How to Increase Breast Milk Supply: Signs of Low Milk Supply and Tips for Boosting SupplyAnna
Breastfeeding is an incredible journey for mothers and their newborns. But just as every child is unique, every mother’s experience with breastfeeding is also deeply individual. In some cases, when mothers have no issue producing milk or getting their baby to latch, breastfeeding can be a relaxing and rewarding experience.
In other cases, however, mothers may find themselves struggling to produce enough milk—or milk with enough essential fat content. Though this can be fixed through supplementation, it can still feel like a challenge. While both formula-feeding and breastfeeding mothers understand that a fed baby is a healthy baby, they may experience mixed emotions when it’s time to transition or take an unplanned step around breast milk production.
Causes of Low Breast Milk Supply
Research shows that low breast milk supply is a fairly common hurdle, impacting as many as 15% of mothers. In addition, mothers with a low supply of milk may also be dealing with factors such as:
- Experiencing a premature birth.
- Managing pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.
- Navigating gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Along with these more concrete challenges, there are many other causes of low breast milk supply, including:
- Waiting too long after delivery to start breastfeeding.
- Ignoring an ineffective latch from the baby.
- Not breastfeeding on a regular schedule.
- Using medications that impact your ability to increase milk production.
- Neglecting to follow a healthy diet or increase water intake.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Low Breast Milk Supply
When you’re breastfeeding, it can be difficult to tell if you’re producing enough milk. While pumping might seem like a simple solution, it’s complicated by the fact that a baby’s direct latch often tends to produce more milk.
If you’re worried about your supply, you may initially look to yourself for signs that your milk production is down. For example, do soft breasts mean low milk supply? Not necessarily—your body may simply be adjusting to your baby’s needs. Nor does breast size play a role in the amount of milk you can make and store for your baby.
Your overall health and wellness, however, can certainly be a factor, along with your baby’s wellbeing. For instance, you may be struggling with your breast milk supply if your baby:
- Lacks weight gain in the first few weeks or months of life.
- Doesn’t produce enough wet diapers every day.
These are two sure signs that your baby isn’t getting enough milk, which may very well stem from low breast milk production.
7 Natural Ways to Increase Milk Supply While Breastfeeding
If you’re having difficulties at feeding time, there are a few different ways to boost your milk supply:
Drink Plenty of Water
According to the American Pregnancy Association, about 10% of breast milk is made up of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The other 90% is water! That’s why it’s crucial for breastfeeding mothers to stay hydrated. In fact, they should be consuming the equivalent of 16 glasses of water per day via food and drink.
Consider Pumping Between Feeds
Since breastfeeding is all about supply and demand, you can help your body learn to understand that when milk is low, it needs to produce more. Pumping between feeds can be a simple way to increase supply and speed up the milk production process.
Follow a Balanced Diet
Since your body requires energy in order to produce milk, it’s important to make sure that your diet includes healthy foods for both you and your baby. A balanced diet with lactogenic foods—that is, foods that have been known to increase supply—can actually help fuel and support your breastfeeding journey. Some of the best foods to eat while breastfeeding to increase milk supply include dark leafy greens, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and oats.
Eliminate Unhealthy Habits
Smoking, drinking alcohol, neglecting sleep, and following a poor diet are all unhealthy habits that can have a negative impact on your breast milk supply. Cut these habits from your life, especially while breastfeeding, in order to avoid a dip in your supply and to protect your baby from any adverse effects.
Increase Skin-to-Skin Contact
Skin-to-skin contact is one of the best ways to bond with your child. Not only does it offer your baby warmth and comfort, but it’s also a simple way to help regulate your baby’s body temperature and lower stress levels. In addition, the Raising Children Network has found that skin-to-skin contact helps produce prolactin and oxytocin, the hormones responsible for increasing your supply.
Meet with a Lactation Consultant
If you still find yourself struggling to increase your supply and need a helping hand, get in touch with a lactation consultant. As a professional who specializes in managing breastfeeding, a lactation consultant helps guide mothers and guardians through every step of the breastfeeding journey. Many mothers find lactation consultants very helpful, especially during the early stages of a child’s life and development.
Give Yourself Grace
Remember: breastfeeding is different for everyone. Do your best to avoid comparing your own breastfeeding journey to those of other mothers, and keep in mind that they too may be going through struggles underneath the surface. Most importantly, give yourself grace, and embrace how incredible the human body can be!
Let KeepsakeMom Help You Celebrate Your Breastfeeding Journey
No matter how long your breastfeeding journey lasts, it’s important to recognize your strength, courage, and power in undertaking it. At KeepsakeMom, we have a beautiful variety of breast milk jewelry that can help you commemorate this deeply meaningful experience.
Explore one-of-a-kind breast milk jewelry at KeepsakeMom by browsing our rings, necklaces, earrings, and more. With our wide range of handmade pieces and endless customizations, you’re sure to find the perfect breast milk keepsake for you and your child.
So whatever your style, go ahead and shop all our beautiful keepsakes today!