Science still tells us that breastfeeding is the best way for your newborn to get the vital nutrients they need to grow and thrive. But many mothers suffer from a diminished breast milk supply, and most, aren’t sure why their production has run low, or dried up completely.
The production of natural lactate is a maternal, biological act. But it also follows the basic laws of supply and demand. If the demand has shifted due to certain activities that have limited the amount of breastfeeding done, it is only nature that your body will stop producing it. This can be disconcerting if you don’t know why it’s happening, or if, perhaps, you have a low milk supply in one breast, but the other is producing normally.
There are many factors that can decrease your body's own lactation abilities, and we broke it down to the most likely six culprits. One or more of these could be the reason your baby is still hungry, even after a feeding.
How to build breast milk supply
1. Stop supplementing: Giving your baby your milk, then swapping out for a bottle filled with formula, will trick your body into thinking the need has become less and less, and so you will in turn produce less and less. If you want to give your baby their full share of mother’s nutritious fluid at every feeding, don’t supplement with anything else.
2. Eat and drink your healthy daily amount: You spent nine-months taking care of you, and the baby, by increasing caloric intake and staying hydrated. The problem might be that due to societal pressures, you feel like you want to trim the baby weight, and you might be eating or drinking less. This is not a great plan. Your body translates your food intake into fuel for production. Want to know how to increase milk supply? Eat three, healthy meals and drink plenty of water.
3. Infirmity: It is also possible you might be coming down with a cold or flu. The body’s natural defense is to draw healing nutrients from whatever source it can. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of that baby. Also, be careful what you take to fight the cold or flu. Pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed, which is a popular cold medicine, has properties that also lessen breast lactate production.
4. Calm down: Stress can dry up your supply incredibly fast. When you’re stressed, neurons in your brain seek the cause, detracting certain allocated services to traditionally unessential areas. And just like when you aren’t eating and drinking enough, when the body is stressed it feels like it isn’t being properly taken care of. Biology is critical in keeping breast lactate producing smoothly. We recognize that lack of sleep can be stressful, so just in case your production might begin to diminish, maybe increasing breast milk supply pumping is a good plan. Pump it, store it in the fridge, then put it in a baby bottle warmer to get it back to its natural temperature.
5. Make a feeding schedule: Babies on average need to feed every 3-4 hours. And using this metric, it is important, for the baby as well as your breast lactate production, to stick to this schedule. When your baby feeds, they essentially drain the breast, making room for more to produce. Your body gets on a removal and replenishment schedule. It anticipates that the old will go out, and the new will be created. So, what helps breast milk supply? A firm strictly followed the feeding schedule.
6. Are you pregnant, again? Due to hormonal changes in a mother’s body, becoming pregnant while still breastfeeding can lead to a lapse in the body's inclination to produce milk. The same applies if you are breastfeeding while taking birth control, which on a hormonal level, tricks your body into thinking it is already pregnant. To boost breast milk supply, it might be wise to abstain from using birth control, and maybe even limit unprotected sex, unless getting pregnant again is the plan all along.
The ideas of how to increase breast milk supply fast are simple, but all boil down to taking responsibility in doing them. How hard is it to eat right? Instead of Sudafed, try chicken soup or lots of vitamin-c. And all kids need routine, and a feeding schedule is a great place to start. It isn’t hard to do if you break these essential causes for lactate production issues down to manageable goals. Your success, and your baby’s health, are in your hands. Have you had supply issues and come up with another solution, not mentioned, to increase your supply?
About The Author - Rachel Burns (top-mom.com) is an experienced copywriter and photographer with a design diploma. She works with startups, entrepreneurs, bloggers and companies from around the world. In addition to writing articles and promotional materials, she enjoys hiking, reading, cooking and spending time with her family.