Updated: Apr 11
You have probably searched the ends of the internet for how to boost your milk supply, and maybe that's how you got here, or maybe you follow us on the 'gram... either way we hope you find this useful! It's stressful wondering if you are making enough milk, here are some tips for ramping up milk production.
1. Supply = Demand
If you don't remember anything else, remember this: the more your baby is at the breast/chest the better your milk supply will be. Even suckling helps stimulate milk production. In the immediate postpartum period, spend your days in bed with baby skin to skin with free access to their food source. Don't rush to put your baby on a feeding schedule, remember they will eat at a minimum 8x a day, and in reality it is often more than that. *Remember, you can offer both sides a feeding session*
If you feel like having your baby at the breast/chest more isn't enough then you can consider adding in a power pumping session. What's a power pumping session? Pump for 20 minutes, rest 10, pump 10, rest 10, pump 10. Do this for 1-3 days max. You may also consider adding a brief pumping session after feeding your baby at your breast/chest a few times a day.
2. Hydrate & Electrolytes
You need to stay hydrated and energized to feed your new baby. Maybe you have heard a friend boasting about the Pink Drink from Starbucks and how their milk supply seems to be booming after they indulge in this tasty beverage, well it's because one of the main ingredients is coconut milk, which is loaded with electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous. Coconut water, liquid IV, and even your favorite Gatorade can help give you a little boost.
3. Stay Nourished
300-500 extra calories a day, it will help you feel energized and also help you maintain or boost your supply. You may find certain foods seem to help more like: oatmeal, berries, whole grains, yeast based items, nuts, watermelon, protein, and healthy fats. Take a look at your plate try to make sure you have a protein, healthy fat, and some fiber-this applies even at snack time. Remember, it took your body almost a year to build an entire human, so give yourself grace as you figure out this new way of life. It's all about balance, lactation cookies are always a tasty snack.
4. Get 8 hours of Sleep in 24 Hour Period
This is especially important in the fourth trimester because your baby is very likely not sleeping 8 hour stretches in the night (if they are, don't brag about it to other parents, that's rude). Try your best to rest and sleep during all hours of the day when you are on family leave from work.
I struggle with this recommendation, but there are certainly products all over the internet. When you are seeking a supplement it will be the best if it has multiple galactagogues, a substance that increases milk supply, in it. Here's what to check the labels for: thistle, fenugreek, and alfalfa. Before you go here, make sure to try the other options first because usually ramping up baby's access to their food supply is all you need, or even adding in a power pumping session might be all you need. Also, if you have major concerns with milk supply always contact a lactation professional.
Try our: 5 Lactation Boosting Recipes
6. Meet with a Lactation Professional
If you are having true concerns about milk supply or even your baby's latch affecting your supply see a lactation professional. We talk through your routine and can often help you determine what you can do to help things improve or help you set realistic expectations. Schedule a free consultation with Tabitha here.
My biggest tip is to always DITCH THE CLOCKS! Allow your baby to feed for 30 minutes if they choose to do so, don't pop them off after they have reached 10 minutes and don't put them on a schedule. Something I always hear new parents say is, "You can't be hungry already." Trust me, they can be let them eat when they are hungry and maybe it will only be 5 minutes, a little snack, but offer it if they are interested. Sometimes, all we need to boost our milk supply is to take a step back and set more realistic expectations.
Happy feeding, friends!