Breastfeeding is hard work and in those first few days, weeks and months you want to do all that you can to meet your baby’s needs.
Some woman struggle to get enough supply whilst others are like a leaking cow- it just keeps on coming! For some they are left on a solo journey to try and navigate their way through the jungle of breastfeeding.
The BREASTFEEDING ASSOCIATION offered the below advice which we found beneficial. Remember there are also lactation consultants that are only just a phone call away.
How to make more breastmilk: Demand = Supply
To build your breastmilk supply, the following ideas may help.
- Provided that your baby is correctly attached, you will find that the quickest and most successful way to boost your supply is to breastfeed more often. Offer a breastfeed every 2–3 hours during the day, for a few days, or increase the number of feeds by offering the breast in between your baby's usual breastfeeds.
- Here is an easy way to do this. If your baby does not settle after a feed, try offering another quick little ‘top up’ breastfeed. Those few minutes of extra feeding and cuddling may be all that is needed to soothe and satisfy him.
- Let your baby finish the first breast before switching to the second breast.
- Or, you may find it helps to change sides several times during a feed, whenever your baby's sucking seems to become less strong. Some people find that this encourages the baby to suck more strongly and stimulates a good let-down reflex.
- You can also try massaging your breast. Stroke it towards the nipple on all sides as your baby feeds. Take care not to disturb the nipple in your baby's mouth.
- If your baby is awake you can offer little ‘snack’ feeds without waiting for baby to cry for them.
- You can try offering the breast to soothe your baby for a few days, instead of other comforting strategies (eg a dummy).
- You may find that your baby has fussy periods when he wants to breastfeed more frequently. There is more about this in the Fussy periods and wonder weeks article on this website.
- Although they vary greatly, many new babies need 8–12 or more feeds in 24 hours. Babies generally feed less often as they get older. Babies also generally feed more efficiently as they get older.
- To increase your supply, you will need to fit in more feeds than is usual for YOUR BABY. Feeds do not need to be very long, just more often. In each 24 hours some feeds may be only 5–10 minutes long, others may be 30 minutes or longer, particularly when baby feeds to sleep slowly and contentedly.
- Help your milk to let-down quickly. Relax and enjoy feed times. Try to remove distractions (turn your phone off, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door), then settle with baby into a comfortable chair. Breathe deeply, relaxing each part of your body separately as you may have learned to do at antenatal classes. Have a drink on hand, a book or a magazine, listen to the radio or watch TV. For more ideas, see the let-down reflex article on this website.
- Babies vary greatly in the amount of sucking they seem to need. There is no need to worry if your baby is contented with a fairly short feed. Some babies however love to continue sucking long after the flow of milk has dwindled to a trickle. This is fine too. Your baby will let you know how long his feeds need to be.
- A baby who is well attached and positioned is more able to drain the breast well. For more information, see the Attachment to the breast article on this website.
MORE FREQUENT FEEDING MEANS MORE MILK!
- Feed your baby more often than usual.
- Check that baby is well positioned at the breast.
- Allow the baby to decide the length of a feed.
Struggling with a low milk supply can be very upsetting and frustrating. Remember that any amount of breastmilk you provide your baby is valuable. If you have tried these ideas and are still finding low supply to be a problem, speaking with an Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellor on the Breastfeeding Helpline , a lactation consultant or your medical adviser may help.