So, you have done what you read in the books; perfect the latch and feed on demand yet your milk supply is still causing you issues. I hear you, WHY? How can I improve the situation?
For different reasons individual to each woman, supply can cause issues and the sooner they are addressed the better the outcome. We know that milk supply works on the premise: the higher demand put to the breast leads to a higher supply rate. In other words, the more milk you remove the more milk you will make… Sounds easy eh!! Not always….. For the majority of women, they will make enough milk to feed their babies but for some extra help is needed..
The issue of breast milk supply can be a daunting hurdle to overcome. Whether you’re a new mum or a seasoned pro, understanding the factors affecting milk supply and mastering the art of pumping can make a significant difference in your breastfeeding journey.
Pumping is a valuable tool for mothers facing breast milk supply issues. It helps stimulate milk production by mimicking a baby’s suckling action. Introducing a breast pump into your routine can provide flexibility while ensuring your baby receives the essential nourishment.
My top tips to increase milk supply:
- Ensure correct flange size: This is crucial to pumping. If too big, the breast is not compressed adequately resulting in poor output. If too small it can result in trauma to the nipple & poor output.
- A good-quality breast pump can make a significant difference. Choose a pump that suits your lifestyle and needs, whether it’s a manual, electric, or hospital-grade pump.
- Apply warm compress to Breasts before pumping. Pumping after feeds will empty your breasts more. As you know empty breasts make more milk, full breasts won’t. By taking more milk from the breast tells your body to increase milk supply to meet that increased demand.
- Power pumping :Essentially this is putting a huge surge on demand so it can have a big impact on supply. I’m not going to lie though, its time consuming and can be challenging for new moms to do it all. This is only a short term method used to result in a long term goal-better supply. Mornings may be better for this as your milk supply is generally higher. How does it work? Pump both breasts simultaneously. Pump X 20mins, rest X 10mins, pump X 10mins rest X 10mins, pump X 10 min & stop.
- Doing breast massage while pumping can also increase yield and therefore supply. Breast compressions are your best friend in the early days of breastfeeding whether pumping or feeding baby directly.
- Find a quiet, comfortable space to pump. Relaxation can positively impact your milk letdown reflex. Consider playing soothing music or looking at pictures of your baby to stimulate the release of oxytocin.
- Staying well-hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet are crucial for milk production. Keep a water bottle nearby during pumping sessions, and snack on nutritious foods to support your body’s needs.
- Mimic a baby’s cluster feeding by power pumping – pumping for shorter, more frequent sessions over a set period. This can help stimulate milk production and boost milk supply.
- Consistency is key. Set a regular pumping schedule, mimicking your baby’s feeding times as closely as possible. This helps signal to your body that milk supply is needed regularly.
Breast milk supply issues are common, and many mothers successfully navigate them with patience, dedication, and the right support. By understanding the factors influencing milk supply and incorporating effective pumping techniques, you can enhance your breastfeeding experience. Remember, every breastfeeding journey is unique, so don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a lactation consultant.