If your baby isn’t gaining weight or producing enough wet and dirty nappies, here are some things you can do to help improve your milk supply:
- Relax – easier said than done, but your ‘let-down’ reflex works best when you are relaxed.
- Frequent feeds – to boost your supply, feed your baby more frequently. In the first few weeks after birth, your goal should be 8 to 12 nursing sessions in a 24-hour period. Once your baby becomes more efficient and can drink more milk in a feeding session, they will feed less often.
- Offer both breasts – this will help your baby get enough milk and ensure that both breasts are stimulated frequently to produce more milk. Remember, your body makes milk based on how much is removed from the breast.
- Try breast compression – squeeze your breast firmly (but not to the point of pain) with your thumb on one side and fingers on the other (like you’re holding a sandwich) to help increase milk flow. Wait until your baby is not actively sucking, release her from your nipple, and rotate your fingers around your breast and squeeze again. Switch breasts and repeat twice on each breast.
- Schedule a breast feeding holiday – cuddle up in bed with your baby and do nothing but rest and breast feed – and, of course, feed yourself as well.
- Eat well – you need an extra 450-500 calories each day, ideally nutrient-rich foods including vegetables like spinach, to help keep you feeling energised and healthy. Drink plenty of water, too.
If you are concerned about your milk supply, contact your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant for assistance. She or he can check your baby’s positioning and latch, and suggest ways to improve nursing sessions so you and your baby both get what you need.
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