Most mothers who breastfeed will be concerned at some time about if their baby is getting enough milk. You can be rest assured that for most women their baby will be getting just as much milk as they need.
If your baby is healthy and gaining weight it’s a clear indication that your milk supply is just right. However, at some point during the time that you’re breastfeeding your baby, you’re going to want to increase your supply of breast milk.
The main reason for this is that as your baby gets older and goes through a growth spurt that she’ll want to nurse longer and drink more. For you, this means that you have to keep the supply up with the demand.
There are a number of different things that you can do to boost your milk supply.
It’s important that your baby nurse efficiently. This means that your breast milk should be efficiently removed from your breast. When breast milk isn’t removed from your breast your milk supply will be decreased.
Inefficient nursing happens when your sleepy baby drinks just a bit of milk and then falls asleep, leaving you with a breast full of milk.
If this happens frequently you might want to consider expressing some of your milk between or after feedings so that you adequately maintain your milk supply.
In order for your milk supply to be steady, you want your baby to be nursing regularly and removing as much milk from each breast as she can.
Avoid Bottles and Pacifiers
If at all possible avoid offering your baby the use of bottles and pacifiers. The only place that your baby should be sucking is on your breast.
Bottles and pacifiers don’t require your baby to suck very hard and this can lead to “lazy” nursing when you breastfeed her.
She’ll just be sucking slowly and without very much effort and this means that your breast milk won’t be efficiently removed from your breast.
Stick to Breast Milk
Babies under six months should only be given breast milk. Don’t give her any formula, water, or solids, not even a bit of rice cereal.
The reason for this is that if your baby is eating or drinking anything else besides your breast milk, she’ll start to drink less of your milk.
If the demand for breast milk goes down, so does the supply. For babies over the age of six months, this rule applies as well.
Cut back on any solids, water, or formula you’re giving your baby if you notice that your supply of breast milk is decreasing.
Pumping Your Breast Milk
As mentioned before, pumping your breast milk is a good way to keep up the demand for milk and thereby increase your supply.
Pumping is very important between nursing sessions if your baby isn’t nursing often enough or isn’t nursing efficiently.
The goal of pumping is to remove more of your milk from your breasts as well as to increase the frequency of when your breasts are emptied of milk.
When you’re pumping milk, make sure that you pump for about 2 to 5 minutes to make sure that you’re removing the optimum amount of breast milk.
Breastfeed More Often
To increase your milk supply you can offer the breast more often to your baby. Sometimes babies with mellow personalities and babies who are sleepy won’t breastfeed as often as they should be.
You might need to encourage and prod your little one to eat a little more often. You can do this by giving her more opportunities to nurse. For instance, make sure that you breastfeed before and after naps as well as during the night.
Another good way to get your baby to drink more milk is to try what is known as “double-nursing”. After feeding your baby and it seems as though she’s finished, carry her so that she’s awake and upright for about 10 to 20 minutes.
This will allow her to burp up any air bubbles and make room for her to drink a bit more milk. Try to feed her on both breasts again before you allow her to go to sleep.
Nursing twice will stimulate your milk ejection reflexes which will then help to increase your milk supply.
Trust in Mother Nature
Many mothers panic and feel that their baby just isn’t getting enough milk. Most women have just the right amount of milk for their growing baby.
Try not to panic and trust that your body is doing what it should do to feed your baby. Your doctor will be able to correctly determine if your baby isn’t gaining weight and doesn’t seem to be thriving.
Relax and enjoy your breastfeeding experience. After all, it won’t be long and then these wonderful days of being able to provide your baby with your own milk will be behind you.