It’s a beautiful thing when you get your breastfeeding groove – latch is sorted, you’ve found a great breastfeeding position that you both love and each feed is getting easier and more enjoyable.
But there may come a time when baby doesn’t seem quite as satisfied, your breasts don’t feel as full and you’re pretty sure something is going on with your supply. Luckily there are plenty of ways to up the amount of milk you’re producing, including specific foods to eat, and different ways to feed.
We spoke to Melbourne lactation consultant Susan Shaw about how we can increase our breast milk supply and here are her top 13 tips to try.
1. Give routine a rest: Breastfeed more often and drain the breasts more frequently with breast compression. Massage the breasts at each feed to help keep baby feeding longer.
2. Express yourself: Express at the end of a feed or between feeds.
3. Drain away: Always finish the first breast before offering the second side.
4. Check the signs: Ensure your baby is breastfeeding efficiently (look for whether the baby is actually swallowing – indicates milk transfer), if not, express to drain the breast.
5. Switch feed: Switch sides three or more times during each feeding session if baby falls asleep, switches to ‘comfort’ sucking, or loses interest. This can be particularly helpful for sleepy or distractible babies.
5. Don’t cut it short: Cutting short the length of breastfeeds or stopping a feed before baby finishes by himself can interfere with the supply-demand cycle.
6. No dummy: Avoid pacifiers and bottles if possible. All of the baby’s sucking needs should be met at the breast.
7. Take a nursing vacation: Have a nursing vacation. Consider taking the baby to bed with you for two to three days, and do nothing but breastfeed and rest.
8. Eat oatmeal: Oatmeal is a good source of iron, and a comfort food.
9. Get your veg on: Dark leafy green vegetables like spinach contain phytoestrogens, which are believed to promote breast tissue health and lactation.
10. Feed yourself fish: Great for essential fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids e.g. salmon.
11. Get medical: Consider a galactagogue – a substance (herb, prescription medication, etc.) that increases milk supply. Visit your Medical practitioner or lactation consultant, to discuss these options.
12. Rest and rejuvenate: Eat a reasonably healthy well-balanced diet, rest and sleep when the baby sleeps.
13. Drink up: Maintain hydration – grab your water bottle before you sit to breastfeed.
Milk is being produced all the time, depending on how empty the breast is. The more milk that is in the breast, the slower the speed of milk production is. So the emptier the breast, the faster the milk production is. Therefore if you are wanting to increase your breastmilk supply, you should aim to keep your breasts as EMPTY as possible throughout the day, so that less milk accumulates in the breast between feedings.