Every mother knows that breast milk is the best food for her baby in the first year of his life; and even longer, if possible. Why? Well, every mother’s breast milk is perfectly suited for her baby both as nourishment and as protection from illness. So, the best thing you as a mother can do to increase breast milk supply is to make sure you do whatever you can to give your baby as much milk as you can for the longest period you can.
First of all, make sure you feed your baby more frequently. Breasts follow the rule of “supply and demand”. In other words, the more milk your baby takes, the more milk is produced in your breasts. Don’t be afraid of milk shortage in your breasts if your baby breastfeeds more often. It’s quite the opposite actually. There is always milk in your breasts for your baby, and more milk is made while you breastfeed. In other words, breastfeed your baby more often to increase breast milk supply.
Also, it’s very important that you are relaxed and focused on your baby and nothing else. Take your time, don’t hurry, and enjoy your baby’s face and skin. Use this time for cuddling, stroking and calming your baby. They love being touched, and it helps your milk ejection reflex.
If you want to increase breast milk, you also need to take care of yourself. You have to sleep enough, eat enough, and find some time to do something that relaxes you, be it walking, reading, or having a shower. Your baby and you are priorities, and everything else can wait or be done by somebody else. Forget all the worries you have together with all the house duties and use the help of your partner with laundry, dishes, cooking, and cleaning.
Taking care of yourself also means eating and drinking properly. This means you should feed your own body adequately in order to feed your baby adequately. An appropriate amount of calories you should consume every day is about 1800 – 2200, with the additional vitamins and minerals. When it comes to drinking, it is very important that you drink enough water, juice, milk, and soup to keep you hydrated and increase breast milk supply.
Also, make sure you refrain yourself from consuming alcohol as well as caffeine, except for moderate amounts in drinks or food.
While breastfeeding, be careful that your baby eats properly. Some babies are lazy or just like to fall asleep while feeding, which makes them take only the watery foremilk without getting to the high-fat hindmilk. This way, the baby’s tummy is full, but there aren’t enough calories to grow. So, before switching to the other side, make sure the baby has finished the first breast. Or, you can try feeding the baby holding it up to burp and make room for more milk, and than feed him or her again on both breasts. Both double nursing and switch nursing stimulate more milk ejection reflexes, thus increasing breast milk supply and calorie content of your milk.
Let’s not also forget about the baby’s position. The baby’s mouth should be wide open, with the nipple as far back into the mouth as possible. In addition, the baby should be latched properly, to avoid discomfort and lower milk production.
In the end, if nothing else works, you can try taking herb tees or some medication to increase breast milk production. But you must be well informed before you start taking any of these, since they can have negative side effects for both of you.
However, from my personal experience, I must say that, while certain herbs can indeed stimulate your body to make more milk, nothing can replace more frequent nursing as a way of telling your body to increase breast milk supply.
Remember all those women nursing their children at the times of war, famine, or personal tragedies. Just be persistent and don’t give up, and you’ll have your baby to thank you.