As a new mother, you are aware of the health and financial benefits of breastfeeding. It is no wonder that you prefer this option to others. Unfortunately, you are now feeling as if your milk supply is low, and you may even feel like you need to supplement your breast milk with formula. This action can be damning to the entire process limiting your breast milk supply further. Luckily, the path to increase your breast milk supply is often fairly simple and short.
Stop supplementing with formula, juice and rice cereal. Unless your baby is losing weight, you need to switch to pure breast milk to ensure that your supply is meeting your baby’s demand. Your breast will simply not make more milk, after the first few weeks of breastfeeding, than needed, according to the National Women’s Health Information Center. Furthermore, supplementing by using bottle nipples may result in a baby’s refusal of the breast, lowering your breast milk supply further.
Drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet. If you are not healthy, your milk supply and quality will suffer.
Encourage frequent feedings. The La Leche League suggests not only upping the frequency of feedings but also the length of feedings. Let your baby choose when the feeding is over by unlatching or falling asleep.
Check your baby’s latch and positioning. This may require help from a doctor or lactation specialist, but babies who do not latch properly are not likely getting all they can from you and, in return, your body is not producing a sufficient milk supply.
Switch breasts three to four times per feeding. The La Leche League claims that this will help keep baby awake and ensure a healthy milk supply in both breasts.
Empty your breasts completely after each feeding. Rini Banerjee Ratan, M.D., and Mary D’Alton, M.D., from the Columbia University Medical Center suggest using a double breast pump after each feeding for around 10 minutes to accomplish this.
- See a doctor if you suspect your baby is losing weight. You will want to discuss the best option for feeding your baby as soon as possible.