5 Effective Ways On How To Increase Breast Milk Supply
Ask any new mother about breastfeeding, and she will likely launch into a lengthy conversation about her struggles. Breast milk is touted as the gold standard of nutrition for newborns up to 6 months of age, yet the term ‘Breast is Best’ remains highly contentious.
Featured Interview with Lim Peifen
Local radio DJ and personality Lim Peifen shares about breastfeeding and her journey of getting back into shape. As a public figure and working mother of two, Peifen wanted to share her experience and reach out to her fellow mums.
One challenging part of her postpartum journey was her recovery from Diastasis Recti. Solving this issue effectively helped her regain core strength and return to her exercise routine.
To help you with your breastfeeding journey, here are 5 effective ways to increase breast milk supply while prioritising your well-being.
#1 Invest in a Good Quality Double Breast Pump
The faster the breast empties of milk, the more milk it produces. Therefore, experts recommend breastfeeding 8-12 times in a 24 hour window2 to ensure supply is steady and consistent. This advice places a lot of pressure on mothers to breastfeed around the clock with some losing much needed sleep over it. It becomes even more difficult if their babies are ‘slow’ drinkers, with some babies taking up to an hour to feed.
An efficient double breast pump ensures both breasts are efficiently drained of milk regardless of whether the baby is a fast or slow drinker. If a mother chooses to breastfeed exclusively, she can still use the pump after a round of breastfeeding to ensure any remaining milk empties from both breasts.
#2 Sleep More, Stress Less
According to Shivani Patel (M.D, Obstetrics and Gynaecology) of UT Southwestern Medical Center, stress is the No. 1 factor affecting breast milk supply3. Stress produces hormones such as cortisol which can negatively affect milk production.
#3 Nourish Yourself with Milk Boosters
Galactagogues are foods, herbs or medicines that can help to increase milk production. While not necessarily effective as a standalone solution, they work very well with frequent breastfeeding or pumping to boost supply.
Herbs such as Fenugreek and Thistle can also increase milk supply. However, it is best to consult a doctor before taking herbs as they may cause unwanted side effects such as nausea or diarrhoea.
#4 Breast Compressions
The more milk a baby drinks, the more milk your body produces. Breast compressions are a helpful way of creating a stronger flow of milk, enabling the baby to remove more milk from the breasts and increasing milk supply.
#5 Keep Hydrated
A breastfeeding mother should drink 128 ounces (=16 cups) of fluid daily9. Breast Milk is 80% water and consuming adequate amounts of fluids in the form of water, vegetable and fruit juice, or even nutritious soups counts towards adequate hydration.
- Brown, Catherine R L et al. “Factors influencing the reasons why mothers stop breastfeeding.” Canadian journal of public health = Revue canadienne de sante publique, 2014.
- Littleton, Kristen and Richardson, Jamila H., “Breastfeeding FAQs: How Much and How Often”, Kidshealth Org, Accessed: 20th February 2023, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/breastfeed-often.html
- Patel, Shivani, “4 factors that can decrease breast milk supply – and how to replenish it”, 16 May 2022, https://utswmed.org/medblog/decrease-breast-milk-supply/
- Pacheco, Danielle, “How Electronics Affects Sleep”, Sleep Foundation, 15 December 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-electronics-affect-sleep#:~:text=Blue%20light%20can%20also%20reduce,devices%20that%20emit%20blue%20light.
- Marshall, Lisa, “Get Morning Light, Sleep Better At Night”, WebMD, 23 March 2022, https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/morning-light-better-sleep
- Lloyd, William C III, “What is serotonin, what does it do?”, Medical News Today, 5 October 2022, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248#:~:text=Serotonin%20has%20a%20wide%20variety,cycles%20and%20the%20body%20clock.
- Murray, Donna, “Foods to Increase Breast Supply”, Very Well Family, November 8 2022, https://www.verywellfamily.com/foods-that-increase-breast-milk-supply-431598
- “Breast compressions.” Australian Breastfeeding Association, https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/resources/breast-compressions. Accessed 17 February 2023.
- White, Jennifer, “How Much Water Should I Drink While Breastfeeding”, Very Well Family, October 19 2022, https://www.verywellfamily.com/does-drinking-more-water-affect-breastfeeding-284285
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