When you’re breastfeeding, there’s nothing more stressful than wondering if you’re producing enough milk for your baby. Mustela is here to help! We’ve created this complete guide for nursing mothers on how to increase milk supply.
With our expert tips and advice, you’ll be back to happy, healthy breastfeeding before you know it. Let’s get started!
How Do I Know If My Baby Is Getting Enough Milk?
With every cry, you can’t help but wonder if it’s because your baby is hungry. We’ve found this to be a common thought among nursing mothers.
The good news is there are signs to look for to make sure your baby is getting enough milk, such as:
- Producing a sufficient amount of wet and dirty diapers every day (this will vary according to the age of your baby, and as your breastfed baby gets older, they will create their own “normal” when it comes to dirty diapers.)
- Gaining weight
- Sleeping well
- Seeming content after feedings
How To Increase Milk Supply
If you are concerned in any way about whether or not your baby is getting enough milk, reach out to their pediatrician. They may advise you to supplement with formula to make sure your baby is getting the nutrients they need.
But, in the meantime, here are some tips and tricks you can try at home to boost your milk supply. Note: we suggest implementing these tips and tricks daily for the best results.
Care For Your Mental Health
To take care of your baby, you have to first take care of yourself. Your little one can sense if you’re stressed, which could result in a change in your milk supply.
First, get as much rest as possible each day. We know this can sometimes be impossible with babies who wake frequently throughout the night for feedings, but it’s important to try! Call in backup if necessary.
Another way to take care of your mental health is to spend a few minutes of your day doing some deep breathing exercises. Breathing exercises can lower your heart rate and help you relax. The effects are immediate but not permanent, so repeat daily.
Spending time doing something you enjoy is another way to care for yourself. This could be reading, running, walking, shopping, meeting up with a friend, taking up a sport, or something else.
Whatever brings you joy and calms you, do it regularly. Fight for that time each day or each week. Taking care of yourself in this way will help maintain your milk supply and reduce stress.
And don’t forget to care for your postpartum skin! Giving birth and breastfeeding can really take a toll on your body.
Try Mustela’s Stretch Marks Serum to help minimize the appearance of recently formed stretch marks. And our Nursing Comfort Balm helps to replenish and restore your skin during and after breastfeeding!
Drink lots of water, and then drink more! This is extremely important for your milk production.
The daily recommended amount of water a nursing mom should consume is 3.1 liters. A good rule-of-thumb is to drink one full glass of water during each nursing session.
Eat A Well-Balanced Diet
The content of your breastmilk changes based on your diet, and you’ll need to take in an extra 500 calories per day while you’re nursing. But remember, the quality of the food you’re eating is more important than the quantity.
Sure, you can get your extra 500 calories by eating a fast-food hamburger, but this is not what we’re talking about. Choose foods that give you energy — you’ll need it! — such as protein-rich oatmeal and eggs.
Also, don’t forget your veggies and fruit! You can easily add in an extra healthy 500 calories per day by mixing up a fruit-and-veggie-filled protein smoothie or shake.
Take Your Vitamins
Continue taking your prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding. This is for your benefit as well as your baby’s. If you’re not taking the right supplements, your nutrition (and, as a result, your milk supply) could suffer.
Make sure the vitamins you’re taking contain calcium, Vitamin D, iron, and folic acid at the very least.
Offer Both Sides When Nursing
Some babies only nurse from one breast per feeding session. If this is the case, that’s OK, but still offer the other side.
You’ll be surprised; one session they may not take the other breast and the next feeding session they will!
Let Your Baby Get A Full Feeding On Each Side
It’s important that your baby fully empties your breast during each feeding. When your breast is empty, it sends a signal to your brain to produce more milk.
And when they completely empty your breast, you can rest assured they’re getting the foremilk and the hindmilk, both important pieces in your little one’s nutrition. Importantly, the hindmilk, which comes last, is where all the good fats are stored.
Simply put: nurse when your baby shows hunger cues. Go with the flow — your milk flow, that is.
There’s nothing wrong with feeding on demand. In fact, it’s encouraged, especially when your baby is a newborn. Their schedule is inconsistent in the first few weeks as both of you are adjusting.
However, we realize that this may not always be possible for moms who work outside of the home. So if you’re exclusively pumping, add in an extra pumping session each day or extend the length of time you’re pumping.
Breastfeed And Pump
For the first several months, you should nurse or pump around eight times a day.
If you’re exclusively pumping, pumping on both sides at once will not only decrease the amount of time you’ll spend pumping, but it will also produce more milk. And if your baby exclusively feeds from the breast, you can boost your milk supply by pumping after a nursing session.
Note: be careful when pumping if you’re exclusively breastfeeding. You’re trying to increase your milk supply, but you also don’t want to have an abundance of milk. This will confuse your body and your baby’s body.
Sticking to the tip above, nursing frequently, will help increase your milk supply and allow your milk to coordinate with your baby’s growing needs.
But if you feel you need a boost in your milk supply, pumping for 10 to 20 minutes after each nursing session for two to three days will get the job done.
Massage Your Breasts
Sometimes your baby will need help getting your milk, especially during the first week or so. Massage and compress your breasts to help push more milk out with each nursing session.
Also, if your baby has stopped nursing and you sense you still need to empty your breast, massaging your breast to hand-express the remaining milk will help keep up your milk supply.
Try Lactation Enhancements
Lactation enhancements help boost your milk supply. Search for lactation cookies or other similar recipes that you can make from your own home for a quick increase in your milk!
Consult A Lactation Consultant
Lactation consultants are experts in the field of breastfeeding and milk production. Reaching out to one is your best option when all else fails.
He or she will also pay attention to your baby’s latch, your nursing position, and if you’re using your pump correctly.
A Healthy Mom And Baby
All of these tips and tricks may sound like a lot to keep up with, but if implemented daily, they will become a piece of cake and naturally flow into your routine.
Something else you may want to consider is using natural, high-quality postpartum products. Postpartum life — especially breastfeeding — can be extremely uncomfortable! Using the right skin care can help ease some of that discomfort.
So grab your skin care products, implement these tips and tricks today to help increase your milk supply, and get back to happy, healthy nursing!
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