The amount of breast milk that women produce depends on how often the baby suckles and how effective he is while doing so. When the baby breastfeeds, his action causes two hormones to be released: oxytocin and prolactin. But what can you do to produce more breast milk?
The first thing you should know is that prolactin is the hormone responsible for milk production. In addition to this, the more the baby nurses, the more milk the mother’s breasts will produce.
If the child needs more milk than the mother produces, the mother should nurse him more frequently or more efficiently so that production increases.
The second hormone, oxytocin, causes muscle contractions in the breasts that cause milk to flow through the milk ducts and out of the nipple when the baby nurses. This is called an ejection reflect.
In some cases, the mother may not produce enough breast milk to satisfy the baby’s insatiable appetite. However, there are several ways to produce more breast milk.
How to produce more breast milk
There are some tips you should keep in mind to develop and maintain a healthy supply of breast milk. These will allow you to establish a strong and healthy supply or to increase it naturally.
1. Help the baby latch on correctly
The mother’s production of breast milk may be perfectly correct and in sufficient quantity, yet the baby doesn’t latch on effectively. As a result, he cannot suckle the amount of milk that he needs.
In this case, the key factor for improvement is to help the baby breastfeed correctly. For example, a midwife can guide you in the best way to place the baby to allow him to breastfeed in the best conditions.
2. Use breast compression
Breast compression is a technique used to help the baby drink more breast milk while breastfeeding. It’s also a way to extract more milk from the breast when a breast pump is being used.
It consists of holding the breast with one hand and placing it near the chest wall. Then, you must firmly press it with your fingers, but without causing pain. When the baby begins to suckle, release the breast so that the milk flows through it.
3. Make lifestyle changes
You may not realize it, but some of your everyday habits can affect your supply of breast milk. Things that can interfere with the supply of breast milk include smoking, taking contraceptive pills, stress and fatigue.
Don’t hesitate to try to naturally increase your supply of breast milk by making some changes in your daily routine!
There is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are a million ways to be a good mother.
4. Respect meal times and don’t use formula milk
Your body produces more breast milk when the baby breastfeeds. If you skip feedings or give the baby formula milk instead of breastfeeding, it doesn’t tell your body that you want to produce more breast milk. The supply will decrease unless you pump.
5. Breastfeed with both breasts
During the first weeks, breastfeeding from both sides during each feeding will help to accumulate a greater supply of breast milk. You just have to make sure to alternate the breast that you start with each time you feed your baby, since the first breast usually receives more stimulation.
If you always start on the same side, the breast will produce more milk and become bigger than the other. After the first few weeks, when you feel comfortable with the amount of breast milk you’re producing, you can continue to breastfeed on both sides or from one side in each feeding.
6. Eat well
While it’s possible to have a full supply of breast milk for your baby while eating a poor diet, it’s certainly a good idea to try to eat a little better while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding and breast milk production require a good amount of energy. To develop and maintain a healthy supply of milk, feed your body with well-balanced and healthy meals.
You can even add some foods to your daily diet that increase milk production, such as oats, vegetables and almonds. This, of course, will help you get in those extra calories that you need so much.
7. Drink water
Breast milk is composed of 88% water, so if you aren’t drinking water after each feeding, your body will soon become dehydrated.
Finally, remember that to produce more breast milk, it’s very important that you have healthy lifestyle habits. With the above advice, most breastfeeding mothers manage to have enough breast milk to feed their babies.