4 Ways to Increase Your Milk Supply

Newborn babies feed a lot and it’s normal for parents to think that this is due to them not having enough milk to sustain their babies appetite. It’s a common assumption in today’s society that women may not produce enough breastmilk however did you know that the reason for low supply is down to a few factors. If you have had breast surgery for example, the ducts may have been cut and this may impact supply. It could also be that you have insufficient glandular tissue which is rare, if you’re worried then always contact your local lactation consultant for 121 support.

The truth is, for the vast majority of us, we do produce enough milk and what impacts supply is our own choices and behaviours. In this blog I am going to run through 4 ways to ensure you have a good supply and can feed your baby with confidence rather than doubt.

So, what can you do to increase your milk supply?

1. Start breastfeeding as soon as possible

First of all, feed your baby at birth or as close to birth as possible. Your breasts have receptor sites in them, and when the placenta is released after birth your brain gets a huge shot of prolactin which is the hormone that delivers breastmilk. This tells your body that your baby has been born and feeding should start. The receptor sites in your breasts turn on and produce milk. If your baby doesn’t feed in those first days weeks, then the receptor sites switch off and your body gets the message that milk isn’t needed. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to breastfeed, it means you may always have a lower supply which could affect your ability to feed your baby long term and undermine your confidence in your own supply which may mean you turn to formula which will undermine your supply even further.

woman_and_newborn_baby

2. Breastfeed on demand

Don’t feed against a schedule. This is the most common reason for a low milk supply. If you’ve seen the Mum Guilt-inducing forums full of hot takes on the benefits of feeding against a schedule, ignore them! It’s just plain wrong, and advice given by the unqualified! If you feed against a schedule then your body never gets the message of how much milk is actually needed to sustain your baby so your body and your baby are never fully in tune with one another. Sleep and feeding schedules have become really popular in this day and age as we try and get some control over the throes of early motherhood. Please ignore them, your baby will fall into a schedule in their own time so let them find their way and tell you when they are hungry and when they are sleepy.

3. Hand express between feeds

If you’ve given birth already and feeding didn’t happen straight away then don’t worry, there are other things you can do to increase your supply. For example, you can hand-express between feeds. By doing this you will be giving your brain the message that more milk is needed - and hey presto, more will be made! Remember that lactation is a supply and demand process and the more you tell your brain that there is demand, the more your breasts will supply. If you want to hand express then head over to the prepare me page of the butterbean platform for guidance on how to get started.

4. Try using a breast pump

Alternatively, you can use a breast pump between feeds. If you really want to increase your supply then use a hospital grade pump and look at photos of your baby while pumping to trigger oxytocin, which is the hormone that delivers your breastmilk. I would suggest cutting two holes in an old bra so you can sit down, hands free to express milk.

What can negatively impact your milk supply?

Topping up with formula

Topping up with formula can sometimes be recommended but this approach deserves to be challenged if you want to increase your supply. This is because with every bottle of formula you use, your body will produce less milk, it’s the equivalent of skipping a feed. Your body and baby will also struggle to tune in with one another meaning that your supply will be impacted. Of course, some babies do need formula to support them with feeding but just approach with caution and only use formula when you’ve challenged the decision and know that it is definitely the right route for your baby. It is always best to speak to a lactation consultant about introducing formula, this is because lactation consultants hold the highest level of breastfeeding qualification and will be able to help you make an informed decision. Some healthcare workers are not trained in feeding and can offer conflicting advice.

baby_being_fed_by_bottle_while_looking_at_parent

Avoid introducing a dummy

If possible, avoid using a dummy. When a dummy is placed in a baby’s mouth they can’t help but suck and swallow. This means that you are more likely to miss your baby’s feeding cues and won’t know when they are hungry and this can negatively affect your milk supply because you could miss feeds altogether.

Avoid spending time apart

If you have to spend time apart from your baby it will impact the amount of breastmilk you produce. Regularly expressing your breast milk will help maintain your milk supply. Try to avoid spending time apart until your milk supply is established and your body is in tune with your baby.

Feed your baby at night

Many parents are advised to sleep train their babies. Spoiler alert – you can’t teach a baby to sleep, when they are ready they will sleep… but, back to the topic of this blog! If you skip night feeds then your breasts won’t get the message of how much milk is needed, will become full and start reducing your supply. This is because when you skip feeds your body produces a hormone called the Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation and the purpose of this hormone is to tell your body that there is too much milk and to lower the amount that is being made. Essentially, lower your milk supply!

 

For more information on ensuring your baby is getting enough milk, be sure to explore the ‘Prepare my mind’ section of our platform. It’s the ultimate resource for understanding breastfeeding positions, learning about formula feeding, and everything in between.

 

 

Francesca's Birth Positive Home Birth Story

4 Ways to Increase Your Milk Supply

Francesca's Birth Positive Home Birth Story

Newborn babies feed a lot and it’s normal for parents to think that this is due to them not having enough milk to sustain their babies appetite. It’s a common assumption in today’s society that women may not produce enough breastmilk however did you know that the reason for low supply is down to a few factors. If you have had breast surgery for example, the ducts may have been cut and this may impact supply. It could also be that you have insufficient glandular tissue which is rare, if you’re worried then always contact your local lactation consultant for 121 support.

The truth is, for the vast majority of us, we do produce enough milk and what impacts supply is our own choices and behaviours. In this blog I am going to run through 4 ways to ensure you have a good supply and can feed your baby with confidence rather than doubt.

So, what can you do to increase your supply?

1. Start breastfeeding as soon as possible

First of all, feed your baby at birth or as close to birth as possible. Your breasts have receptor sites in them, and when the placenta is released after birth your brain gets a huge shot of prolactin which is the hormone that delivers breastmilk. This tells your body that your baby has been born and feeding should start. The receptor sites in your breasts turn on and produce milk. If your baby doesn’t feed in those first days weeks, then the receptor sites switch off and your body gets the message that milk isn’t needed. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to breastfeed, it means you may always have a lower supply which could affect your ability to feed your baby long term and undermine your confidence in your own supply which may mean you turn to formula which will undermine your supply even further.

woman_and_newborn_baby

2. Breastfeed on demand

Don’t feed against a schedule. This is the most common reason for a low milk supply. If you’ve seen the Mum Guilt-inducing forums full of hot takes on the benefits of feeding against a schedule, ignore them! It’s just plain wrong, and advice given by the unqualified! If you feed against a schedule then your body never gets the message of how much milk is actually needed to sustain your baby so your body and your baby are never fully in tune with one another. Sleep and feeding schedules have become really popular in this day and age as we try and get some control over the throes of early motherhood. Please ignore them, your baby will fall into a schedule in their own time so let them find their way and tell you when they are hungry and when they are sleepy.

3. Hand express between feeds

If you’ve given birth already and feeding didn’t happen straight away then don’t worry, there are other things you can do to increase your supply. For example, you can hand-express between feeds. By doing this you will be giving your brain the message that more milk is needed - and hey presto, more will be made! Remember that lactation is a supply and demand process and the more you tell your brain that there is demand, the more your breasts will supply. If you want to hand express then head over to the prepare me page of the butterbean platform for guidance on how to get started.

4. Try using a breast pump

Alternatively, you can use a breast pump between feeds. If you really want to increase your supply then use a hospital grade pump and look at photos of your baby while pumping to trigger oxytocin, which is the hormone that delivers your breastmilk. I would suggest cutting two holes in an old bra so you can sit down, hands free to express milk.

What can negatively impact your milk supply?

Topping up with formula

Topping up with formula can sometimes be recommended but this approach deserves to be challenged if you want to increase your supply. This is because with every bottle of formula you use, your body will produce less milk, it’s the equivalent of skipping a feed. Your body and baby will also struggle to tune in with one another meaning that your supply will be impacted. Of course, some babies do need formula to support them with feeding but just approach with caution and only use formula when you’ve challenged the decision and know that it is definitely the right route for your baby. It is always best to speak to a lactation consultant about introducing formula, this is because lactation consultants hold the highest level of breastfeeding qualification and will be able to help you make an informed decision. Some healthcare workers are not trained in feeding and can offer conflicting advice.

baby_being_fed_by_bottle_while_looking_at_parent

Avoid introducing a dummy

If possible, avoid using a dummy. When a dummy is placed in a baby’s mouth they can’t help but suck and swallow. This means that you are more likely to miss your baby’s feeding cues and won’t know when they are hungry and this can negatively affect your milk supply because you could miss feeds altogether.

Avoid spending time apart

If you have to spend time apart from your baby it will impact the amount of breastmilk you produce. Regularly expressing your breast milk will help maintain your milk supply. Try to avoid spending time apart until your milk supply is established and your body is in tune with your baby.

Feed your baby at night

Many parents are advised to sleep train their babies. Spoiler alert – you can’t teach a baby to sleep, when they are ready they will sleep… but, back to the topic of this blog! If you skip night feeds then your breasts won’t get the message of how much milk is needed, will become full and start reducing your supply. This is because when you skip feeds your body produces a hormone called the Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation and the purpose of this hormone is to tell your body that there is too much milk and to lower the amount that is being made. Essentially, lower your milk supply!

 

For more information on ensuring your baby is getting enough milk, be sure to explore the ‘Prepare my mind’ section of our platform. It’s the ultimate resource for understanding breastfeeding positions, learning about formula feeding, and everything in between.