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Five Ways to Prevent Low Milk Supply When Breastfeeding
Most mothers naturally produce enough breast milk to feed their infants. Unfortunately, some mothers will experience periods of low intake when breastfeeding. It may only last for a short time, such as a day, or it may last for weeks and months. For most women who experience low breast milk supply, it’s easy to fix with a few simple steps. Knowing these five things will help you restore your supply and prevent a low supply from happening again in the future.
- Take care of yourself. One of the most common causes of low breast milk supply is that the mother puts herself last on her list of priorities. Stress, lack of sleep, and lack of fluids can all lead to decreased breast milk supply. Nursing mothers need to take time to maintain good health, both physically and emotionally. The more you worry about your breast milk supply, the more it can decrease.
- Breastfeed as often as possible. Breast milk has a natural supply and demand system. The greater the demand for milk, the more your supply will increase. Restricting infant feeding through schedules and sleep training can often lead to decreased breast milk supply. Allow your baby to feed as often as he wants and needs to stimulate your breasts to produce more milk. When you’re not breastfeeding, spending time lying skin-to-skin also helps stimulate your breasts to produce more milk.
- Use an efficient breast pump. If you are unable to breastfeed your baby any further, using a good quality breast pump can be almost as effective. While nothing compares to latching on to your baby, stimulating your breasts several times a day with a breast pump can cause you to produce more breast milk. You may not notice a lot of milk being pumped at first, but with repeated use you will notice your supply increasing. Be careful, however, as a poor quality pump can cause pain and discomfort.
- Enjoy the stimulating herbs in milk. A few herbs are thought to increase breast milk production in many women. Although testing on these claims has been insufficient so far, many women swear by herbs such as fenugreek, milk thistle and brewer’s yeast. You can easily find them at most health food stores or online herbal stores. Many breastfeeding sites also offer pre-packaged herbal teas designed to increase your supply where you need it. Purchasing these pre-made teas may be a tastier way to incorporate milk-boosting herbs into your daily diet.
- Caffeine can provide a short-term boost. Sodas, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages are good for giving your supply a quick, but temporary, boost. Caffeine boosts your milk production and helps you make some more. This can come at a cost though, as caffeine can also stimulate your baby and cause grunting and sleep loss. If you need a quick boost, caffeine will work, but be prepared for any negative effects you may encounter later.
It can be frustrating and a little worrying to find that your breast milk supply is lower than it should be. Fortunately, a few simple tips will help you increase your milk supply and maintain it so that you can breastfeed a little more peacefully. And having a little more peace will make the rest of your day much more enjoyable.
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