5 Ways to Boost Low Breast Milk Supply
We’ve all seen the glamorous side of breastfeeding: proud mums posting photos of their overflowing milk stashes, milk bottles that are always full, and happy, contented-looking babies.
What they don’t show, though, is that not every mother is able to produce ample milk to satiate their little ones. The amount of breast milk a mother can produce varies, and while there are over-supply mums, there will always be mums who struggle to produce barely enough.
Even those who appear to be over-supply mums may not have achieved that from the start. It could be a result of continuously trying to boost milk supply over a trying period of time.
If you’re one of the mums looking for ways and means to boost your low breast milk supply, here are 5 methods you can try.
- Pump More Often and Longer
Whether you’re nursing or pumping, the more you do it, the better. How much breast milk you produce is dependent on demand and supply. Simply put, if the demand is high, so will the supply.
This applies even for older children! Additionally, you want to pump for a longer time. The more time you spend pumping, the more stimulation your breasts get. Even if you’re nursing your baby, you should also try to nurse for as long as possible. If your baby falls asleep midway, wake him or her up to continue.
- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Different lifestyle habits also make an impact on your milk supply. For example, smoking, drinking, stress, fatigue and taking birth control pills can hinder your efforts to express milk.
Your diet is also intertwined with your milk supply. Make healthy choices and ensure that you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables, as well as being sufficiently hydrated. Even if you’re in a rush to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight, resist the urge if you want to produce enough liquid gold for your baby.
Breastfeeding burns 300 to 500 calories daily, so you’re losing weight every time you nurse or pump!
- Consuming Lactation Enhancements/Supplements
In Singapore, it’s common to see mothers consuming milk boosters like lactation cookies, brownies, teas and other ingredients. They contain galactagogues, artificial or plant molecules that can induce, increase and maintain milk production.
Whole grains, dark leafy greens, fennel, nuts and seeds are foods considered to be galactagogues. If you’re unsure if you can take them, consult with your doctor to check and ascertain if it’s safe to consume.
- Ask the Professionals
When in doubt, consult the help of experts in the field. Lactation specialists can assess the way you’re pumping or latching and provide experience-backed answers. They can also offer helpful advice and recommendations to boost your milk supply.
- Power Pump
Power pumping helps to boost your breast milk supply. This involves pumping after every nursing session for up to 20 minutes. Doing this empties your breasts and sends a message to your body to produce more milk.
Although it’s easy to feel guilty about being unable to provide enough sustenance for your baby, remember not to beat yourself up over it. Hard work and effort pays off, and most mothers will start seeing an improvement over time.
If all else fails, it’s okay to supplement your breast milk with formula, or switch to formula completely. Your main priority should be getting your child fed - whether by breast milk or formula, it doesn’t matter as long as your baby gets the nourishment it needs.