How to Fix Low Milk Supply
The key to increasing your milk supply is frequent stimulation and emptying of the breasts. What does that mean? You’re telling your body there is a demand for your milk, so, in theory, your body will begin to create more.
How to Stimulate and Empty your Breasts
- Each time you start pumping, take 3-5 minutes to focus on your baby – take a few deep breaths, look at his or her picture, imagine what he smells like, what he feels like on your chest – taking this time to focus on your baby will help your milk letdown (or come out) when you pump.
- Power pump. Pump for 20 minutes every hour for three hours in a row or alternate pumping for 10 minutes and resting for 10 minutes for an hour. This is done in addition to the eight pumps a day you are already doing! You will need to power pump for 3-4 days in a row to see an increase in supply – it takes extra effort, but often works.
- Breastfeed frequently, two to three hourly – a total of at least eight feeds in 24 hours. Your baby may need to be woken for some feeds.
- Switch feed. Offer each breast twice. When you notice your baby is becoming tired or not swallowing very frequently anymore, take your baby off that breast and 'switch' to the next side. Repeat on both breasts. This will ensure your baby is draining the breast more efficiently.
- Express after breastfeeds to provide further stimulation to your breasts and to ensure that your breasts are well drained. This will help increase your milk supply. You can also use a pump.
Here’s a list of other things you can try at home
- Skin-to-skin contact with your baby before and during feeds to stimulate the hormone oxytocin, which gets your milk flowing.
- Relaxation techniques, such as listening to your favourite calming music, or meditation to reduce any anxiety that could be affecting your
- Stay hydrated. Drink non-caffeinated beverages whenever you are thirsty
- Proper latch. Make sure the latch is good and that your baby is both sucking and swallowing
- Wake a sleeping baby. If your baby is sleepy at the breast and not feeding well you may need to cut short the feed and use the time to express each breast twice. Or you can stripe your baby down to stimulate baby awake.
- Fuel your milk machine. Make sure you’re getting enough calories every day. Trying to lose weight while breastfeeding can drop your supply.
- Sometimes prescription medicines are used to assist with increasing milk supply; these are available from your doctor.
- Get Help. If you suspect your milk supply is low, see a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist. Your family doctor may not be able to help. A lactation consultant will observe a breastfeed to see if your baby is latched on well and taking in enough milk.They will also assess whether you have low milk supply.
If the breast milk supply is genuinely low it is usually a temporary situation and can be improved with appropriate support.
Please note that diet and special foods isn’t on this list. Not one site I researched mentioned lactation cookies or Guinness beer, two things often recommended by mom bloggers with no lactation experience. The key to increase supply is to create a demand for your breastmilk. If there are no medical conditions present, then with hard work, you can increase your supply.