I get asked many questions about increasing milk supply. When I meet with moms who ask how to increase their supply, I first like to ask WHY they are worried about their supply. Many times it’s because baby is signaling to increase feeds, which actually indicates a growth spurt rather than a problem with your supply. I like to help moms create confidence in themselves and their ability to feed their baby. So before you doubt yourself, trust the process! Remember that as you listen to baby’s cues and feed on-demand, it’s likely that your supply is just fine.
Below are some of my top tips for increasing milk supply. Remember that any one of these might make a difference with you, but usually a combination will be the most effective. Keep in mind that increasing breast stimulation is the best way to increase your milk production.
Here are my tips for increasing milk supply:
- Ensure an optimal latch. Milk is made on a supply and demand principle. The more milk is removed, the more the body supplies it. If the latch isn’t great, milk isn’t being removed and your body won’t produce as much. If you need some help troubleshooting your baby’s latch, you might benefit from an online class or an eConsult.
- Increase the frequency of feeds. This usually happens naturally if you’re watching baby’s hunger cues and feeding on demand. Frequency is more important than overall time spent expressing.
- If you really need a boost, consider pumping after a feeding session. Start with once a day and work up as is doable. Don’t be concerned if nothing comes out at first, after all, baby has already eaten! Once you feel a boost, taper off.
- When pumping, use a combination of the electric pump + breast compressions. This combination has been proven to get the most milk out! Using a hands-free nursing/pumping bra can be really helpful with this.
- Consider trying “power pumping”. This is when you pump for ten minutes, rest for ten minutes, and so on, for a total of 60 minutes making up the ‘power hour’. This can be done a few times a day).
- Consider trying galactogogues. This is a remedy or supplement thought to increase milk supply like fenugreek, brewers yeast, and others. Remember that there is no research evidence to suggest these work! You’ll also need to check with your doctor to ensure they are compatible with any current medications. Some mothers have found them helpful but keep in mind that increasing breast stimulation is your number one proven way to boost milk supply. Read more about breastfeeding supplements here.