How to Increase Your Milk Supply Naturally- An Expert Guide
Learn how to increase your breast milk supply naturally and at no cost. Expert top tips for boosting your breast milk supply for free.
Having a newborn baby is exciting and momentous and one of the most important event in a person's life. It can also be stressful and expensive! But there are ways that you can prepare for the baby's arrival to reduce that stress and cut cost.
One of the biggest stressors that women report after having a baby is issues around breast feeding. The baby may have difficulty latching, meaning that they aren't getting enough to eat and mom is getting sore and cracked nipples. Mastitis and painful engorgement can also be a problem. But typically, the most common baby feeding issue is making enough breast milk. You are not alone, bon't worry; there are ways to naturally increase your breast milk supply without spending any money.
How Can You Increase The Amount Of Breast Milk You Make?
- Spend time with your baby skin to skin
- Make sure that you are hydrated
- Make sure that you are eating enough
- Make sure that you are getting some sleep
- Pump and/or feed on both sides
- Try To Be Patient
- Switch off and distract your mind
- Have a picture of your baby if they can't be with you
- Make sure that the pump fits you properly
- Make homemade lactation cookies
Would you like to increase your milk supply without spending any money? Find out how with our New Mummy Company's comprehensive guide.
Follow along with Maria as she talks all things breast milk boosting. Increase the amount of milk that you make at no cost with her expert top tips.
Why Is Breast Milk Important?
Breast milk costs nothing, as opposed to expensive and less beneficial formula. It is important that mom does not give up when she is faced with breastfeeding issues. Breastfeeding is the best source of vital nutrients for a baby. The milk that mom produces is made up of the perfect balance of sugars, vitamins, proteins and fats. (The only thing missing from mamma's milk is vitamin D). If the problem that you face is the physical act of breastfeeding, remember that your baby can still prosper. Modern, hospital grade breast pumps are specifically designed to initiate, increase and maintain breast milk production. It doesn't matter if the baby gets the milk straight from your breast or from a bottle, the nutritional result is the same.
Ten Top Tips For Increasing breast Milk Supply
1. Spend Time With Your Baby Skin To Skin
Baby cuddles are the best thing in the world. And now you have an excuse to do even more of it with your baby. Skin to skin or 'kangaroo care' is where you take off all of your baby's clothes (probably best to leave the diaper, or things could get a little messy) and place the baby on your bare chest. Let the baby snuggle into your chest and get comfortable. There are a huge number of benefits of skin to skin for the baby.
- The baby is calmed and relaxed (this is especially good for them straight after birth)
- The baby's heart rate and temperature is regulated
- Blood sugars are regulated (this is important for babies whose moms had gestational diabetes, which is really common)
- Digestion is stimulated
- The baby benefits from friendly bacteria on the body
- It improves oxygen saturation
It doesn't have to be skin to skin with mom only for the baby to get these amazing benefits. This is a good opportunity for any care giver to embrace and bond with the baby. But, it does need to be mom when it comes to boosting milk production. The more skin to skin time mom gets, the more her breast milk supply will be boosted. The baby will also be able to smell the milk and will be stimulated to nuzzle in to mom's breast and start to feed. It is a happy cycle of snuggles and feeding.
2. Make Sure That You Are Hydrated
Breast milk is a product that is created from mom's body. The breasts produce the milk out of water and nutrients that are sourced from mom's blood stream. After the baby is born (occasionally before) mom's body releases a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone causes contractions inside the breast tissue, which make the 'let down' happen. Voila! breast milk.
But it is important to remember that your body can only make the precious fluid if you are properly hydrated. This may seem like a simple thing, and it is, but busy moms often forget to grab a drink when they have their hands full with a baby. There are a few quick and easy preparations that you can make to keep your hydration up.
- Use a sports bottle. You can fit more in a sports bottle than in a glass and the temperature will remain cool for longer. It is much harder to spill out of the bottle. You can sip from a sports bottle with one hand (and that is often all you will have). Plus it is easier to carry around with you.
- It's a great idea to give siblings a little job to do to make them feel like they are a part of the baby's feeding.
- There are lactation teas available, if you choose. Replacing lactation teas with your usual hot beverage of choice will avoid extra cost. But good old fashioned, plain water will do the job just as well.
3. Make Sure That You Are Eating Enough
Baby is the priority, but it is important that mom takes care of herself so that she can take care of the baby. Breastfeeding takes a lot of calories and you will feel hungry. Try to eat heathy foods and enough of them to keep you going and the baby full too.
Say, 'yes'. Friends and family that care about you and your baby will want to help. So, let them. When the offer of a home cooked meal or a spot of food shopping is made, you should accept it. Enjoy.
Stock up the store cupboard. You never want to find yourself hungry. Keep snacks at hand and make meals in advance before the baby is born. There are a few key items that you should have handy to boost your energy.
- Granola bars
- Vegetable sticks (like carrots, cucumber and celery)
- Peanut butter on toast (think fibre)
4. Get plenty Of Sleep And Rest (as much as you can anyway..)
It can be a tough ask for new parents to get rest and sleep with a new born and other kids to take care of. But, your body does need to have some recovery time. Remember that your wonderful miracle of a body has worked hard. It has made your precious baby and is now working hard to recover and to make milk. It needs rest. Here are a few ideas for how to get it.
Don't be afraid to say no to visitors. It is ok to say no so that you can prioritise self care.
Say 'yes' to help. If you have friends or family members that are willing to cuddle the baby for a few hours so that you can get some rest, then you should definitely take advantage of that. One or two undisturbed naps can make all the difference.
Take sleep seriously. Getting enough rest when you have a newborn baby (and maybe other kids that need you) can be tough. Baby does need feeding regularly throughout the day and night. But, do try to rest when the baby rests. The temptation to do some housework, or catch up on your favourite Netflix series is strong. Remember that your body needs rest to make milk.
If you don't have a pre bedtime routine, it is a good idea to start one. Keep the routine the same as possible every night to help to trigger that vital melatonin. Put away all electronic devises and stimulations, don't be tempted to watch 'just one more' episode. Quality is your aim because quantity will be lacking.
5. Pump And/Or Feed On Both Sides
The baby may be disinclined to feed on one side or could have a side that they prefer. Or they may not be hungry after eating on one side. In any of these cases, you should pump on the side that has milk remaining. Even if the baby has eaten from both sides, using a breast pump afterwards will tell your body that it needs to make more. This is a great idea if you are trying to increase your milk supply. Your breasts need stimulation and milk removed from them if they are to refill and your supply to increase. You can replicate that stimulation with a breast pump. There are some great breast pump options on the market. The New Mummy Company has two hospital grade pumps that they recommend.
The Medela Symphony double breast pump and the Ameda Platinum double breast pump. If you are in the GTA, we will pick it up and conveniently deliver it directly to your doorstep for free! If you are outside of the GTA we can ship it to you for as little as $20 each way. If you would like to learn more about which breast pump is right for you, visit Maria's video here.
6. Try To Be Patient
Even if you are getting very little or no output, it is recommended to pump after you have fed. This sends a signal to the brain that says that your body did not produce enough milk. Little by little your body will respond to this feedback and will start to increase the quantity to milk that it is making. It can be stressful to keep on pumping when not much milk is coming out. Know that you are doing all of the right things to change that.
7. Switch Off And Don't Over Think It
If you do find yourself becoming stressed then try to switch off. Distract your mind and try to relax. Mother Nature knows what she is doing, winding yourself up and worrying will not help to produce more milk. Find a TV show that you like, read your favourite book. Call your mum or your best friend. Don't look at the pump and the milk waiting and stressing, and don't watch and don't spend too much time on it. Up to 15 minutes is enough, make sure that the breast is empty and then stop. Don't get tired and despondent.
8. Have A Picture Of Your Baby When You Pump
Having the baby near you when you are pumping will be a great help. The baby itself stimulates the hormones that you need to produce milk and begin the 'let down'. If your body can believe that your baby is with you then it will help to get things going. However, it is not always possible for your to have the baby with you, and there are all sorts of reasons for that. This does not mean that you can't produce milk. What you can do is get a digital frame or print some pictures. Think about the baby. Grab an unwashed onesie and take a big deep breath. Have these things with you when you are pumping and you should get results. Modern hospital grade pumps are designed to initiate, boost and maintain breast milk supply by mimicking the natural nursing rhythm and sensation.
9. Make Sure That The Pump Fits You Properly
If you still feel like there is milk inside your breast after you have pumped for 15 minutes then take a look at the pump that you are using. It may be that the pump, breast shield or breast flanges that you are using don't fit you properly. It is common for moms to pick up a standard size, but one size does not fit all. You will need to get sized for the correct fit. This will make all the difference.
If the breast shield and the flanges are the correct size then you may need to hand express your milk. It is a bit of work but it is a good way to build supply.
The New Mummy Company's lactation expert Alana, not only delivers the pump of your choice directly to your door but she will also do a sizing for you. Learn more about Alana and how she can help you here.
10. Make Homemade Lactation Cookies
This is not cost free entirely but it is pretty cheap. The base ingredient is oatmeal. Do some research and find a recipe that suits your taste. There are also lactation teas.
It will take a few days before you see an increase in your breast milk output. Hang in there and don't give up. If you stick to all 10 top tips for increasing your breast milk supply then you should see results within a few days. If your milk supply does not increase then it may be best to seek medical help and rule out any underlying issue.