Hello mamas! First of all, if you are currently stressing out about your breast milk supply, take time now to stop, take a long, deep breath, and pat yourself on the shoulder for persevering. You’re doing a great job – regardless of the flow of your breast milk or any other factor – remind yourself that you’re doing well and that we’re right there with you. Having a baby is a tough job! Always keep that in mind, and be kind to yourself.
Here are some tips we’ve gathered across the web, which other moms have also recommended, for increasing breast milk supply.
1. Stress less. Always keep in mind, mamas, that having a baby is a stressful, life-changing event. Of course you will feel anxious/worried/not exhilarated/glowing or totally relaxed all of the time! Remember that motherhood depicted in the media is often a completely glossed over, airbrushed version. Because having a baby is a huge change in your life – mentally, emotionally, physically – and change, even good change, causes stress. And guess what? Stress can affect you physiologically, including your breast milk supply. So keep this in mind, be kind to yourself, breathe through the tough, frustrating or downright disheartening moments, and know that this too shall pass. Stress less, don’t be hard on yourself – and this act of self-love will go a long way towards helping to increase your breast milk supply.
2. Persist. Especially in the first week of nursing, breast milk supply might not be forthcoming or flow easily. This is because the very act of nursing, with your baby suckling at your nipples, is what will actually stimulate the milk ducts and promote the flow of your breast milk. So give your body some time to respond, and don’t give up!
3. Wake baby up gently. This is also a chance to give baby’s father something to do! Newborn babies often doze off easily at your breast. So to help your baby nurse longer, gently wake baby up if he or she falls asleep at your breast – to help your milk ducts get stimulated more. This is where baby’s father can help – we recommend patting baby’s face with a cool damp cloth, or to help pat baby’s back in a circular motion, or to gently stroke baby’s scalp. All of these help to stimulate baby and to keep him awake. Bonus points for helping baby’s father feel useful and involved in the breast feeding process!
4. Tend to yourself first, and relieve any pain or soreness in your nipples. The pain or soreness that you feel in your nipples will naturally inhibit your desire or ability to breastfeed your baby – and that’s completely understandable. No one really talks a lot about how breastfeeding at first could be painful! So take care of your breasts and nipples. Get your husband to run out and buy you a supply of lanolin, which is a natural moisturizer for sore and cracked nipples, which also soothes and heals. Also get nipple shields to prevent your nipples from being grazed by the fabric of your clothes. When the pain lessens or is manageable, your desire to breastfeed will return, and will help you to persevere on.
5. Take care of yourself. Other than relieving any pain, make sure that you’re eating and drinking enough. One rule of thumb is that as long as your urine is clear, you’re getting enough fluids. It’s often so easy to neglect yourself in those early days, but it is in those early days where it’s even more important to make sure you’re feeding yourself first before you can even nourish your baby!
Finally, massaging your breasts will also help. Make sure that you’re wearing a comfortable nursing bra so that your breasts are well supported and will not obstruct the flow of your breast milk. Good luck and we’re here cheering you on!