Maintaining a healthy and ample breastmilk supply is key to breastfeeding success. But sometimes keeping up your breastmilk supply can take a little more work and thought than expected. These 10 easy tips will help you to keep up your breastmilk supply and feed your baby with ease!
Lately my husband and I have been under a tremendous amount of stress. Stress is typically something I can handle pretty well, kind of. But I’m only 2 months postpartum with our third baby boy and my breastmilk supply has taken a serious hit.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a dip in my breastmilk supply, and I knew exactly what to do!! These are my best tips for increasing your breastmilk supply quickly and easily!
A quick note: I am not a lactation consultant or a medical professional, I’m a mom who has been through this before. The tips written below are based on my personal experience and what I have found works for me. If you would like to read more about breastfeeding I highly recommend this site.
If you’re seriously concerned about your supply or these tips don’t make a difference please contact your child’s pediatrician and a lactation consultant immediately. Also, if you’re struggling with supply within the first month of you baby’s life I recommend contacting a lactation consultant. These tips are geared toward women who have previously had an established breastmilk supply and have recently seen a slight (and temporary) dip.
Let’s get started with 5 tips you can do at home without any special items, just you and your baby! Then I’ll talk about 5 more ways to improve your breastmilk supply using some outside help like special teas and snacks.
5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Breastmilk Supply Immediately!!
Increase Your Water Intake
This one is pretty self-explanatory- stay hydrated. I carry a water bottle around with me pretty much everywhere I go and I usually have one stashed behind a couch cushion just in case! If you feel like you’re experiencing a dip in your breastmilk supply I would start here. It’s easy to not drink as much water as you really need when you’re nursing.
Especially if you have other kiddos to chase around! With two older kids to keep me busy even when baby is napping, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I forget to have a drink of water. But drinking water is key and very necessary for breastfeeding mamas so drink up, lady!
Nurse on Demand
A lot of women fall into the trap of trying to get baby on a schedule, I know I did with my first. But that can quickly become a problem with a breastfed baby because for baby being at your breast is about more than just nutrition. It’s about warmth, comfort, safety, and being reminded that you are right there. And all of those sweet baby snuggles help you make more milk!!
Plus, letting baby latch-on any time he’s hungry (or just wants to latch) is a great way to tell your body to keep making milk because baby wants it! I didn’t do this with my first baby and my supply suffered greatly. But with my second two I let them nurse anytime they wanted, and any time they cried I let them latch on. It made a HUGE difference in establishing my supply.
Now if I feel a little dip in supply I make sure to carve out plenty of time for a couple of days where baby can latch and nurse as he pleases! Usually I see rise in supply within 24 hours.
Plenty of Skin-to-Skin
Since you’re going to be nursing more anyway (see the tip above) I highly recommend getting in some skin-to-skin time. The easiest way to do this is to get baby in just a diaper and for you (mama) to be topless. Yup, au natural is the way to be! But, if that makes you uncomfortable than a nursing tank usually give baby plenty of skin to snuggle up against.
What I have found is if I’m going to be snuggling more and nursing more anyway, I might as well make sure baby and I are skin-to-skin. It makes a difference in my breastmilk supply and it helps me to relax and enjoy sitting and nursing, instead of stressing about everything I need to get done around the house.
Increase your Sleep
I know, I know, this is asking a lot. But if you can squeeze in a nap it will help your supply. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle of day-to-day life. But that often leads to us not taking care of ourselves; which can lead to a dip in supply.
If you need to increase your breastmilk supply I would start with drinking a large bottle of water and then lying down for a good nap. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been worried about supply but after waking from a solid nap, my breasts were full and ready to feed again! Plus, I felt more rested and ready to care for my children, it was a win-win for everybody.
Now I try to squeeze in at least 1-2 naps a week. That extra sleep adds up to an ample breastmilk supply!
Relax and Accept the Stress
Being a mom is stressful; adulting is stressful; life is stressful! Having a new baby at home can be amazing but it can also be one of the most stressful times in your life. The problem is that stress can have a negative impact on your ability to produce milk. But we can’t live in a bubble free from stress and worry. So what’s a mother to do??
What I’ve found works the best is to take deep breaths and accept the stress. Don’t fight the fact that you’re completely stressed about getting to that mountain of laundry. Instead take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that the laundry will get done, eventually. Instead of getting upset that your husband made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the “wrong” way for the kids (if you didn’t know there was a wrong way to make a PB & J, try feeding a toddler and then get back to me), take a deep breath and express your gratitude that he is willing to help where he can.
There is really no escaping the stress of our lives, but if you can slow down, relax, and try to accept the curve balls that life throws at you, you’ll find the stress is much easier to manage. And when your stress is easier to manage your body can relax and get back to more important things, like making plenty of milk!
5 More Tools to Help Increase Your Breastmilk Supply Right Away!
I have found that a good lactation tea is one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase your breastmilk supply. I usually drink a cup every night with dinner to help boost my supply for my overnight feedings.
If you’ve recently seen a slight dip in your breastmilk supply (or you’re trying to prevent that) I highly recommend starting with this tea. It’s probably the best bang for your buck on this list!
After the lactation tea I found that a manual breast pump is the next best bang for your buck when it comes to increasing your milk supply. Plus, you see a pretty quick return on your investment, which is great! I recommend two manual breast pumps, I use them both for different reasons and I love them both.
The first manual pump that I recommend, from Medela, is a traditional hand pump. I like having it around to use after feedings to make sure my breasts are empty of milk. Many lactation experts will tell you that empty breasts produce more milk faster, so making sure your breasts are empty after a feeding is key to increasing supply. I like to use a hand pump for this because I don’t like to trigger another a letdown, I just want to empty the milk that is left.
The second manual pump I recommend is a pump that essentially just collects the milk I leak during feedings. I’m sure you’ve found by now that when baby is triggering a let down on one side, you leak from the other side. Instead of losing all of this milk you can catch it with this pump!! It’s great way to build a freezer stash. (in the interest of full disclosure I couldn’t link my exact pump; every time I link it the pump somehow manages to disappear from Amazon! So I found one that is identical and inexpensive)
It’s also a great way to make sure your body is producing milk, by catching the runoff milk your reinforcing the message to your body that you do need to make that milk, even if baby isn’t eating it right away. Plus you can empty both breasts at the same time! I linked one almost identical to mine because the one I have is no longer available on Amazon.
I’ve tried a few different supplements and the ones that I’ve found that make the most difference are these. Now, they are pricey (although probably less than formula!) so I recommend starting with the first five tips (which are free) and a lactation tea first. But, these tend to increase supply literally overnight (I take them before bed with a snack and large glass of water).
I use these to help keep up my supply when baby and I might be out of our normal routine (like traveling). They’re very effective and worth every darn penny!
I recommend this pack of three, each supplement is different and was created for a specific purpose. I find they all work well for me and I was glad I ordered all three initially so that I could try out each one to see what worked best. So far, Liquid Gold is my favorite.
It’s a pretty well-known fact that breastfeeding moms need to take in extra calories to help keep up their supply. And my theory is that if I’m going to snack those calories better be worth it! Meaning, I prefer to eat foods that specifically support lactation, instead of grabbing a handful of pretzels or a quick bowl of cereal.
I also highly recommend these yummy cookies if you’re in a bind or don’t have time to make any snacks of your own. I like keeping them around to toss in my diaper bag for a quick snack. The cookies are delicious and I definitely see results from them. Worth every penny!
Electric Breast Pump
And finally I recommend pumping with an electric pump to help increase your breastmilk supply. Now, I’m going to be super honest. I don’t love pumping with an electric pump. I mean, who does? Our babies are so much more efficient at removing milk from our breasts AND they’re waaaaay cuter.
But remember that breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. If you tell your body that there is a higher demand (by adding pumping sessions in addition to nursing) then eventually your body will begin to supply more milk.
Typically I start by adding in one or two pumping sessions during my day. I find I have the most success with pumping in the morning; so I might feed baby, eat a good breakfast accompanied with some lactation tea, then pump about an hour later.
I’ve also had success with adding in a pumping session at night once baby starts sleeping longer stretches. Then I can kind of “trick” my body into thinking that baby is still eating every three hours at night. Pumping is usually the last thing I try because I have more success with the other tips listed above, but many women have success with it right off the bat so don’t be afraid to whip out that electric pump and give it a go!
Remember that experiencing a slight dip in your breastmilk supply isn’t a reason to panic. These easy tips will help you increase your breastmilk supply and get back to nursing your sweet little baby in no time!!
Leave a comment below and share your go-to tips and tricks for increasing breastmilk supply!