How To Increase Breast Milk Production
(Everything You Need To Know!)
When it comes to feeding your baby, parents have options to ensure that their baby is being nourished properly and adequately. If you choose to feed your baby with breastmilk, it is important to understand how to increase breast milk production to ensure you never have a shortage.
Are you a breastfeeding mama looking to learn how to increase her milk production? If you answered yes, then you are in the right place!
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of breast milk, the science behind breast milk production, tools to support production, and step-by-step instructions to support you in your milk production journey.
The Benefits of Breast Milk
Breast milk, otherwise known as “liquid gold”, is packed with an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Here are some benefits of providing breast milk to your baby:
- Unique antibodies that help fight off disease
- Lowers baby’s risk of asthma or allergies
- Strengthened immune system
- Protects against obesity
- Source of easily absorbed nutritional components
- Fewer ear infections
- Lower rates of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
The Science Behind Breast Milk Production
Understanding the science behind breast milk production is a great way to educate yourself on how to increase your milk supply.
When you are pregnant, you may notice that your breasts begin to leak small amounts of liquid. While you may assume that this is breast milk, it is actually a nutrient-rich substance called colostrum.
Within a few days of giving birth, your breast milk will “come in”, taking the place of the colostrum.
Breast milk is produced in the alveoli glands, which are located within the breast. Hormones trigger the milk to be released out through the alveoli and into the milk ducts, which carry the milk through the breast.
Ways to Distribute Breastmilk to Your Baby
Breastfeeding is difficult, and, as wonderful as it can be, it is not possible for every baby. Many situations would make it extra challenging for a baby to breastfeed. These situations include the baby being premature, experiencing a tongue-tie, chiropractic misalignment, or other.
Thankfully, there are other ways to administer breast milk to your baby. These ways are:
Are you struggling with nursing your baby comfortably? Check out our article on Different Positions to Hold Your Baby While Breastfeeding.
📌Pumping/ bottle feeding
For extremely premature babies, they are too tiny to have an effective latch on their mother’s breast, making it crucial for them to receive milk in the easiest way possible!
Similar to spoon-feeding, syringe feeding is another technique for tiny babies who cannot put in a lot of effort to breastfeed.
How To Increase Breastmilk Production
Now that you understand that breast milk is worthwhile, that it can be consumed in ways other than the breast, and the science behind breast milk production, let’s talk about the steps that you need to take to increase your breast milk production.
1. Express milk (via breastfeeding or pumping) as often as possible.
Remember, breastmilk is produced on a “supply and demand” basis. That means that, as long as everything is working correctly, your milk supply will increase according to how much milk is expressed from the body.
Whether you are breastfeeding, pumping, or hand-expressing, express milk in between and after feeds with your baby. Even if you feel like your breasts are empty, be sure to take the time to stimulate the breast in this way, as it will trigger the milk-producing hormones in the brain.
2. Stay hydrated
One common side effect of breastfeeding is that moms often feel like they are thirstier than ever before! When breastfeeding, oxytocin is released. This oxytocin prompts feelings of thirst which encourages the mother to drink.
A good habit to develop is to try to drink a large glass of water every time you sit down to nurse. Fill a large water bottle and keep it accessible as you complete tasks around the house, and be sure not to leave the house without water in your diaper bag!
3. Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet
Breastfeeding moms should make their diet a priority. Ensure your diet is rich in the following:
- Protein (eggs, greek yogurt, lean meats, seafood, beans, lentils)
- Iron (leafy greens, lentils, nuts, whole grains, seeds)
- Calcium (fruit juices, tofu, citrus fruits, calcium-enriched products)
By eating a diverse diet, you will be able to consume a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that will nourish you and help you to feel your best.
4. Connect with a lactation consultant
If you are doing all of these steps and are still concerned about your milk supply, connect with a professional lactation consultant near you. There are sometimes larger-scale issues that go undiagnosed, that can be easily resolved if caught by a professional (ex. A tongue-tie).
Tools to Support Breast Milk Production
While breastfeeding doesn’t technically require any tools, there are a few items that can make your breastfeeding journey easier. Here are some of our most highly recommended tools to support breast milk production.
Oftentimes, women will procrastinate investing in a nursing bra for themselves as they would rather spend money on their baby. However, a supportive bra will benefit both you and your baby.
When selecting a nursing bra, consider the following:
- Iron (leafy greens, lentils, nuts, whole grains, seeds)
- Size and fit
- Style and Design
📌Full Coverage Padded Nursing Bra
This cozy, 100% cotton nursing bra is a total must-have for any nursing mother. Featuring easy to open breastfeeding clips, and optional extra wide straps for additional support, you can trust that there will be no wardrobe malfunctions here!
📌Racerback Nursing Sleep Bralette
This ultra-soft lace bralette is ideal for sleeping. With easy access to the breast via a pull-down strap, there will be no middle-of-the-night meddling with clips or clasps.
📌Lace Hands-Free Pumping Bra
For our pumping mamas, this lovely lace bra allows your to pump hands-free… meaning you can multitask and tackle one of the many things a busy mom has to do on her to-do list!
There are many types of nursing pillows available, so it is important to consider what size and shape nursing pillows will be the most beneficial for you.
Here are some things to conside
2. Breast Pump
As mentioned earlier, a great way to increase milk supply is by pumping regularly and in-between nursing sessions. While hand-expression is beneficial and productive, the most efficient way to express milk is through pumping!
To pump, you will need to invest in a breast pump that suits your needs. There are two primary types of pumps:
- Manual Pumps- These pumps do not require electricity or batteries to operate. Simple fit the flange to the breast and squeeze the attached pump continually to get the milk flowing into the bottle or container connected.
- Electric Pumps- These pumps require electricity or batteries, and are typically more powerful and efficient than manual pumps. Simply attach the flange to the breast, select that speed and intensity at which the pump needs to operate, and you are good to go!
Within the two categories, many things set one pump apart from another. When purchasing, consider the following: !
- Other features (a timer, nightlight, etc.)
All in all, breastfeeding and pumping are no easy feat. They take time and effort! While it is possible for most women to produce a sufficient milk supply, it is unfortunately not possible for all. If you find yourself in a situation where you must resort to formula, do not feel guilty. Instead, feel proud of yourself for making the best decision for your baby!
Through consistency, patience, and practice, you will be producing enough milk to feed your little one in no time. Good luck mama…you’ve got this!
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