Breastfeeding mothers can suffer with a bout of low milk supply for a number of reasons. It could be an after-effect of a temporary illness like the flu or gastroenteritis, or a true low milk supply. If you’re in any of these boats, here’s our top six breastfeeding tips that may give your breastmilk supply a good ‘ole boost.
Note: These breastfeeding tips do not constitute or replace medical advice. We highly recommend you speak to your GP, health nurse, lactation consultant or other health professional about your milk supply concerns and before you begin treatment, particularly if you have a medical condition.
Our best breastfeeding tip to boost your milk supply is to feed as much as you can as it’s really a ‘supply and demand’ thing. Offer baby your breast as much as you think he/she may take it. It sounds exhausting (and it can be!) but doing this in the short-term can bring some great long-term rewards. Your boobies may very well adjust to increased demand with a more plentiful supply.
Most mothers feed off one breast fully before offering the next. But you could try ‘switch feeding’ to help boost your supply. Feed off one breast until baby seems sleepy or slows down when sucking and then offer the next side. When they slow down again, switch back to the other side. You can do this as many times as you like during the feed - provided baby remains willing! If get tired during these extending feeding sessions, consider using a nursing pillow for extra support and comfort.
You may feel like you’ve been ‘sucked dry’ after a feed but try expressing when you’re done. You might be very surprised to discover you’ve still got the milks squirts! Express until you feel you are well drained and then enjoy some well-earned rest.
An extra breastfeeding tip here: keep up your fluids. More water doesn’t necessarily increase your supply but it does help keep you hydrated, well and ready for the next round of feeds.
Fenugreek is a spice that is most traditionally used in South East Asian cooking but can be taken in supplement form to increase milk supply. While we only know of one recent human study on the effects of fenugreek on breastmilk supply, there is much anecdotal evidence among breastfeeding mothers showing it really works.
After taking an initial high dose of the supplement, many mothers report a marked increase in their breastmilk production within 24 – 72 hours. The extra piece of good news here is once your supply is up, you can stop taking the supplements. Keep in mind this option doesn’t suit everyone, especially those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes.
There are a number of medications that can increase breastmilk supply too. But our main breastfeeding tip when it comes to these is to seek professional medical advice. These medications all have potential side effects. You’ll need to weigh up the cons versus the pros of taking them in the company of an expert.
If you’re still not sure whether any of these breastfeeding tips are right for you or have concerns about whether you truly do have low milk supply, we encourage you to contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association. They offer some amazing advice for mothers suffering from low milk supply or any other breastfeeding issues. They also have a fantastic network of support services to help you keep your breastfeeding journey happily on track.
We provide this information for your reference but keep in mind it is not professional health or medical advice. We encourage you to speak to your GP or specialist if you have concerns about breastfeeding and/or your child’s health and development.
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