This post was written by Loretta Vogel, BSN, RN, community based registered nurse.
When you’re caring for a breastfed baby, worrying about whether or not you are producing enough milk is stressful. Many moms are concerned they have low supply although they are actually producing a normal and healthy amount of breastmilk. If you are one of these moms, you are not alone; the majority of breastfeeding women share the same concern.
Tuning into your baby
When evaluating milk production, it’s important to remember to look for the clues that your baby is getting enough milk:
- Is baby content and happy after nursing?
- After 4 days of age are they producing 3 or more wet diapers and stools?
- Are they experiencing steady weight gain?
- Are you nursing 8-12 times in a 24-hour period?
If the above are not being met, please seek assistance from your physician and a lactation consultant.
Tips to increase production
If the above are being met but you wish to produce more milk due to baby being in NICU, going back to work, a night out or just the security of having extra milk available, these tips will help:
- Nurse on demand. Milk supply is based on “supply and demand”. The more you nurse or empty your breast, the more milk you will make.
- Rest. With a newborn in the house, sleep isn’t something most parents get, but you should rest as much as you can. Have family help with the house, dinners, laundry, etc. Try to focus on you and the baby and rest when the baby is sleeping.
- Focus on nutrition. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids. It’s good to get in the habit of having a glass of water and snacks next to you while nursing.
- Offer both sides when nursing.
- Add pumping sessions: There are a few ways to increase your milk supply by adding in additional pumping sessions:
- Each day, pick an hour (a lot of women pick mornings due to having more supply at that time), and pump for 20 minutes; rest for 10 minutes; pump for 10 minutes; rest for 10; pump for 10. Do this for 1 hour each day. You will typically see the results you are looking for in 2-3 days.
- Pump after nursing. For best results, pump 30-60 minutes after baby has finished nursing.
Remember, breastmilk is produced on the “supply and demand” process. It doesn’t matter what method you pick. You have to do what works for you and your schedule. But remember the more milk you expel, the more you will make.