Increasing Milk Supply: Tips and Techniques
Super Administrator | Dec 16, 2022
Milk production works in the human brain on a supply and demand system. Understanding how milk is made is crucial in helping you take the proper steps to increase the milk supply in your body.
To help visualize this process, imagine your home Refrigerator; many have ice makers. We have all been startled by the sudden sound of new ice falling into the ice bin!
This does not happen continually but only when ice has been removed from the container. Your milk mechanism works much in the same way.
When milk is removed, your brain signals your body to make more milk. Understanding how this mechanism works is the key to what needs to be done in order to increase the milk supply.
This can be done by the first and most apparent step; removing more milk and increasing the frequency and duration of milk removal either by pump or baby breastfeeding at the breast.
But this seems too easy! Not so fast; let's go over steps you can take to ensure efficient milk removal is happening.
1) Ensure the baby's latch is efficiently transferring milk, you hear swallowing, and the baby shows signs of contentment after a feed. Additionally, if you are pumping, ensure you have a flange size that fits properly. If you are unsure, find a lactation consultant or hire an IBCLC OR CLC to evaluate a feed and answer any questions you may have. Remember, if the baby or pump is not efficiently removing milk, the let-down reflex won't work correctly, and there will be an inadequate supply.
2) Try a baby moon. What is a baby moon? This is when you and the baby are skin to skin for most hours of the day, sleeping, bathing, and wearing baby during daily activities. This will increase prolactin levels and create a convenient environment for the baby to latch and feed more frequently.
3) Allow your baby to nurse on the second breast after sufficiently emptying the first one.
4) Do not give pacifiers or bottles if possible.
The baby's sucking needs, including those associated with comfort, should be done at the breast. Bottles can also increase the chance of developing a nipple speed preference and frustrate the baby at the breast.
If the baby needs supplementation, you can use a small cup or syringe. Remember only to use breastmilk if possible and avoid water. If you are using formula supplementation, keep track of how much and wean away as the milk supply increases.
5) Hand express or pump. This is an excellent way to remove additional milk and efficiently remove milk if latch or transfer issues have been identified. Hand expression doesn't require fancy equipment and is FREE, and research has shown it yields more output and higher fat-content milk.
(All mothers with milk supply concerns should consult an IBCLC or CLC to help ensure adequate milk transfer In the infant as well as provide a measurable plan for success) .
Katelyn Drauszewski LPN, CLC
Information is provided for educational purposes only.