How Can I Increase My Milk Supply
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|Title||:||How can I increase my milk supply?|
|Description||:|| A lot of women worry about their milk supply and feel like it's diminishing. If this is happening to you, don't get discouraged, because there are things you can do to increase your milk supply. First, it's important to understand that milk supply is based on supply and demand. The more you nurse or pump (empty your breast), the more your body is stimulated to make milk. Let's say your baby is eating every 3-4hr. If you want to try to make more milk, squeeze in a few extra feedings during the day by feeding them every 2hr while they're awake. Do this for 3-5 days and you'll probably notice an increase in your milk supply. This happens naturally when babies have growth spurts and want to eat more frequently. It makes your body make more milk and it just continues to build as they get older and as their needs change. |
You can also do something called power pumping. Pick an hour during the day to dedicate to pumping, and pump for 10min and then rest for 10min, and pump for 10min and rest for 10min, and do this for an hour. Basically, you're pumping for a total of 30min and resting for 30min, but doing it in increments of 10min. Do this once a day for a few days and that should also increase your milk supply.
If you're exclusively pumping, you may want to look at the quality of your pump. A good hospital-grade pump is best, especially during the first 2mo of your baby's life, because you're putting in your milk order for your entire breastfeeding experience, meaning your body is more sensitive to things like the efficiency of the pump, how much you're eating, how much you're drinking - those are all things to consider. One thing to consider is the type of pump you're using. Not all pumps are created equal. A lot of women turn to double electric pumps, because they get the job done faster, especially if you're a working mom and need to do it while you're gone, these are really good. But some are better than others. Remember, milk supply is stimulated when your breasts are emptied, so if a pump isn't working well and not emptying the breast well, then you may struggle with milk supply. Another thing to think about if you're working outside of the home is how often you're pumping while you're at work. You need to pump about as often as your baby eats. If they eat every 2-3hr, then the most you want to go between pumping sessions is 3hr.
Another important part of how much milk you're making is how much you're eating and how much you're drinking. Be sure you're taking in enough calories to meet your needs and to meet your baby's needs by making good milk. You need 400-500 extra calories each day, and this should be good nutrition, not just an excuse to eat 2 donuts. Eat whole grains, lots of fruits, lots of veggies, lean protein, low-fat dairy and healthy fats. Also be sure that you're drinking enough. You need, at minimum, 6-8 glasses of water each day. While you're making milk, you'll probably notice you're thirstier when you're nursing your baby or pumping, so it's a good idea to have a cup of water next to you and sip while you're nursing. That way, you're getting hydrated; you're making sure your baby is hydrated.
If these suggestions aren't helping and you still feel like your milk supply is dwindling, make an appointment with a lactation specialist. They'll sit down with you, watch you nurse your baby and see if any adjustments need to be made, because sometimes, a cause of dwindling milk supply can be improper latch, because the baby isn't latching properly and not emptying the breast fully. If they can help you make adjustments, then hopefully breastfeeding can be successful for you and your baby.
Some mothers, when they worry about milk supply, wonder if they need to supplement with formula. It all comes down to whether or not your baby's needs are being met with what your body is producing. Some mothers need to supplement and that's OK. I recommend talking with your pediatrician about it. They'll ask you how many wet diapers your baby is having each day, assess their weight-gain and growth over time, and if they're gaining the appropriate amount of weight and they're having at least 6 wet diapers a day, then their needs are being met and you can try to stimulate your body to make more milk. But if your baby's needs aren't being met and you need to supplement with formula, just keep in mind that you may notice a slight decrease in your milk supply, because if you're giving your baby formula instead of nursing or pumping, then your body is never stimulated to make more milk, and that's OK if this is going to be your long-term plan.
In the end, the most important thing is that your baby is happy, healthy, and gaining the appropriate amount of weight. If this can be accomplished with breast milk alone, then that's great. But if you need to supplement with formula, that's OK, because formula-fed kids go to kindergarten too. If you have more questions about it, talk with your pediatrician.
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