Many mothers live in the fear of an inadequate milk supply but in most cases this fear is unsubstantiated. If you are afraid that you do not have enough milk, first watch for the signs that indicate your baby is getting enough, such as weight gain, alertness, excessive sleep, general mood.
If you really experience too little breastmilk, ask your lactation specialist for help to increase your milk supply and stay in contact with your health care professional.
The following tips may help you to increase your milk production:
- Milk production follows the system of supply and demand. That says the more milk is drained from the breast the more milk will be produced. This is why you should increase the frequency of feeds. Try to breastfeed at least every two hours during the day and every three hours during the night, with at least one of those feeds occurring between 2am and 5am.
- Only a well-positioned and correctly latched-on baby can stimulate the breast adequately. Therefore check or have your lactation specialist check the positioning and latch-on of your baby.
- Get enough rest. A few days of bed rest with the baby and nothing else to do but resting and breastfeeding (a breast-fest, if you will...) can be very efficient.
- Avoid all kinds of artificial nipples (bottles and soothers). All sucking should be at the breast. If it is necessary to supplement, use a supplemental nurser, cup, SoftCup Advanced Cup Feeder, a spoon or a syringe instead of a bottle.
- Additional use of a breastpump, particularly a dual electric pump with variable speed and suction levels, might be appropriate.
- Herbs such as Fenugreek, Goats Rue, Blessed Thistle and Fennel Seed have been known for centuries to help increase breastmilk supply. There are also certain lactogenic foods such as oats, red meat, etc which may help increase supply.
- Skin to skin contact with your baby will help stimulate your prolactin; invest in a soft sling which will allow skin contact between you.