It’s a common worry for every mom out there to feel like they do not have enough milk for their baby. Especially in the first two weeks, when you cannot hear your loved one taking big gulps while breastfeeding. No matter what kind of birth you have, many moms wonder, am I making enough milk, and can I boost my milk supply fast if I’m not?
Worry comes, but hey it’s okay!
In this article, you will learn if you are making enough milk and how you can boost your milk supply – fast, if you need to!
How To Determine If Your Milk Supply Is Low
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First, you need to determine if your milk supply is actually low. If your baby is gaining enough weight on breastmilk alone, you are producing more than enough. In fact, most breastfeeding mothers produce a third percent more milk than their baby really needs.
Also keep in mind your baby’s stomach is the size of a cherry on day one, expanding to the size of a large egg by 1 month. They do not need that much milk to get them full.
Hence, it may seem as if you aren’t producing enough milk for your baby for those first few weeks, even if you are.
If you need help weighing your baby and finding out exactly how much they are getting in a feeding, check out this simple and affordable breastfeeding class, Milkology.
I Needed To Boost My Milk Supply Fast Too
However, I get it. I struggled with my milk supply majorly…. until my midwife told me I was unable to breastfeed my baby. Turns out I proved them wrong, as I breastfed my daughter until she was 10 months old.
How did I do it you ask? Well, I followed these tips below and some more which can be found here.
If you are worried your baby is not eating enough, is not gaining enough weight, or you would like to start building a freezer stash, this post is for you.
10 Super-Fast Ways To Boost Your Milk Supply
1. Breastfeed on Demand
Breastfeed whenever your baby is hungry or needs to be soothed.
Letting baby suck on your breast releases hormones that trigger your breast to “let-down” milk.
So, typically, the more you breastfeed, and your breasts are stimulated, the more milk you produce!
Pediatricians recommend breastfeeding your baby 8-12 times a day, or around every 2 hours to establish and maintain a good milk supply. However, more or fewer sessions do not indicate any problems with you or with your baby.
Follow your baby’s cues. If they are hungry feed them until they are satisfied. And basically, continue this for the next few weeks, because that’s what newborns do! Eat, Poop, Sleep, Repeat!
2. Get Pumping!
If your baby is having trouble sucking hard enough to start a let-down, give the handy dandy breast pump a try.
Now, what will pumping do? It will stimulate your breasts to create more milk, hence increasing your milk supply.
Most hospitals or clinics will have breast pumps you can rent, which makes it cheaper to try it out for a while.
I bought my own pump from amazon, and it was a life-changer for me. Whether on trips, on short outings, or even leaving my baby with others for a little while. It gave me more flexibility during those breastfeeding months.
So, when in doubt, pump it out!
3. Massage your Breasts
A tip I used until the end of my breastfeeding journey was massaging your breasts while breastfeeding.
Massaging your breasts helps empty your milk ducts more, signaling your body to create even more milk. This can also help if your baby is having trouble sucking hard enough to empty your breasts.
How to Massage your Breasts:
-before breastfeeding, apply a warm, wet compress to your breasts.
-gently massage from the top of the breast towards your nipple.
-cup your breast and using your thumb, massage in downward and circular strokes to encourage milk to flow to your nipple.
A little tip: This method can be an absolute lifesaver when you have mastitis or engorged breasts! It’s like a little spa treatment for your girls!
3. Offer Both Sides When Breastfeeding
Pretty self-explanatory, offer your baby both sides when breastfeeding. Let your baby finish the first side and offer the second side when done.
If your baby tends to fall asleep during nursing, try switching sides more regularly and holding your baby in different positions to get their little brains working!
5. The Right Latch is Key!
Getting the right latch will save your breasts from screaming pain and enable your baby to drink more efficiently and comfortably.
Your baby needs to be able to drink your milk for you to maintain and up your milk supply.
Here are some signs of a good latch:
-baby is sucking on more than your nipple, including surrounding areola.
-baby’s lips are turned out (like a fish)
-nose and chin of baby are touching your breast
-no clicking or smacking noises
-you hear baby swallowing milk
-nipples may be tender at first, but never in pain.
You will know if you have a shallow or wrong latch if you are in lots of pain. Breastfeeding may make your breasts sore and tender, but they should never be so painful you want to cry.
If this is the case, gently stick a clean and washed finger in between the corner of your baby’s mouth to gently remove them from the breast without pulling them off. And then try again.
Little confession… at the beginning of my breastfeeding journey I had no clue what I was doing and would often need to re-latch up to 7 times until we got it right. Practice until you get it. You and your baby will be so much more comfortable, trust me.
6. Get Rest and Reduce Stress!
It is said that stress negatively impacts your milk supply. While stress may not impact your milk supply directly, it does impact it in other ways. Not drinking enough, eating enough, or sleeping enough due to stress causes your body to drop your milk supply.
So, for those first one to two weeks, take a nursing vacation. And I literally mean it.
Take your baby to bed with you and do nothing all day except focus on nursing. You can eat of course, but you get my point.
You will see wonders happen to your baby, your milk supply, and to your overall well-being and mood too!
7. Drink, Drink, Drink!
As a breastfeeding mom, it is easy to get caught up in your motherly duties and forget to drink. However, getting enough water intake is crucial for you, your baby, and your milk.
It is said that 88% of breastmilk is made up of water.
Considering the average non-breastfeeding woman needs 8-9 glasses of water a day. Breastfeeding women should drink around 3 glasses more, totaling to 12 glasses.
However, don’t force any liquids, usually drinking to satisfy your thirst is enough for most moms. If you are noticing your supply dropping, try upping your water intake by 3-4 glasses a day and see if you notice any changes.
8. Focus on Eating Supply Boosting Foods
Nature has blessed us with tons of rich, nutritious, lactation boosting foods.
Remember, a well-balanced diet is key. So do not overdo it with these foods. On the other hand, adding these foods to your daily diet may help you boost your milk supply naturally!
9. Essential Oils to the Rescue!
Essential oils can be very beneficial in trying to boost your milk supply naturally. Keep in mind that essential oils are medicinal, meaning you should always consult your health practitioner before consuming any essential oils.
Some essential oils can also reduce your milk supply, so make sure to steer clear of those!
What brand you use is totally up to you. I chose to for with DoTerra Oils for quality sake. However, make sure the brand you choose is certified, safe to consume in regulated amounts, and Grade A or completely pure.
Some essential oils that help with milk production are:
10. Herbs and Supplements
Herbs and Supplements are such easy ways to naturally boost your milk supply. Whether you drink them in teas (most common) or consume them in other ways, they can provide amazing benefits to your supply.
Fenugreek- the most common herb used to boost lactation in women. Mainly consumed in lactation teas.
Blessed Thistle- usually combined with fenugreek in milk boosting teas.
And some other common ones: stinging nettle, fennel, alfalfa, and brewer’s yeast.
*Remember to always check in with a health practitioner before consuming herbs or supplements when pregnant or breastfeeding. They are still a form of medicine and when consumed in wrong amounts can cause side effects.
TL/DR: How To Boost Your Milk Supply Fast
Breastfeeding is definitely one of the hardest, yet most rewarding experiences I have ever had. All the effort and sleepless nights are so worth it. Implementing these tips above can help you maintain and boost your milk supply naturally, giving you the ease of mind and a better breastfeeding experience all around.
If you are struggling to breastfeed, one of my best recommendations is to speak with a lactation consultant or to take this breastfeeding class, Milkology. This class teaches you all the basics of breastfeeding in 90 minutes worth of videos that will have you breastfeeding like a pro in no time. Only need the info about your supply, grab the shortened class here.
Until next time,
Celina Gellert is a certified Early Childhood Educator with a passion for anything pregnancy, birth, and baby related. You can most likely find her outside exploring nature, singing, or cuddled up reading books to her daughter. You can check out her blog here and grab a free copy of her Pregnancy Tracker E-Book.