Many new moms want to know how to increase milk supply fast. Indeed, increasing milk supply naturally is a great way to establish a breastfeeding relationship without the stress of worrying about running out!
What Are The Signs Of Low Milk Supply
Signs of low milk supply include:
- Lack of weight gain in the baby.
- Infrequent wet diapers.
- Dehydration in the baby. Signs of infant dehydration include infrequent urination, lack of tears, low energy levels, and a hollow spot on the head.
Low milk supply can happen to any new mom. However, specific scenarios and conditions can make it more likely that you’ll have trouble with your milk supply. Here’s a look at common causes for low milk supply when breastfeeding from the American Pregnancy Association:
1. Oral contraceptives.
2. Having fewer milk ducts.
3. Poor positioning.
4. Insufficient latch.
5. Tongue tie and lip tie.
6. Use of pacifiers, bottles, and nipple shields.
7. Formula supplementation.
8. Maternal health issues.
10. Alcohol consumption.
11. Tobacco consumption.
12. Truncated feedings.
13. Feeding baby on a schedule instead of on-demand.
14. A baby that sleeps through the night.
The good news is that there are ways to fix the low milk supply. The biggest thing for moms struggling with low milk to remember is that increasing demand is often the easiest way to increase supply. Take a look at our tips for increasing milk supply naturally.
12 Tips for How To Increase Milk Supply Fast
1. Increase Breastfeeding Frequency
Have you been keeping track of feeding times? It’s possible that you’re not breastfeeding frequently enough. Aim for at least eight to 12 times per day. Unfortunately, some moms don’t realize that feeding frequently is important because they don’t have “demanding” babies.
2. Offer Both Breasts At Each Feeding
It’s essential to offer both breasts at each feeding! This gives you the bonus of stimulating milk production in both breasts at every feeding. On the other hand, focusing on one breast per feeding can slow down production by prolonging “demand” in each breast. So, ideally, you’ll switch sides two to three times per feeding.
3. Empty Breasts Fully After Every Feeding
Moms with babies who aren’t interested in long feedings can sometimes struggle with supply even though they frequently feed. Always check to make sure your breasts are empty after every feeding. You can do this by simply squeezing both breasts to check for milk. Then, you can either pump or “hand express” excess milk. Don’t forget to prep your breasts for a “complete” feeding before the baby latches on. This is done by massaging your breasts both before and during feedings. Applying a warm cloth can also help to stimulate flow.
4. Do A “Nursing Intensive”
Commit to a “weekend in bed” that’s focused solely on nursing to supercharge your supply. If your schedule allows, set aside a few days of simply nursing and snuggling. Make sure you’re getting access to tons of healthy, nutrient-rich food to keep up your calorie intake while you snuggle with your baby. In addition to supporting constant nursing, a weekend nursing intensive also allows for some great bonding through all of that precious skin-to-skin time!
5. Do A Pumping Jamboree
Constant pumping can replace nursing intensive if you don’t have time to stay in bed with the baby for several days in a row. This can also be a good option if your baby simply doesn’t like long feeding sessions. The goal is to recreate a “cluster feeding” experience that many new moms have when babies are going through the “insatiable” stage. Pump using back-to-back pumping sessions lasting about 10 minutes each several times per day.
6. Make Sure You’re Hydrating
Have you been skipping water? If you’ve been going skimpy with the sipping, this could be to blame for your low milk supply. However, there’s no need to go over the top. Drinking more than what’s needed to stay hydrated won’t actually provide any benefits. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services simply recommends that you drink a glass of water every time you breastfeed your baby as an easy way to avoid dehydration.
7. Consume Enough Calories
Make sure you increase your calorie consumption to account for all of the extra calories burned during breastfeeding. The CDC recommends an additional 330 to 400 calories per day for nursing mothers. This means aiming for between 2,000 and 2,800 calories per day instead of sticking to the recommendation of 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Make sure to get those extra calories from balanced foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
8. Avoid Wine
While many nursing mothers enjoy a single glass of wine here and there without any issues, wine can slow down milk production for some women. According to literature from the Mayo Clinic, alcohol actually decreases milk production. What’s more, the presence of alcohol in breast milk causes babies to drink up to 20 percent less milk.
9. Don’t Let The Pressure Get To You
Stress interferes with the let-down reflex. Researchers believe that mental stress can slow the release of oxytocin in a nursing mother’s brain. Because oxytocin nurtures the let-down reflex, your milk supply can dry up if you’re experiencing stress. So while staying relaxed is a tall order for many new moms, it’s essential to reduce stress levels.
10. Consider Supplements For Milk Production
Supplements and substances that spur milk production are called galactagogues. Nursing moms should focus on natural, safe galactagogues if they decide to try the supplementation route. Popular herbs for increasing milk supply include blessed thistle, fennel, moringa, fenugreek, goat’s rue, stinging nettle, and alfalfa. Speak with your doctor before introducing any new supplements into your life while nursing to ensure safety.
11. Get Enough Sleep
Sleepless nights can interfere with milk production. Lack of sleep raises the cortisol levels in your body. Elevated cortisol levels reduce milk supply. You are wondering how to increase milk supply fast? One or two nights in a row of solid rest is one of the best ways to increase milk supply fast! In fact, many mothers see their milk supplies increase dramatically after getting eight hours of sleep.
12. Use Breast Compression
You can help feedings along using manual breast compression. Simply wait for the signs that your baby is no longer taking in milk during a feeding. This usually means that deep jaw movements and gulping sounds have stopped. Next, cup and squeeze your breast by applying pressure from the top of the breast using your thumb. Your hand should be far enough away from the baby’s head to avoid interfering with the latch. Finally, watch as your baby begins suckling once the milk starts to flow once more. You should maintain the compression while the baby is eating until the baby is no longer actively swallowing.
How To Increase Milk Supply Fast: Going Beyond Natural Solutions
If you’ve exhausted all of the tips on this list with no success, you can keep going with other options. Several medications are prescribed to increase milk supply. Medication is commonly used in cases where women have low levels of prolactin. Speak with your doctor to discuss medications that may be appropriate for your case while investigating how to increase milk supply fast.
How To Increase Milk Supply Fast: To Sum It Up
Our final thoughts are that if breastfeeding is a struggle, first confirm that your baby has achieved a correct latch. This means that baby is securely latched to the nipple with protruding “fish lips.” Most of the areola should not be visible when a nursing baby has a proper latch. If you’re experiencing any pain while nursing, this is a sign that the baby is not latched correctly. Consider speaking with a lactation consultation to confirm that you’re using the correct positioning while nursing your baby.
The bottom line for new moms is that taking care of yourself helps you take care of your baby. Proper rest, proper diet, and proper sleep are the three significant factors to consider when figuring out how to increase milk supply fast. Remember that help is always available from your doctor, your baby’s pediatrician, and independent lactation consultants!
You may be interested in reading the following articles: