After discussing factors that affect your milk supply and foods that support lactation, I felt that it was time to discuss some tips to increase your supply. If you haven’t read the previous two posts discussing milk supply, I would definitely start there. You can find those posts here and here.
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1. Feed on Demand
Sounds easy enough right? As a mother, I know that it’s not always the case. When we’re busy, working, or just on-the-go, we all tend to either forget or delay a feeding. Doing this ultimately hinders your supply so if you can, feed on demand! For any parents that have their little ones on a feeding schedule, this means you may have to be a little bit more flexible on that now.
2. Power Pump
There are several ways to power pump. I’ll share two of the ways that I’ve discovered.
The first method of power pumping is sporadic. You can pump for approximately 10 minutes every hour. It’s recommended to do this about 10 times/day. If that seems like a lot, I would recommend 6-8 times. If you remember the clusterfeeding days, that’s basically what power pump is trying to imitate. That constant stimulation tells your body to get it going!
The other method of power pumping is a little more simple and something that was a part of my personal breastfeeding journey. It’s one fully committed hour to being on the pump. 20 minutes of pumping, then a 10 minute break. Another 10 minutes of pumping and a 10 minute break. Then finishing with 10 minutes of pumping. As I said, it’s a full hour. I would try doing this when the children are asleep or when you have a good hour that you can sit and do nothing. I would also recommend finding a good, relaxing TV show to accompany you during your session! You’ll need to do either of these methods for a couple of days before seeing results.
Lastly, Make sure that your pump is in “good health” with appropriately functioning parts. Any wear and tear on your breast pump affects its performance which ultimately affects your production.
3. Massage and Compress
Are you massaging your breasts prior to a feeding or pumping session? Are you compressing them during a feeding or pumping session? If not, you definitely should add the both of these to your feedings. I like to think of massaging as a way of waking the breasts up and moving the milk down. Compression helps push the milk out. These are small but effective methods of obtaining a little more output.
You can totally use your hands but if you’re feeling fancy, I recently learned about these La Vie breast massagers! One patient told me that it also worked wonders at kneading out her plugged ducts.
Heat is relaxing, period. Seriously though, heat relaxes the breast. It gets the milk flowing. This small little trick can be an effective method for increasing milk supply. You can apply heat in several different ways: a warm shower, taking warm-hot towels and placing them on the breast (add massage for bonus points), or you can buy these amazing gel pads for the breast. These pads are also highly recommended by me and other moms due to their versatility in switching from hot to cold.
5. Baby staycation
Y’all I know this one is easier said than done for sure but this is one of the best ones. This truly is such an easy way to redirect your focus back onto the relationship between you and your baby. Having a “staycation” with your baby basically means chilling at home, having sweet one-on-one time with your baby. You just feed on demand and keep the baby as close as possible. You can do tons of skin-to-skin time. This can put a lot of warmth on your breast, relax you and the baby, and that sweet baby smell can stimulate your let-down. Win-win-win. I absolutely recommend doing this, if possible, because it’s such a sweet time. The constant feedings, being in contact with the baby, and overall chill time at home can help relax you, strengthen your bond, and ultimately increase your supply.
6. Apply more self-care
This final tip is mostly for anyone that hasn’t been able to give themselves the attention that they deserve. Listen here, y’all. You truly cannot POUR from an empty cup. So if you’re constantly racing around, surviving on solely coffee, and feeling overall run down, try to take a break. Drink a cup (or two) of water, eat some greens and well-balanced meal, and try to get some rest (haha but seriously if and when you can). Your milk supply can also be affected by your overall health. I know that as mothers, we tend to put ourselves last but that has to change if you want to increase your supply (and your health).
And these are my 5 simple tips to increase your milk supply!
If you didn’t notice, they’re super simple. No foods, herbs, or medications involved! Most of them are also basically free and skills you can simply tweak. I’m hoping that are feasible tips that can work no matter what stage of life you and your baby are in. If you have any experience with increasing your milk supply, leave your suggestion in the comments below! Share the love <3
As always, please consult with your primary care physician or private practice lactation consultant for further information, instruction, or resources. The Milk Manual is not responsible for any negative outcomes. Please attempt at your own risk.
West, D., & Marasco, L. (2009). The breastfeeding mothers guide to making more milk. New York: McGraw-Hill.