Breast milk production works on a supply and demand basis. The more often and more effectively your baby nurses, the more breast milk you will produce. If you are suffering from a reduction in breast milk production or think that your baby is not getting enough to eat here are strategies to help increase the levels of prolactin and increase breast milk production:
Increase the number of feedings – Wake your baby up so sucking is more effective. Nurse more often. Skin to skin contact can help stimulate a baby. As can a technique called switch nursing, where you nurse on one side until your baby’s suck is diminished, and then switch him to the other side, and do the same thing. You can switch several times during the feeding, as it can help stimulate a sleepy baby.
Decrease the time between feedings – Wake up your baby to eat more! Do not limit the amount of time you baby nurses. Do not set some arbitrary time limit on how long they should nurse on each breast. Let the baby nurse until your breast is empty.
Avoid formula and pacifiers Every time you feed formula is an opportunity missed to increase breast milk supply. It is easier for your baby to nurse from a bottle, this can cause nipple confusion. The less effective, the less stimulating, the less milk. You get the picture. Pacifiers can work in the same way to make your baby’s suck less effective, be wary.
Express your breast milk – Breast milk expression is when you use either your hands or a breast pump to expell milk from your breasts. Here is an article with “Breast Milk Expression Tips” This breastfeeding video “Pumping and Expressing Breast Milk” is a good introduction to the technique.
Add Galactagogues to your breastfeeding diet – a galactagogue is anything that excites lactation helping the mother with expressing breast milk.
Finally, be healthy and relaxed. A healthy body can produce more milk. Exercise, eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep. Breast milk flows better when you are relaxed during feedings. For some women, breastfeeding while laying down can increase relaxation.
These suggestions should increase your breast milk production over the coming days. Keep in close contact with your doctor. Monitor the health of your child more closely than normal to make sure they are getting all the nutrition necessary. If you try these techniques without success go see your healthcare provider or call a lactation consultant.
Breast Milk Supply and Demand:
Common Misconceptions about Breast Milk Supply
Three Things Everyone Thinks Dramatically Increases Milk Supply