9 Milk Booster tips to help increase your supply
Are you looking for the best and fastest milk booster tips for improving your newborns’ nutrition?
Well, you’re not alone. In fact, breast milk is commonly referred as ‘liquid gold,’ and that is due to the extraordinary health benefits it carries.
Of course, as a new mom, this is exactly what you want to give your baby, but you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle if your milk supply is not up to the challenge.
Before diving further, it’s important for moms to recognize if their milk supply is low or whether it just seems like that.
We empathize that as a new and, might-we-say, worried mom, it can be stressful to have a reduced milk supply in addition to the nappy changing, lack of sleep, and finding time to take care of yourself. Often it’s your baby’s unsettled behavior which might make you think or doubt your supply.
9 milk booster tips for increasing your supply
Milk production is a demand and supply process.
Your baby will stimulate your breast, which in turn will produce the amount your baby needs to grow healthy.
If you doubt your breasts are providing enough milk supply for your baby, contact your lactation consultant, as she will give you professional advice according to your particular situation.
In the meantime, you can check out our nine out-of-the-box tips which we hope will help you start boosting your milk production. After all, a happy baby means a happy mommy!
1. Nurse skin-to-skin
It is true that you never know when your baby might need nursing, but we don’t expect you to have your clothes off the entire day. However, when your baby is ready to be fed, take off your shirt and bra –and do the same for your baby.
Of course, you can wrap both of you in the warmth of a blanket and nurse away. The reason for this relates to hormone release (oxytocin, AKA the love hormone) which helps milk production.
The other benefit of nursing skin-to-skin is that it creates a more profound and intimate bond between you and your newborn. You can do this once per day, or during each feeding.
It’s also essential to make sure your baby drinks all the milk it needs, as this will stimulate your body’s urgency to produce more.
Positioning can even play a role in the process, and some call this step the “latch on” method.
For a baby who can’t latch on and suck properly trying to empty your milk supply is like drinking with a straw from an empty glass –neither of you will get the results you need.
Make sure that your newborn has a large and wide-open mouth and that your nipple goes into his mouth. There are many helpful instructional videos or articles which can help you with that if you feel like you’re struggling.
2. Enjoy a nursing vacation
Unfortunately, we don’t mean the tropical vacations you may be used to, but rather a few days in which you sit in bed and do nothing but nurse your baby as often as possible.
This advice should be taken in combination with appropriate nutrition and relaxation, but we’ll go deeper into that later.
The goal is to remove as much milk from your breasts so that your body can produce more and more. Especially for babies that are struggling to gain weight, having a feeding routine (i.e., every two hours) can help create that steady supply.
Switching sides can also serve as a breast milk enhancer –but remember to offer one breast at a time. Try to alternate sides frequently, so that your baby stimulates both breasts.
If you have trouble remembering which side you fed last, write it down or feel your breasts. If one breast is more sore than the other, offer that one first.
3. Avoid pacifiers and bottles if possible
The more time your newborn spends with the pacifier or bottle, the less he or she will be interested in your breasts.
This little complication may result in your body not producing enough milk for when your baby is missing your maternal touch.
It can also lead to nipple tenderness, soreness, but just know that the solution of wearing nipple shields is not always the best. It’s important to always consult with a lactation specialist before deciding on what is best.
4. Feed baby only breast milk as much as possible
If your breasts are under stimulated, you may not be producing all the milk your baby needs. In that case you may choose to give your baby formula.
The drawback of feeding formula is that for baby it is easier to extract milk from a bottle than the breast, so your baby may refuse the breast later on.
Ultimately, the goal during lactation is to grow a healthy baby, so if you need to feed formula to your baby, do so. Try to always offer the breast first, for stimulation and offer formula after.
5. Consider pumping
While every mom wants to do everything as naturally as possible, a little help here and there shouldn’t be an issue.
In fact, pumping is particularly important when you are trying to increase your milk supply.
A breast pump will imitate the sucking motion of your baby and extract milk from your breasts.
There are two instrumental versions of pumping –one is electric, whereas the other is manual. A power pump can also help you along this journey, and you can even try it after every nursing session. This way your breasts will be drained of milk, and the body will be signaling its absence.
Build up your milk supply up by Pumping
Check out our guide on How to choose the best breast pump for you, before making a decision.
6. Start a milk booster diet
We can’t even begin to express how important this point is for both you and your newborn. In between changing nappies, feeding times, getting a few hours of sleep per day and finding time to clean the house, your life is overcomplicated.
We’ve been there, so rest assured we understand. But this is no excuse for not drinking enough water (at least 12 – 8 oz. glasses per day) or having the proper nutrition.
In fact, research has shown that many moms use their diets as a milk booster. For example, fennel, turmeric, ginger, quinoa, oatmeal and others have been shown to increase supply.
There’s also something called Mother’s Milk –a surprising combination of herbs like fenugreek and moringa powder. A healthy diet is the first step, but consuming at least 500 calories more than what you’re used to will enhance your milk flow even more.
As busy as you are caring for a newborn, you must learn to prioritize a healthy drinking and eating pattern –after all, your milk is a result of what you consume!
7. Make Lactation Cookies
You can ask your mom or mom-in-law to bake some lactation cookies for you. If they don’t know what these cookies are, you can even amuse yourself by seeing the look in their eyes!
There is a variety of recipes around, and they include galactagogues –which is the scientific term for milk boosting ingredients such as flaxseeds, oats, wheat germs, and others. After all, who doesn’t like cookies?
8. Drink Premama Mix
Similar to point above, Premama Lactation drinks are meant to stimulate milk production due to its ingredients –fenugreek, thistle, fennels, etc.
Of course, this is not the only benefit, as these seeds and plants contain a generous amount of vitamins, calcium, and folic acid which create the healthy nutritional balance every mom needs and deserves.
The magic herb which increases milk the most is fenugreek –which ironically is a household condiment we don’t usually think much about. However, Indian families, in particular, hold fenugreek as a unique spice whose merits are passed down from generation to generation.
The herb is thought to increase estrogen receptors, creating a steady milk supply for your peace of mind and the health of your newborn.
9. The importance of rest
Another vital determinant for your milk supply is rest. Of course, you want a good night’s sleep, but if that can’t yet happen, sleep when your baby sleeps.
In this way, your body can operate at its optimum levels. Yes, we are aware that this is easier said than done when caring for a newborn, but if you have help, use it.
Your husband, parents, or grandparents will be excited to hold your adorable newborn in their arms, leaving you time to get some well-deserved rest. Don’t also forget to eliminate distractions, household chores or other less-important tasks.
Keep things simple. If you don’t have the energy to cook and dish up, order some healthy takeout or ask your family to prepare dinner for you.
Your mental health will also benefit from this, as you will be able to have grown-up conversations and feel supported.
If your family and friends are not around, don’t underestimate the power of peaceful sounds or classical music –they will create a serene ambiance for when nursing your baby.
The potential causes of low milk supply
Sometimes it is hard to know if your baby is getting enough milk.
Some good indicators are nappies. Are you changing at least 6 nappies a day? Are your baby’s nappies full? Is it doing number two’s every day? If so, that is a great sign your building your milk supply.
After my first baby was born, I quickly realized that breastfeeding is natural for some women, whereas others struggle to keep up with demand. There are multiple reasons for which your milk flow may be less-than-ideal.
Here are some of the main causes which you may be able to spot yourself:
1. Do you have a sleepy baby?
While your husband might be happy to enjoy a good night’s sleep, you may be up and worrying about whether your adorable newborn lacks proper nutrition.
If your baby’s sleeping pattern is at any point concerning you, the best course of action may be to contact a pediatrician, as they can provide you with expert advice and information which may further guide you.
It is also important to note that although some newborns are prone to sleeping for extended hours, they need to be woken up and nursed.
Some babies are very sleepy during the first few weeks of their lives. This may be the case of some premature babies, as they are likely to get tired before finishing a feeding session.
We understand that you might feel overwhelmed by all this information. However, a lactation consultant or doctor could supply you with simple and straightforward advice on how to proceed, step by step.
2. Nipple-bottle confusion
For moms who have had more than one baby, this point will not be surprising. In some cases, newborns simply prefer drinking from a bottle, as it is easier.
As a result, your milk supply or your baby’s ability to nurse might become problematic –because they’re used to bottle sucking instead of your nipple.
The end result is that your breast may not get the stimulation it needs to produce milk. You should still offer the breast to your baby before the bottle, to ensure you are getting stimulation and your baby does not forget how to latch.
3. The problem of using Pacifiers
Because some babies are sucking on pacifiers, this can potentially reduce the amount of time they’ll want or need to spend nursing. As a direct consequence, your milk supply may drop.
In other words, if there’s no demand for milk, the body won’t produce as much. This conclusion has been the topic of numerous studies in the field of infancy, with researchers believing that pacifiers inhibit your baby’s ability to latch on and appropriately suck the nipple.
In fact, even the World Health Organization has been known to discourage parents from using pacifiers on the basis that it may influence your newborn’s ability to adapt to natural feeding methods (i.e., breastfeeding).
This point is directly related to what we’ve previously spoken about. Your body is following the supply and demand rules, and if your baby consumes formula milk, there will probably not be enough of a reason for your breasts to produce the same amount of milk as before.
Of course, if you’re looking to introduce formula feeds, it’s best to do so as gradually as possible –giving your baby enough time to adapt to the feeding changes.
Bearing in mind that studies suggest there may be a potential link between formula, supplementing, or using pacifiers and a low milk supply, it’s best to acknowledge the benefits of a transition period (for both you and your newborn).
5. The issue of scheduling feedings
You are not wrong in wanting to create a routine or eating habit. The problem is that your body doesn’t necessarily follow the same pattern as your mind; it’s better to nurse your newborn whenever they are hungry. This is known as breastfeeding-on demand.
Trust me; you will learn to know your baby’s cries and recognize when he or she is hungry! In fact, trying to schedule feedings can often result in a stressed mommy or a cranky baby.
In comparison, on-demand feeding means that you are following your baby’s lead. Some new moms have even mentioned that in the immediate days after birth, their bodies respond to the cues of a hungry baby: once the newborn cries, it’s more likely for your body to create milk as a natural response.
In other words, the more your breasts are stimulated by the mother-baby bond, the more likely it is that your body will boost milk production. As time goes on you will notice that a hunger pattern might start to take shape, one that both you and your newborn will be able to follow.
6. Stopping nursing time
In some cases, time pressure or other factors might interrupt your baby’s feeding. Because you are halting the natural and organic flow of your body, it can ultimately interfere with milk production.
Try not to feed your baby in a rush, especially at the start as you both are learning about breastfeeding.
7. Your health
Before entering panic-mode, take a deep breath and read through this. It’s much rarer that your health is the reason for your low milk supply, but it is a possibility. If you have ruled out everything we have discussed above, maybe it’s time to consider your health.
Should you be at all concerned about this aspect, feel unwell or uneasy about the possibility of an underlying reason to your less-than-ideal milk supply, it’s essential to contact your physician as soon as possible. The causes that may be having an impact on your milk supply could be, but are not limited to:
- Hormonal disorders
- Medications you might be taking
- Anemic issues
- Retained placenta
- Previous breast injuries you may have sustained
Is your baby rejecting the breast?
There may be many reasons for this, but one of them may be the amount of the lipase hormone in your breast milk.
Check out our article on How to Combat Excess Lipase in Breast Milk for more information
So here you have it, the nine milk booster tips which we hope will help you increase your milk supply. There are many more techniques that you can try, and we hope these simple tips will help you along your journey.
Unfortunately, there is no absolute guarantee that they will work. A great piece of advice which we’d like to share with all new moms is that you don’t have to struggle in silence. In fact, our blogs and articles are meant to help you feel that you have some good old-fashioned support.
If this is not enough, outsource a lactation consultant within your area, and remember that even if you can’t keep up a full milk supply, you can still breastfeed. Many moms choose to breastfeed their newborns partially and then supply the rest from formula because as we’ve said in the beginning, every drop is nutritious. In fact, it’s pure ‘liquid gold’!
Have you tried any of our 9 milk booster tips? Have they helped you increase your milk supply? Are there any other tips you would recommend? Leave us a comment!