a private consultation with one of our certified lactation consultants here if you need help with your latch and positioning.
Pumping Information and Tips
Your pump output is not a good indicator of your milk supply. Did you know the average pump output (when replacing a nursing session or a regular pumping time every 2-3 hours) is 2-4 ounces COMBINED?! Yes, 2-4 ounces total as an average is common. So, do not get discouraged if you are not filling your pump bottles to the max, because it is not typical.
This is because a baby with a healthy and strong suck can remove milk from your breast much more efficiently than a breast pump does. Your pump output can also be dependent on several factors, such as the type of breast pump you are using, if your pump parts are broken or worn out (including using the correct flange size) and how frequently and effectively you’re pumping.
TIPS for Pumping Moms
- Stop staring at the bottles while you pump. This will allow you to relax more and not get stressed out over the ounces you’re producing.
- Look at pictures or videos of your baby while you’re pumping. Having something that smells like your baby can also help with letdown.
Did you find this information useful? Do you have any breastfeeding tips to share? Let us know in The Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Group. This is your place to get advice from our team of Milky Mama experts and seasoned breastfeeding moms. If you are needing more one-on-one help, book a call with one of our International Board Certified Lactation Consultants here.
La Leche League https://www.llli.org/wp-content/uploads/Copy-of-Increasing-Breastmilk-Supply-4.pdf