To improve your milk supply, the primary breastfeeding principle you should hold on to is that breastfeeding is a supply and demand process. This means that the way your baby nurses will directly affect your supply. The more the breast milk is removed, the more it will produce. If your baby is not nursing effectively, you will produce less milk and thus should seek another way to protect your supply.
Here are some tips on how your baby can affect your supply:
1. Ensure Proper Latching
Letting your baby latch properly on your breast is the most efficient way to increase your milk supply. Poor latching is usually the main reason why mothers produce a lower milk supply.
A good latch is usually indicated by the baby’s lip turning outwards like a fish. To encourage your baby to open their mouth wider, gently touch their upper lip with your nipple. Bring your baby to your chest with their chin resting on your breast and not dropped towards her chest..
2. Increase Breastfeeding Sessions
Remember the breastfeeding concept of supply and demand? The more your baby latches, the more your body can produce the milk. By increasing the frequency of breastfeeding, you are telling your body that you need more milk. As long as your baby is still active, you can always continue to breastfeed.
Starting from the second day of birth, you should aim to breastfeed 8-12 times per day or even more, all the while helping your baby to regain weight loss.
3. Hold off on Pacifier
The development of milk supply might be affected if your baby uses a pacifier in the early stage. It is best to give your baby a pacifier after your breast milk supply is well established. This is because if you baby is used to sucking on a pacifier, they may not feel the need to latch on breast. Often, your baby will feel tired after sucking on the pacifier, making the breastfeeding sessions more difficult.
Other than adjusting the milk supply with your baby, here are other ways to encourage and maintain milk supply:
Practice Breast Compression
Breast compression is a method to encourage more efficient milk supply when you are nursing your baby or when you are using a breast pump. It is a technique to keep the breast milk flowing by massaging your breast during breastfeeding. You can compress your breast using your fingers and thumb, alternately releasing it and repeating the massage.
Eat and Drink Well
A well-balanced diet is important as you are passing your nutrients to your baby through breastfeeding. Apart from providing the necessary energy, some food or ingredients do help in boosting the milk supply as well. Other than lactation cookies, normal ingredients like ginger, sesame seeds, oatmeal, and veggies also serve to boost breast milk. Drinking enough fluids is important as breast milk consist of about 90% water. Hence, remember to keep yourself hydrated!
Use a Breast Pump
You can consider pumping when your baby is not latching efficiently. You can add the pumping sessions after or in-between nursing sessions. Sometimes, after your baby finishes nursing, you might feel that your breast is not yet “emptied” so using a breast pump after feeding baby can stimulate your body to produce more milk. Some of the bestsellers from the Haakaa baby products range would make a good breast pump choices if you haven’t gotten one for yourself.
Most importantly, get enough rest and remember that you are not alone. Overstress can have a negative effect on your milk supply too. Don’t feel embarrassed and just reach out to your mummy friends if you have any doubts!