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7 Ways to Naturally Increase Breast Milk

Updated on March 25, 2018
Daniella Lopez profile image

Danielle Lopez is a published fantasy author, freelance health and medical writer, finance author, and certified birth & bereavement doula.

Breast milk is one of the best things you can give to your baby.
Breast milk is one of the best things you can give to your baby. | Source

Breastfeeding is Good for Mommy and Baby

Breastfeeding can seem like a daunting task for many women. Not only do you have to constantly be there to feed your baby, but you also have to eat and drink the right things in order to keep yourself and your child healthy. Despite all of this, breastfeeding is actually one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your baby. Breast milk is rich in vitamins and nutrients that formula does not have. As your baby grows and changes, so does your breast milk. Your breast milk self-regulates the amount of nutrients and vitamins it contains to accommodate your child’s needs. Breast milk is easier for babies to digest, leaving your child with a healthier digestive system and far fewer instances of colic than formula fed babies.

Breastfeeding improves maternal health, too. Studies have shown that breastfeeding reduces a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and postpartum depression. It has also been noted that weight loss while breastfeeding helps allow women to slowly drop the baby fat. If done right, breastfeeding for natural birth control can also be achieved, with some assistance from charting and protective barriers during ovulation.

One obstacle that some breastfeeding mothers may encounter is low milk supply. Some women may feel that their baby isn't getting enough milk and therefore begin to formula feed to make up for it. However, you do not always have to go to such lengths. In this article, you will find some very simple, natural ways to increase milk supply without sacrificing your breastfeed goals.


Co-Sleeping

For many people, the term "co-sleep" is frightening. Many people are scared that they will smother their baby, or that their baby will roll off the bed, or any number of things. However, there are ways to safely cosleep without causing them injury or harm. Not only can you safely sleep with your baby, but you can also increase your milk flow.

Allowing your baby to sleep near you will facilitate your ability to feed your baby during the night when he or she gets hungry. It will also allow your baby to suckle if he or she needs to in order to go to sleep a little easier.

There are many precautions you can take to ensure that your baby is safe sleeping in your bed. First, provide your baby with a safe sleeping place that can be placed near your bed. There are co-sleepers that are designed similarly to a bassinet. These you can keep beside your bed to keep your baby safe. Also, you will want to make sure that there are no pillows or blankets near your baby that could possible suffocate your child.

Simple steps like these can keep your baby safe, your milk production flowing well, and keep mommy happy and well rested.


Nursing can be a great bonding opportunity for mother and baby.
Nursing can be a great bonding opportunity for mother and baby. | Source

Adequate Sleep Improves Breastfeeding

After you take your newborn home, it can feel like you will never sleep ever again. All the screaming, diaper changes, and just general anxiety over how much your life has suddenly changed can be overwhelming. I laid in bed many a night being too exhausted to even fall asleep.

However, you will one day sleep again. It may be a few months, but you will find that blissful rest. When you do, try to get as much as you possibly can.

The amount of sleep you get and the quality of sleep can cause your milk levels to fluctuate. If you can tell that your milk is in low supply and you think it is due to sleep deprivation, do not be afraid to ask for help. Ask your partner, a friend, or a family member to watch the baby just for an hour or two; long enough for you to catch a little nap. Every little bit of extra sleep helps when striving for breastfeeding success.


Pacifier Use and Breastfeeding

Instead of using a pacifier, allow your baby to suckle whenever he or she desires. This is especially important in the earlier months when you are trying to establish a decent flow. The suckling action your baby does helps to stimulate your milk production, whereas, if you give your baby a pacifier, the stimulation is lost.


Avoid Supplementing

Some women feel the need to incorporate formula along with their breast milk. However, if you are trying to increase milk supply, this is a really bad idea. The sucking action your baby performs is what allows you to produce milk. When you give your baby formula instead of allowing him or her to suck, you take away from your breasts the chance to produce more milk for your hungry baby.

Also, formula fills your baby up faster than breast milk does. Therefore, your baby will not be as hungry as often. This in turn him or her to not want to breastfeed near as often. However, if your doctor has informed you that your milk supply needs the extra assistance, then you should take your doctor's advice and do whatever extra work is necessary.


Babies love falling asleep nursing.
Babies love falling asleep nursing. | Source

Lactating Mother's Calorie Needs are Slightly Higher Than Non-Nursing Mother’s Calorie Needs

It can be extremely hard to even consider eating more when you want to lose that extra baby fat so badly. However, making breast milk burns a lot of your calories. You need to add at least an extra 500 calories to your diet in order to produce enough milk.

If you are worried about dieting and breastfeeding, take it very slowly. You don't want to rush into a weight loss program and end up sacrificing your child's food source. Eat a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables and plenty of water. Start exercising slowly and at the level that your health allows you. Be sure to consult with your doctor after having your baby and decide on a proper diet and exercise plan. Also, try to avoid some of the more extreme diets, such as the Keto diet, because many of these have been known to reduce or completely diminish lactation.


Pumping for Low Supply

During the early months, when you are trying to establish a decent milk supply, it may be fortuitous to try pumping. This works very well if you and your baby are having a difficult time with breastfeeding. However, it is generally encouraged by lactation experts to allow your infant to nurse more to increase milk supply instead of relying on pumping to increase lactation.

Pumping during your baby's nap times can help stimulate your milk production. If you are going to exclusively pump, be sure to do so every 2 to 4 hours, even during the night. This is very important the first month or two in order to establish milk supply. After a few months, you don't need to pump near as often. Consult with your doctor or a lactation consultant to find out when you should pump and how often.


Water Improves Breast Milk Supply

Drink at least a gallon of water every day. Try to limit the amount of tea, coffee, and sodas you drink. Juices are okay to drink, but if you are trying to lose weight, it is best to stay away from juices. Juices have massive amounts of sugar, making them not an ideal drink to consume for weight loss.

Some people have documented that increasing their water and green tea consumption has helped maintain milk supply naturally, while also facilitating weight loss. Be sure to drink caffeine free beverages, just like you did during pregnancy. When breastfeeding, don't eat or drink anything you wouldn't have consumed when pregnant.


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© 2012 Danielle Lopez

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