This is a question that is asked quite often, as many moms are concerned about having enough milk for their babies. The first question I would ask in response is, “why do you think your supply is low?” Sometimes, a mom worries that they don’t have enough milk because her baby nurses frequently. This is not always the case, as babies communicate their needs through nursing. A baby may be hungry, or may be tired, cold, want to be held, teething, overwhelmed, sick, or any other number of reasons. Babies also go through regular growth spurts in which they breastfeed often to boost their mom’s supply.
If milk supply is actually low, then I offer some suggestions:
Remove the milk from the breasts! The number one cause of low supply is infrequent breastfeeding or pumping.
Breastfeed frequently—8-12 or more times in a 24-hour period is not unusual for a newborn.
Feed on demand, when baby is showing hunger cues. Do not schedule feedings and refuse to feed other times.
Keep baby close, skin to skin if possible. Most babies love to be in a carrier close to mom or dad.
Eat enough healthy calories and drink plenty of water.
Do not rely on blue Gatorade, oatmeal, body armor, or other “myths” that are commonly mentioned to increase your supply.
Pump after feeding a few times per day, massaging your breasts to help remove milk more efficiently. If you are pumping, make sure your flanges fit correctly.
Make sure if baby is receiving breastmilk in a bottle that they are being fed by the Paced Bottle Feeding method.
These suggestions are just a few that may help a mom struggling with low milk supply. Consider seeing a board-certified lactation consultant for evidence-based assistance, ideas, and encouragement to boost your supply. Most lactation consultations are reimbursable through your insurance and all families having consultations at Statera receive a superbill to turn in for reimbursement.
~Becky Franzen is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with a master’s degree in lactation. She offers private and class prenatal breastfeeding education, in-office consultations, home visit consultations and a variety of other breastfeeding and pumping-related classes.