Increasing Milk Supply with Help From Baby
Remember the three B’s of breastfeeding: the breast, the baby, and the brain. For increasing milk supply, the breast needs more stimulation from the baby and making that happen will require some adjustments in your brain. To increase your milk supply, you have to make breastfeeding a priority.
Increase Feeding Frequency
Breastfeed your baby at least every two hours during the day to help with increasing milk supply. If your baby has been napping for more than two hours, wake her up for a feeding. Consider waking your baby for at least one extra night feeding, too, especially if you have a baby who sleeps for more than a four or five hour stretch at night.
Don’t Wait for Your Breasts to “Fill Up”
There is always milk in your breasts for your baby, and more milk is made while you feed. Studies have shown that fat levels in milk are higher when the time between feedings is shorter. This means when you offer the breast again minutes after the last feeding (when your breasts may still feel “empty”), your baby is getting high-fat milk that will help him gain weight.
Offer the Breast More Often
The “law of supply and demand” that governs milk production implies that babies will demand the milk they need. Yet, this does not always work. Some babies, especially sleepy babies and those with mellow personalities, may not breastfeed as frequently as they need to without mother doing a bit of prodding. If this sounds like your baby, you need to take the lead and give your baby more frequent opportunities to nurse. Skin-to-skin contact, nap and night nursing, and sling feeding will help to stimulate longer, more frequent feedings.
Increasing milk supply will be helped if you don’t limit the length of your baby’s feedings to a predetermined number of minutes on each side. Allow your baby to finish the first breast before switching to the other side. This gives baby an opportunity to fill up on the high-fat hindmilk brought down by the milk-ejection reflex. If you switch your baby to the second side too soon, he’ll fill up on the watery foremilk, which will make his tummy feel full but may not give him enough calories to grow.