Stay abreast of the ways in which you can increase and maintain your flow of milk
A NURSING MOM’S BIGGEST WORRY IS whether or not she’s making enough milk for baby. We’ve gathered 10 tips to help ramp up your production. (These points are not intended to substitute medical advice, so if you have any concerns, contact your doctor or caregiver.) Stop worrying! It won’t help you one bit. In fact, stress and anxiety will have the opposite effect on your milk production. Nurse, nurse, nurse. Breasts work on demand: The more your little one nurses, the more milk your body will create. When baby goes through a growth spurt, it’s easy to fall into
thinking, “My baby is so hungry, I must not have enough milk.” What’s really happening is your baby priming your body to have enough milk to support how big she’ll be after the spurt. The worst thing for your supply during this growth phase is to supplement with formula. It can be difficult to devote most of your day to nursing, but it’s the best
thing for your baby—and your supply.
Pump after feeding. If you’re going to head back to work, establishing a pumping routine early on will make for a smoother transition, and will also help you build a larger stash. Even if you’re going to be a stay-at-home mom, pumping after nursing will help boost your production and give you some milk to have on hand if you want to take a nap or go out for a quick breather.
Check the latch. If your baby is latched on to your breast properly, her tongue will stick out over her gums and her lips will be flared open, and your nipple and areola will be in her mouth. If nursing doesn’t hurt, that’s a good tip that her latch is good—but it never hurts to check. If it isn’t great, pop her off by slipping your pinkie into her mouth next to your nipple and breaking the seal. Use your nipple to ‘tickle’ her mouth until she opens up wide, and insert your breast up to your areola. Repeat until you have a good latch. Without a proper latch, it’s impossible for baby to
drain your breast entirely.
Switch sides. Make sure baby feeds from both breasts during each nursing session. Every time she starts comfort sucking, losing interest or falling asleep, take that as a cue to switch sides. This stimulates both breasts to make more milk, and helps to ensure baby is fully emptying each breast.
Check in with a lactation consultant. If baby’s still not getting enough milk despite your best efforts, there could be something amiss. A lactation consultant specialises in troubleshooting issues, and helps moms establish a nursing relationship. While not all medical professionals rely heavily on introducing formula to difficult cases, many do. As long as your newborn isn’t losing weight or failing to thrive, a lactation consultant is your best friend. Speak to your local doctor or caregiver to put you in touch with a good lactation consultant.
Wear the right bra. A bra that compresses your breasts or that’s too tight around the band, can cause issues with milk flow. The wrong bra can sometimes lead to plugged ducts, which are uncomfortable and stop milk from coming
through parts of your breast.
Eat oatmeal. Oats are a milk-making miracle food. While it has yet to be proven exactly which component of oats causes a spike in milk production, it’s a fact for many women that a bowl of oats in the morning means full breasts at night. If you don’t like oatmeal, you can still get the same benefit from granola, oatmeal cookies or a nice oatmeal-banana muffin.
Avoid birth control. If you don’t need to go on the pill, don’t. Condoms and hormone-free IUDs are good options for nursing moms. The hormones in most birth control pills will have a negative effect on your supply. If you absolutely must be on oral birth control, talk to your doctor about the ‘mini pill’ or other nursing-friendly meds.
Go on vacation! A nursing vacation, that is. When all else fails, spend the weekend in bed with your baby. If you have no interruptions and leave the rest of the world to itself, those hours of nursing will boost your supply like nothing else. Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends to take care of things around the house for a day or two— you’re doing the most important thing you can, so enjoy it.