Tips to Increase Supply

You need a few days with rest and a complete focus on nursing. Think of it as a nursing vacation. To increase breastmilk, it is essential the breasts be emptied, with a breastpump or by the infant, frequently and regularly, even at night.

1. Increase the frequency of nursings. Stick to a 2-3 hour nursing schedule during the day and 3-4 hour nursing schedule during the night. Wake up baby if you need to.

2. Stimulate production at each breastfeeding session by 'switch nursing.' During each nursing, watch the baby's suck. When it slows, nurse on the other side. Switch every time the baby slows down in an attempt to wake the baby and empty the breast. At each feeding, nurse at least twice on each side, about 5 minutes each time. This switch nursing is supposed to stimulate the letdown.

3. Follow up the feeding with a breast massage and pumping the breasts empty. Continuing pumping at least 5 minutes after the breast is emptied. This sends the signal to increase supply.

4. Fenugreek works to increase supply when enough is taken so mom's sweat and urine smells of maple syrup. It often begins to shows effect 24-72 hours after starting the herb, though sometimes takes even up to 2 weeks for mothers to notice the effect. Complement by emptying the breasts and increasing the frequency of nursings. (As for any decision to take supplements, even herbal ones, it's recommended to seek advice from a trained medical provider first.)

In my own experience, as demand increases, supply usually catches up. However it is not without some frustration and dedicated nursing. I noticed the time when my twins' need increased because on those days they want to nurse ALL THE TIME! I can even remember going to the pediatrician and asking what I should do when I am literally nursing with only 20 minutes break the entire day. This is when the twins were 2-3 months old. I felt as if they were using me as a pacifier because I didn't have anything left, yet they were sucking and sucking. The doctor said that's what they do when they are going through a growth spurt and not to worry. A few days later it calmed down. I guess that's when supply caught up with demand.

It is recommended not to do any bottlefeeding when you are trying to increase your supply. Rather, give supplemental milk with spoon or special feeding supplement tubing.

Remember, drink a lot of fluids: soups, water, and juice. (Stay away from caffeine and alcohol.)

The La Leche League International is a great organization that supports breastfeeding women. Their website contains lots of resources including support groups, answers for common questions and current breastfeeding information.

Legal Disclaimer

Please seek help from your local health care professional if you are experiencing problems with breastfeeding or if you have continuing concerns.

Information given can not be construed as medical advice. Please check with your health care provider when making decisions concerning lactation that may impact the health and well-being of you and/or your breastfeeding child.

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