Ask Ami: How Can I Increase My Milk Supply?

Increasing Low Milk Supply


How can I increase my milk supply? 

  This is a frustrating and very individual problem that plagues many new families. If you are concerned that your milk supply is low please see a lactation consultant as soon as possible, the sooner we get involved the more likely we are to be able to help.  
It is also not unusual for families to be concerned that mom’s milk supply is low but after meeting with an IBCLC, they find out that mom is making plenty of milk for her baby.

Here is some basic information to get you started:

Get off to a good start! When possible, limiting the medications that mom receives in labor helps. As well as, giving mom and baby at least 1-2 hours of uninterrupted skin-to-skin time immediately postpartum to get breastfeeding initiated.   Breastfeed whenever the baby is awake and interested in the first 24 hours and at least 8 times per 24 hours after that until baby has returned to birth weight (1-2 weeks postpartum).  Rooming in with your baby at the hospital really helps with this process.   If mom and baby have to be separated for any reason in those early days mom should pump and hand express on this same schedule to get colostrum and milk for the baby, and to prime her body to make milk for months/years to come. (The postpartum staff at your hospital or you midwives can help you with this).   The first 3 weeks after your baby is born your body is laying the groundwork for lactation, if you don’t demand enough milk for your baby during this critical time period you may not be able to make a full supply of milk, so again, get help early!   Stimulation is the key so you may be encouraged to rent a hospital grade pump to compliment your breastfeeding for a short period of time to help boost stimulation and drain your breasts more completely.   Some people find herbal supplements very helpful, it is generally a good idea to work with someone who has knowledge of your particular situation and medical history prior to beginning any of these.   Spend lots of time skin to skin with your baby, this helps increase your milk supply and is also just snuggly and nice, especially if you have been feeling married to your pump.   The book The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk is a great resource and I highly recommended it if you are having challenges.

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