Tips to Produce More Milk Supply When Breastfeeding
My milk supply doesn’t seem to be very abundant, so I’m concerned I’m not producing enough milk for my baby. Should I be worried I won’t have enough milk for my baby? I was told to pump some every day to stimulate my milk supply and produce more milk. How much milk should I be producing? How else can I produce more milk?
Breastfed Babies are Smarter, Happier, and Healthier
First, I want to congratulate you on giving your baby the best milk – your breastmilk. Every year scientists are discovering new nutrients in mother’s milk that contribute to the statistics showing that breastfed babies are smarter, happier, and healthier. The incidence of nearly every illness you don’t want your growing child to get is lessened the longer you breastfeed.
One of the newest discoveries is how special nutrients, called milk-oriented microbiota (think M.O.M.). This helps grow your baby’s microbiome, the garden of health that lines your baby’s intestines and contributes greatly to strengthening baby’s growing immune system. The reason I mention this is, in my experience as a lactation consultant and in logging over nineteen years of breastfeeding our own eight babies, the more I knew how good my milk was for my baby the more motivated I was to overcome obstacles.
Worry Less for Better Milk Production
Veteran nursing mothers rightly call breastfeeding a “confidence game,” meaning that the more you convince yourself you are producing enough milk and picture this happening, the more likely you are to achieve this goal. Instead of worrying that you aren’t producing enough milk, every time you breastfeed your baby just relax and imagine how good your milk is for your growing baby. Worry often lessens your milk supply and you can get into the unhealthy cycle of worrying that you don’t have enough milk, not producing enough milk, and then worrying more – a cycle that often leads to premature weaning.
Steps to Improve Milk Production
Follow these steps to improve your milk supply:
- Visit our website AskDrSears.com/breastfeeding.
- Read the newest edition of The Breastfeeding Book.
- Call a lactation consultant to sit down with you to review your latch-on techniques and baby’s positioning at the breast. Sometimes just improving baby’s latch-on and the strength of your baby’s suck can help you produce more milk.
- Be sure your pediatrician examines baby’s tongue very carefully. A baby who has a posterior tongue-tie may not suck efficiently to stimulate you to produce enough milk.
- Keep track of wet diapers and bowel movements. One of the earliest signs that baby may not be getting enough milk is a decline in the number or volume of bowel movements. Yet, if your baby’s doctor isn’t worried that your baby is not getting enough nutrition, neither should you. If there is a concern, go into the doctor’s office just for a weekly weight check.
If at your baby’s check-up your healthcare provider feels that baby is not getting enough milk, your lactation consultant can recommend an efficient breast pump and techniques to help you pump more. How much you should pump each day varies considerably from mother to mother. Just pump as much as you can, 15-20 minutes two or three times a day, but try not to worry about counting the ounces and pumping enough because, again, worry dampens your milk supply.
I wish you and your baby a happy and healthy breastfeeding career!
Martha Sears, RN
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”