Looking to boost your milk supply? Whether you are prepping for returning to work soon or are looking to have some additional milk on hand for help with feedings, here’s some top tips to help boost your supply.
The reality is that while there are some mamas that struggle with genuinely low milk supply due to not having enough breast tissue, most often a dip in supply comes from infrequent feedings. Milk supply is an on demand system which means if you are looking to up the volume of milk you make you’ll need to squeeze in more breastfeeding or pumping into your day. The milk making hormone, prolactin rises during the nighttime and peaks during the early morning so a great place to start with adding in an extra feed or pump session is your first morning pump.
Power pumping means getting the most “bang for your buck” at a pumping session. When you sit down for a pumping session you can pump for 10-15 minutes to achieve a let down of milk and then take a 5 minute break to massage your breast, grab a snack and hydrate. Then you can put the pump back on for another 10-15 minutes, this tricks your body into thinking that your baby needs another feeding and can help boost your supply! When pumping you can also maximize milk output by ensuring you are turning your suction up to the highest level possible (without it being painful!) to help remove milk from the breast.
Having your baby close to you signals a dose of a milk boosting hormone, oxytocin. You can spend more time skin to skin with your baby by wearing your favorite wrap or sling, taking baths together at home and simply lounging together all provide unrestricted access to the breast (wearing a loose shirt/tank top so your baby can feed on demand can help!). Consider taking baby moon- staying close to your baby for the weekend, canceling plans and spending as much time snuggled up together with as much breastfeeding as possible. You’ll get a much needed weekend off and a boost in your milk supply, too.
While milk supply is largely driven by supply and demand, staying nourished and hydrated is also essential to supporting a great milk supply. We know how hard it can be to get good nutrition when you are time strapped and essentially trying to do everything one handed! New Mama can be a great way to replete essential nutrients postpartum to help heal your body, support milk production and replete your body after birth. Ensuring you have access to regular meals and snacks consistently throughout the day and getting a variety of foods can also support a great milk supply.
Stress is a leading cause of low milk supply for new mamas. Whether it is the return of your menstrual cycle, heading back to work stress or bigger life transitions such as moving- these changes can all impact stress and reduce your milk supply. Be mindful of decreasing stress triggers and increasing oxytocin as much as possible with plenty of skin to skin time, getting in plenty of breastfeeding and/or pumping and taking care of you!
Authored by Jaren Soloff, Registered Dietitian, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Full CRCL and mama to one.