Ten Tips for Restoring Milk Supply

Here you are — you finally think you have this breastfeeding thing down. No more sore nipples, baby is gaining weight, sleeping in longer stretches, and you’re finally starting to feel like your old self again. Then suddenly you have a drop in your milk supply in what seems like overnight. This sudden change isn’t uncommon to nursing mothers, but it can cause momentary panic in a new mom and leave you wondering why this is happening. Many things can cause a once robust milk supply to drop. It could be that you went back to work and are now separated from your baby for longer stretches during the day, perhaps you had an illness, have had recent stress in your life, return of your menstrual cycle, or just plain haven’t been taking good care of yourself. Whatever the reason for this drop, there are things you can do to increase your milk supply and bring it back up to the level it once was.

Can you increase your milk supply after it decreases?

Yes. The fastest way to increase your milk supply is to ask your body to make more milk. Whether that means nursing more often with your baby or pumping – increased breast stimulation will let your body know you need it to start making more milk.

It usually takes about 3-5 days before you see an increase in your supply.

Here are 10 tips on how to increase your milk supply and get it back up to where it once was:

1.Get lots of rest and take care of yourself. It is so important that you’re getting enough sleep. Try to choose a sleeping arrangement that allows for the maximum amount of sleep for mom and baby. Have the right swaddler or sleep sack for the age of your child. This ensures they’re not only as comfortable and warm as possible, but these kinds of products are specifically designed to help your baby feel safe and secure to help them sleep longer and better.

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2.Drink lots of water! I can’t stress this enough. Every time you breastfeed or pump, drink a glass of water.

3.Have a “nurse in” with your baby. Take at least 24 hours and snuggle in with the baby. Have water, snacks and diapers at hand and nurse as often as baby will nurse. Be sure to have a comfortable nursing pillow to make the experience as comfortable as possible for you and your baby. Practicing skin to skin during this time also helps to increase milk supply. This time together for mom and baby not only will increase the frequency of nursing, but also provide some extra rest for Mom, which also helps to increase prolactin level and helps with your milk supply.

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4.Consider pumping. Try to pump 8-10 times in 24 hours, 10-15 minutes at a time, every day after breastfeeding until you notice your supply increasing. You’re pumping to increase your milk supply, so don’t worry if nothing comes out at first.

5.Apply a warm compress to your breasts for a few minutes before breastfeeding or pumping. Combined with a breast massage, the warm compress will help to get the milk flowing.

6.Try taking galactagogues. Galactagogues are herbal supplements that help to increase your milk supply. The most commonly used are Fenugreek, brewers yeast, blessed thistle and alfalfa. Before taking a galactagogue talk to your health care provider to see if they are safe for you.

7.Take away the pacifier. If your baby has a need to suck – let them fulfill that suck on your breasts. Any extra stimulation on your breasts will help to increase your milk supply.

8.Eat foods know to help increase your milk supply. Foods such as oatmeal, garlic, carrots, fennel, nuts, green papaya, sesame seeds and ginger all work to help increase your milk supply.

9.Make lactation cookies. There are many recipes online that are easy to make and yummy to eat. These cookies contain ingredients that will work to give your supply a boost.

10.Don’t stress out. Try to keep things relaxed and focus on the positive things. Your milk supply will return.

Jennifer Lezak is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She studied and received her training at UCSD, close to where she grew up in San Diego. She mentored under several very experienced IBCLC teachers in different areas of practice in various hospitals and private practices around Southern California. Currently, you can find Jennifer through her private practice Milkmade LA, Loom – a hub for new parents, and Kaiser Permanente on Sunset Blvd. Jennifer Lezak regularly attends conferences and workshops to keep her knowledge and skills current. She has worked at several hospitals around Los Angeles, including Cedars Sinai Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital and has spent many years in Private Practice. She offers her services in Private Practice visiting clients at their homes, also with many local OB Doctors, Pediatricians, and clinics around Los Angeles in their offices. Before she found her calling as a Lactation Consultant, she received a BA from SDSU in English Literature. The proud mother of two boisterous young boys, ages 8 and 10, she understands the fears that go along with becoming a new parent as well as the challenges that parents face as their families expand. Jennifer loves helping new parents not only successfully breastfeed, or help to support breastfeeding, but to also manage the daily tasks of surviving motherhood while also finding a balance with their family’s every changing needs. Through Jennifer Lezak’s work she hopes to nurture a community where new mothers can find answers, become empowered, and form lifelong friendships.