New moms might have a hard time knowing if they are producing enough milk. Here is how to know if you are producing enough breast milk for your baby and the 5 best breastfeeding tips for producing more milk.
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Talk to a lactation consultant
Talk to a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding specialist to ensure that you are making enough milk. They can show you the best position for your baby to nurse from and they can also check if he is getting enough milk. Breastfeeding specialists are trained to detect the proper latch for the most efficient way for the baby to get breast milk and how much breast milk are produced by your breasts at any given time. They are able to see how much milk was transferred by weighing your baby before and after your baby nurses.
Having somebody act as an observer will give you the benefit of a fresh pair of eyes. They can also suggest new breastfeeding tips for producing more milk if they think that your baby is not getting enough breast milk yet. Breastfeeding specialists have skills to ensure that when you or your baby need help in latching on, then they are there to give you the best possible support.
One reason your baby might seem like they aren’t getting enough breast milk is when they are having a growth spurt. Babies will often be cluster feeding at certain phases of life because they are growing so much.
Signs your baby is getting enough breast milk
Having your newborn lose some of their birth weight is to be expected. A healthy baby is expected to lose up to 10% of their birth weight. If your baby is losing more than this then it is important to see a lactation specialist to ensure your baby is breastfeeding properly and transferring enough breast milk.
Your baby’s weight gain should be gradual in the early weeks and should be back to their birth weight when they are two weeks old.
An easy way to know your breastmilk supply is up and you are making plenty of milk for your baby is to count the amount of wet diapers that they are going through.
Your baby should be going through 1 diaper per day of life up to the first week.
- 1 diaper at 1 day old
- 2 diapers at 2 days old
- 3 diapers at 3 days old
After day 4 your baby should be making 3-4 stools a day and be the size of a quarter or louder. The color should change from a dark brown to a yellow mustard color.
After the first week your baby should be having 6-8 wet diapers a day.
Things that cause a low milk supply
In the first few months your breast milk is still getting regulated. Some instances you might need to supplement. This will unfortunately tell your body that you don’t need to produce that amount of milk if you don’t pump that amount after you breastfeed. For example, if you supplement 4 ounces of infant formula or donor milk and you don’t pump afterward to tell your body that your baby needs that milk, your body won’t make the milk you need.
When your baby is older and you are giving them solid foods, the more solid foods that you give them and the less you breastfeed, the less breast milk you will make.
Breast milk is demanded and then supplied. If you are not telling your body that it needs to produce the milk by breastfeeding or pumping, your body will not know that it needs to produce that milk.
In the first month of life, pacifiers should be avoided when possible. Newborn babies need frequent feedings. If you are giving your baby a pacifier even if they just nursed, this can affect the breastfeeding relationship and cause a low milk supply.
This is because your body isn’t getting the queue that it needs to produce breast milk when your baby is sucking on the pacifier. If your baby isn’t being separated from their mom for an extended period of time like in the NICU, then the baby needs to be at the breast.
When your breast milk supply is still being established, it is important to be breastfeeding on demand and at least every 2.5 hours. This will give your body the message that it needs to produce milk.
If you are trying to stretch the time in between feedings even if you just nursed, it could cause your milk supply to dip.
The first days a newborn sleeps a lot. Some babies sleep more than others. If your baby is not gaining enough weight and they are sleeping for long stretches then you will need to wake them up every 2.5 hours to ensure they are getting enough breastmilk.
When you are dealing with sore nipples, a nipple shield can help give you a break and heal while still nursing. The problem is it can also interfere with nipple stimulation and prevent your baby transferring enough milk and can cause a low supply.
Cutting your baby off early
Cutting off your baby to be done by a certain time will not only tell your body that you don’t need to produce more milk but your baby will also not be getting the important hindmilk at the end of the nursing session.
Ending the feeding before your baby is finished can cause a lower breast milk supply since your body isn’t getting the signal it needs to make more milk.
Tongue tie or lip tie
A tongue and tip tie can inhibit a proper latch which will affect you making enough breast milk.
Prescription medication such as birth control pills will affect your hormones and cause you to produce less milk. Other over the counter medications that dry out your sinuses for a cold will also affect your milk supply. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medications while you are breastfeeding.
Breast surgery can cause insufficient glandular tissue in the breast that can affect your milk supply. Hypothyroidism and PCOS as well as other hormonal problems can cause a low supply. (source)
Breastfeeding tips for producing more milk naturally and fast
The good news is there are many natural ways to boost your supply. Here are the best breastfeeding tips for producing more milk.
1. Breastfeed often
Best way to tell your body to make extra milk is to breastfeed as often as possible. The early days of breastfeeding you will feel like the amount of time breastfeeding already takes up most of the day. The more your baby is telling your body to make milk by breastfeeding, the more the milk supply increases.
2. Breastfeed efficiently
Breast milk production starts with the baby’s latch. Your baby needs a proper latch to get the most amount of milk transferred to them.
Make sure getting rest is in your daily routine. It can take a lot of energy to produce milk and if you aren’t taking care of yourself, it’s hard to take care of others. Going to bed when the baby goes to bed and napping when they nap will help you with getting enough sleep.
4. Eat more and drink more
A healthy diet and getting enough fluids is a really important thing. You need to make sure you are getting enough calories from healthy food sources throughout the day. To make sure that you are getting enough water, just have a water bottle next to your breastfeeding chair and drink 1 every time you sit down to breastfeed.
5. Offer both sides
It’s a really good idea to offer both sides when breastfeeding. This boosts breast milk production by giving the demand to each breast to produce more at each nursing session.
6. Switch sides to keep baby awake
If your baby starts to fall asleep when they are breastfeeding on the first breast, switch back and forth to each side. This will keep the baby from nursing to sleep and not getting a full feeding in.
When your baby is asleep and comfort nursing, it is not as efficient as when they are awake. Switching sides often will keep them awake and help your milk flow.
Another great way to hold their hand and raise it to kiss their hand. This movement will help keep them awake.
7. Power pumping
To increase milk production, use a breast pump after each breastfeeding session. Even if your baby is done nursing, doing an extra pump session or even hand expressing will help boost your supply.
Be sure to check that you don’t need any new pump parts. This will keep the pump working efficiently.
I absolutely love using the Haakaa on one side while I am nursing on the other side.
Related article: Spectra S1 vs S2
8. Breast massage while nursing
Breast compression while your baby is nursing will help remove the milk more effectively. Doing a breast massage or using a warm compress while you are breastfeeding can really help.
9. Skin to skin contact
Skin contact and breastfeeding on baby’s demand really increases milk supply. Wear a baby carrier also known as kangaroo care around the house to have your baby snuggled up with you most of the day.
These are the top breastfeeding tips to produce more milk. Be sure to see what can be lowering your supply.
Foods to boost your supply
This is an herb and can be used in recipes or tea to boost your milk supply.
Sold in a powder. You can add it to smoothies and lactation cookie recipes.
A great breakfast option or added to lactation cookies.
You can add this to your salads or tea.
An herb but also sold in capsule form that is known to help mammary tissue development and boost supply.
Protein rich foods
Eating protein rich foods such as beans and tofu will not only complete your meal but has been shown to boost your supply.
Mother’s milk tea is a great tea with a mix of herbs that are known to boost your milk supply.
Be sure to seek medical advice before taking any supplements.
Lactation cookie recipe
Lactation cookies are a great way to add all these great milk boosting foods in one powerful bite.
1.5 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup flour of your choice
1 tbsp brewer’s yeast
2 tbsp flax seed
1/2 tsp baking power
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 mashed ripe banana
4 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup cranberries
Mix the flaxseed with water and let sit for 5-10 minutes to make a flax egg. Mash the banana. Once the flax seed has become more of a gel mix it in with the banana and the coconut oil. Add in the dry ingredients. Once it is thoroughly mixed, bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes.
Foods that could lower your supply
These foods can lower your supply so if you are already concerned about your supply, I would avoid these foods or limit them.
Can decrease milk if eaten in large quantities.
Cabbage is a common food used for when you are trying to wean and decrease your supply.
Also known to decrease milk if eaten in large amounts.
Can lower your supply the next day.
Like alcohol, it can cause dehydration which can cause a low supply.
These breastfeeding tips for producing your milk will ensure a healthy milk supply. A good latch with lots of rest and skin on skin will do wonders.
Now that you know what to do for a good milk supply, you will want to read about the best storage milk bags to ensure all that hard work pumping doesn’t go to waste with a leaky bag.
Also finding the best breastfeeding chair can make all the difference for making breastfeeding easier.