by Liza Janda

If you’re like most women in the U.S. you probably had a cascade of interventions during labor and birth to help get your baby out. The use of these interventions can often be very helpful but there are risks along with the benefits. One of those risks is a negative affect on breastfeeding outcomes. Not all babies whose moms had pain relief or other drugs have difficulty sucking. But the evidence is mounting that some drugs affect the baby’s central nervous system. Even something as benevolent as an I.V. can over-hydrate mom. Then her breast tissue is swollen and baby can’t latch on. When your baby has trouble sucking, increasing your breast milk supply will be a challenge. Even moms who experience a natural birth may have difficulty increasing their milk supply.

So What’s A Mother To Do?

So, how do you make sure your baby is getting all the nutrition he or she needs? Increasing your milk supply while breastfeeding may seem a little daunting, but follow these steps and in 2-4 days your breast milk supply will increase.

  1. Have skin-to-skin contact with your baby within 30 minutes-24 hours of giving birth. Studies show this increases your chances of successful breastfeeding.
  2. Consult a lactation consultant before you leave your birthplace to make sure your baby is latched on correctly and when any challenges arise. Attend a breastfeeding support group or a La Leche League support group.
  3. Don’t use pacifiers or supplement with formula. These tend to satisfy babies’ sucking reflex which is much better satisfied at mom’s breast. It will be tough to increase your milk supply. Check out this resource from med.Stanford.edu – Maximizing Milk Production
  4. Keep your baby with you – rooming in or bed sharing and skin-to-skin as much as possible will encourage you to know your baby’s hunger cues and feeding on demand can help provide a healthy milk supply. Click here for a free “Lying -in Plan”Earth Mama® Postpartum Lying-in Plan
  5. Feed your baby on demand and often. Take a nursing vacation – stay home and rest and do nothing but keep baby with you and feed often.
  6. In addition to drinking plenty of fluids – 64 ounces daily – eat 500 extra calories a day. Make sure those calories are nutritious. You have to eat well to give your baby good nutrition.
  7. Take supplements shown to be effective in stimulating milk production like Kiss Me Organics Nursing Mom’s Kit. Herbs in the tea combined with the Fenugreek capsules act to stimulate breast milk production, increasing your milk supply within a couple of days.

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8.  Get plenty of rest and do everything you can to decrease stress. Added stress and lack of rest will reduce your milk supply.

9.  If pumping, use a hospital grade pump, and pump for shorter more frequent pumping sessions. Shorter more frequent pumping is more effective at increasing breast milk production and supply than longer, less frequent sessions.

10.  Offer the breast often and switch sides as soon as baby becomes sleepy or slows down their sucking. Make sure to always offer both sides at each feeding. Make it easy by using good Breastfeeding Bras

Remember this won’t last forever. As my mom said to me often when my first-born was little, “ This too shall pass.” Ask for help for around the house. Ask for help from a lactation consultant or support group. Let go of all the things you think you want to do. This is a special time. Take advantage of it and enjoy it. It really will pass!

How To Increase Your Milk Supply Without Losing Your Mind (By Mom Loves Best)