All Blogs | 6 Ways to Increase Breast Milk Supply

All Blogs | 6 Ways to Increase Breast Milk Supply

6 Ways to Increase Breast Milk Supply

Most mamas would consider breast milk to be one of the most optimal sources of nutrition for their newborn, providing the essential nutrients and antibodies necessary for their healthy growth and development. But as many of you know, breastfeeding isn’t always a breeze. Many new mothers may encounter challenges like low milk supply or poor latching, which affects their ability to meet their baby's needs. Others simply worry that they’re producing less milk than their baby should consume. Fortunately, there are a ton of strategies backed by science and evidence that can significantly increase breast milk supply and ensure ample provision for your baby's well-being. In this article, we will explore six effective ways to help you enhance breast milk supply which can promote successful breastfeeding.

1. Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day to Boost Milk Supply

Staying adequately hydrated plays a pivotal role in maintaining optimal breast milk production. Since breast milk consists primarily of water, it is crucial to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Drinking ten cups of water at a minimum or other healthy beverages daily can help increase milk supply and keep you hydrated. It’s also essential to listen to your body's thirst cues and drink accordingly.

If you’ve already had your fill of water for the day or you’re looking for another unique method to hydration, try out the UpSpring Milkflow drink mixes! By simply adding Milkflow to a glass of water or your favorite juice, you can stay hydrated and encourage milk production with our milk-optimizing herb formulas. This is our favorite way to encourage other mamas to stay hydrated.

Additionally, natural fruit juices or squeezing your favorite fruits into your water bottle can not only contribute to hydration but also provide potential benefits for milk production. However, "limit caffeine and drinks with excess sugar" to better support milk supply.

Milkflow Daily Friendly Options

2. Rest More and Stress Less for Improved Milk Supply

As a new mom or even as an experienced mom, proper rest and stressing less seems like a luxury! The truth is that adequate rest and stress management are vital factors in supporting breast milk production. Exhaustion and high-stress levels can impact the hormones involved in milk production, negatively affect milk supply and decrease milk supply. Prioritizing self-care and establishing a proper sleep routine can greatly encourage more breast milk supply. We know this may seem rather impossible (especially for the new moms out there), but we recommend that you aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and consider taking short naps during the day whenever feasible to positively affect milk supply.

Reducing stress is equally important for boosting breast milk. Elevated stress levels can interfere with the release of oxytocin, a hormone responsible for milk letdown. Engaging in stress-reducing activities like deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or gentle physical activity can even be beneficial to reducing stress and increasing milk supply.

3. Emptied Breasts Are Best For Increasing Milk Supply

This may seem counterintuitive to producing more breast milk, but did you know that emptying your milk supply can actually increase milk flow? Ensuring that your breasts are effectively emptied during each feeding session is a key aspect to increase breast milk supply. When your breasts are emptied of breast milk, it sends a signal to your body to produce more breast milk. Here are some additional details on the importance of emptied breasts and strategies to increase breast milk:

  • Frequent nursing: Encouraging your baby to nurse frequently is one of the most effective ways to empty your breasts of breast milk and stimulate milk production. Newborns typically have small stomach capacities and need to feed often, sometimes every two to three hours. Try to nurse your baby at least eight to twelve times a day as your milk supply adjusts to the demand. Offering breast milk from both breasts during each feeding can also help ensure that your baby receives the hindmilk, which is rich in fat and important for their growth and satiety.
  • Latching techniques: A proper latch is essential for effective breast milk removal. If your baby experiences difficulty latching, it is crucial to seek assistance from a lactation consultant or healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on positioning and help address any latch issues that may hinder your baby from getting enough breast milk.
  • Breast compression: During nursing, you can try breast compression techniques to encourage milk flow and ensure your breasts are adequately emptied of breast milk. While your baby is latched, gently squeeze your breast with your hand, starting from the chest wall and moving toward the nipple. This technique helps to actively express breast milk and can be particularly beneficial during the latter part of feeding when milk flow slows down.
  • Use a breast pump after feedings: If your baby is unable to fully empty your breasts due to latch issues or you need to supplement breastfeeding with pumping, using a high-quality breast pump can help maintain and increase milk supply. After each nursing session, consider using a breast pump to ensure that your breasts are fully emptied. Pumping for an additional 10-15 minutes after your baby has finished nursing can provide the necessary stimulation for increased milk production.

Remember, it's important to be patient and persistent when it comes to ensuring your breasts are emptied. Milk production works on a supply-and-demand basis, so the more your baby nurses or you express milk, the more signals your body receives to increase milk supply.

If you have concerns about milk supply or are experiencing difficulties, don't hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant or healthcare professional who can provide more guidance. They can assess your individual situation and provide tailored recommendations to help you achieve optimal milk production and breastfeeding success.

4. Nurse or Pump Frequently to Stimulate Milk Production

Frequent and regular nursing or pumping sessions play a vital role in stimulating milk production to increase breast milk. Newborns typically feed every two to three hours, so it is crucial to make time for feeding baby at least eight to twelve times per day. If circumstances prevent direct nursing or you are separated from your baby due to work or other reasons, establishing a pumping routine that closely mimics your baby's feeding schedule is crucial.

In addition to regular feedings, incorporating power pumping sessions into your routine can support and increase milk supply. Power pumping is a technique that involves pumping sessions spaced closely together to mimic cluster feeding, which can help increase milk production. To power pump, set aside a specific time (usually once a day) for a power pumping session. Pump for 10-15 minutes, take a short break, and then repeat the cycle for about an hour. This technique can be particularly helpful in boosting milk supply if you are exclusively pumping or struggling with low milk supply.

A woman holds her child while drinking a glass of liquid to stay hydrated for breastfeeding

5. Promote Milk Flow by Warming the Breasts Before Feeding

Promoting milk flow and facilitating letdown is an essential aspect of increasing milk supply. Applying warmth to your breasts before nursing or pumping can be a helpful technique to encourage milk production. Here are some ways to effectively warm the breasts and increase milk production:

  • Warm towel: Start by soaking a clean towel in warm water. Ensure that the temperature is comfortably warm and not too hot to avoid any discomfort or burns. Gently wring out the excess water and place the warm towel on your breasts for a few minutes before nursing or pumping. The warmth helps improve blood circulation to the breasts, which can aid in increasing breast milk production.
  • Warm shower: A warm shower before breastfeeding or pumping can be an excellent way to relax and prepare your breasts for producing breast milk. The warm water cascading over your breasts helps to increase blood flow and promote breast milk letdown. Allow the warm water to run over your breasts for a few minutes, massaging them gently with your hands. This combination of warmth and massage can help increase breast milk production.
  • Heating pad: If you prefer a more targeted approach to increase milk supply, you can use a heating pad to warm your breasts. Select a heating pad with adjustable temperature settings and set it to a low or moderate setting. Place the heating pad on your breasts for about 10-15 minutes before nursing or pumping. Always make sure that the heating pad is not too hot to prevent burns or discomfort.
  • Breast massage: In addition to applying warmth, massaging your breasts can further help increase breast milk production. Using your hands, gently massage your breasts in a circular motion, starting from the outer edges and moving toward the nipples. This technique helps to stimulate the milk ducts and encourages the flow of milk. You can perform a breast massage before, during, and after nursing or pumping sessions to optimize milk production.

It's important to note that warming the breasts should be done in moderation. Excessive heat or prolonged exposure to heat can be counterproductive and potentially lead to breast inflammation or discomfort. It's always best to listen to your body and adjust the temperature and duration of warming techniques according to your comfort level.

6. Maintain a Healthy Diet to Support Breast Milk Production

Last but not least, maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most important things to do when it comes to supporting breast milk production. A well-balanced and nutritious diet provides your body with the necessary fuel and nutrients to meet the demands of breastfeeding and potentially increase breast milk. Here are some key considerations to ensure that your diet optimally supports breast milk production:

  • Include a variety of whole foods that support breast milk supply: Your diet should consist of a diverse range of whole foods that provide essential nutrients. Incorporate lean proteins such as poultry, fish, tofu, legumes, and dairy products. These protein sources are rich in amino acids, which can support muscle health and lead to supported milk production. Additionally, consume a wide array of fruits and vegetables to obtain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health.
  • Choose complex carbohydrates: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat bread are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. They provide sustained energy and essential nutrients like B vitamins and fiber, which are beneficial for milk quality.
  • Include healthy fats: Healthy fats play a vital role in hormone production, which directly affects milk supply. Incorporate sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil are also excellent sources of healthy fats.
  • Choose hydrating foods: As mentioned previously, adequate hydration is crucial for maintaining an ample milk supply. In addition to drinking water and using our Milkflow drink mix, you can incorporate hydrating foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, and soups into your diet.
  • Consider lactogenic foods: Certain foods are believed to have lactogenic properties, meaning they can increase breast milk production. Oats, for example, are believed to stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone responsible for milk letdown. Fenugreek, fennel, flaxseeds, and brewer's yeast are also commonly used to support milk supply. You can also get milk-optimizing herbs, like fenugreek, in any of the UpSpring Milkflow drink mixes!
  • Eat regularly and mindfully: Consuming regular, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day can help maintain stable blood sugar levels and provide a steady supply of nutrients for milk production. Opt for nutrient-dense snacks such as yogurt, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits.

Remember that every woman's body is unique, and individual responses to dietary changes may vary. It's important to listen to your body, make adjustments based on your personal needs, and seek guidance from a healthcare professional or lactation consultant for personalized advice.

By maintaining a healthy diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods and considering lactogenic options, you can support optimal breast milk production and ensure that you provide your baby with the nourishment they need.

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Increasing breast milk supply requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both physical and emotional well-being. By implementing these six strategies - staying hydrated, prioritizing rest and stress reduction, ensuring effective milk removal, nursing or pumping frequently, promoting milk flow through warmth, and maintaining a healthy diet - you can significantly increase your milk supply and support successful breastfeeding. Remember that there’s nothing wrong with seeking guidance from a lactation consultant or healthcare professional. They can provide you with the personalized support you deserve and further enhance your breastfeeding journey. With dedication and the right tools, you can enjoy an abundant supply of breast milk, providing your baby with optimal nutrition and nourishment.