Increasing Breast Milk Supply
Nature gave women the ability to make more than enough milk for twins, regardless of breast size.
If your supply is low, something has interfered with your breast milk production.
Find out what the interference is, and how to increase it.
Increasing breast milk supply is really just supply and demand. The baby demands and the breast ramps up with supply. If low milk supply is a problem, one or more mixed messages have been given to the mother's body to tell it to make less milk.
Let's look at how this happens.
Following the colostrum comes transitional milk, and then mature milk. It takes three to five days for mature milk to come on / be produced. Only with mature milk will babies start to poop frequently and regularly, as well as gain weight.
The vast majority of the time a mother experiences a limited supply of milk it's not because she can't. It's the effect of cultural influences, attitudes and practices in modern society and the medical system.
These attitudes often result in mistakes and confusion that result in breastfeeding difficulties.
In the absense of such confusion, there are extremely few women who truly cannot provide enough breast milk for baby.
Possible interferences to producing more breast milk:
especially in the first six to twelve weeks,
cause problems for mama by reducing baby's stimulation of her nipples, which is nature's way to boost milk production. They also cause disorienting nipple confusion for the baby, which can make the baby appear to be disinterested in nursing when in reality baby is only confused. (Also may create future dental problems.)
- The more baby nurses, the more your milk supply will increase.
Formula feeding with bottles is almost never "helpful supplementation" to breast feeding, and almost never necessary. It can cause harm - even just one bottle.
In the first weeks of nursing, it reduces critical breast time needed to establish a strong flow of milk, and introduces all the problems that come from formula itself.
Using a bottle to give the baby pumped breast milk will not, of course, reduce your supply.
are effective tools for increasing milk supply if you are separated from the baby for stretches, but when the baby is very young, say less than three months, give him/her all the skin to skin contact.
- A forced feeding
instead of being on-demand for the baby. (This is easier than it sounds.)
Understand that time intervals between infant nursing can vary from 15 minutes to two hours. Don't loose the opportunity for milk inducing suckling, and don't let baby go unfed. Take your time. Be patient.
Let the baby take as much as he/she will, even emptying the breast. The fatty, weight building milk (hind milk) comes later. The early milk is thin.
or interference with night feedings resulting from baby sleeping separately.
NOTE: Breast feeding releases in the mother a wonderful hormone that helps her fall asleep more easily and restfully.
Best to cosleep, leting the baby share your bed or sleep in an attached baby bed. It's far better for baby (and quite safe),
Frequent night feedings are the biological norm. Separating mother and baby during sleep can not only interfere with these night feedings, but also diminish the qualithy of sleep for both mother and baby.
- Lack of skin
to skin contact
between mother and baby. Multiple studies show the dramatic importance of skin to skin immediately upon birth and frequently thereafter. Breastfeeding exclusively and sleeping together help this happen.
Dont push your baby, separate and apart from you, and carry the shoping bag. Carry your baby! See here for excellent information on baby wearing.
- Lack of an emotional environment of support,
often resulting in "stress". As a new breastfeeder surround yourself with supportive people, such as by attending local meetings of La Leche League. (You can find a local chaper here.)
The critical mother-in-law or husband or best friends can make this a rocky road. The mother can feel unsupported, nervous about trusting her instincts, doubting herself. Such an emotional state interferes with the production of milk, and the ability of the mother to give the relaxed, confident care close to Mama's bosum that all babies crave.
- And there is more.
- If Baby
is given a pacifier or
bottle instead of put to the breast,
- if Baby shows signs of wanting to go the breast, but is
rocked to sleep instead,
- if Baby
roots for the breast
but is denied a feeding because he/she nursed only
half an hour earlier,
- if Baby is held less often than is
- if Baby is isolated from Mama at night
especially in the early months of Baby's life,
This can be reversed.
There is a lifestyle that creates health, determined by our biology.
It is a lifestyle of a slow pace, giving the breast frequently and whenever the baby wants, of a family supportive of whatever the mother sees the baby needs, of sleeping with the baby and skin to skin closness with the baby. THIS is working with nature to create healthy babies and healthy lives for ourselves.