When it comes to feeding your baby, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every mother’s situation is different, which is why increasing your milk supply can be such a challenge for some mothers. While others have slower-moving issues like engorgement or slow letdown that can make pumping just as challenging. To get the most out of breastfeeding and increase your milk supply, you’ll need to look at a few factors that many new moms don’t think about. Most of these factors are easily fixable (or at least manageable) so don’t let them discourage you from giving it your best shot!
Whether you’re having trouble producing enough milk or not getting much feedback from your pumping sessions, you will with time. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about increasing your milk supply and helping you succeed in a lactation-friendly environment that supports breastfeeding.
How to Increase Milk Supply
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to increase milk supply, let’s take a step back and talk about why breastfeeding is so important in the first place. There are countless reasons why breastfeeding is important to society and your baby. Breastmilk contains nutrients that your baby needs to grow and develop. It also builds your bond with your baby, builds your confidence as a new mom, and provides you with a sense of accomplishment. For these reasons and more, breastfeeding is an amazing thing. But let’s be honest here — it can be super challenging to produce enough milk for your baby. And if nothing else, it is a great reminder that we are human and breastfeeding is a special gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
When Does a Woman Produce Enough Milk for Breastfeeding?
The best time to start pumping is when your supply is at its lowest point. This is because your body needs to be at its peak production capacity first. Over time, your body will become used to pumping, and you’ll be able to pump at a lower production rate. So, if you don’t start pumping right away, you may end up pumping less and less as time goes on.
Now, you can’t just pump to increase your supply because your body is not yet used to producing more milk. Your body has to be ready to receive the extra nutrients and build up the muscles to handle the extra work. If you pump right away, you are likely to get an irritated letdown, and you aren’t giving your body the chance to adjust. It’s better to prime your pump sessions with a few ounces of milk and let your body get used to what you are doing before you start pumping a bigger volume.
Why Is It So Hard to Increase Your Breastmilk Supply?
There are a lot of misconceptions about breastfeeding and pumping out there, and a lot of them may be holding you back from increasing your milk supply. Some of the biggest ones include:
- You don’t need to pump.
- Breastmilk is best for your baby.
- Breastfeeding hurts.
Pumping does require effort, but it’s not nearly as hard as people make it out to be. Pumping is actually an incredibly calming activity that can help you deal with any letdown issues you may be experiencing. Pumping also helps increase your supply in a few different ways:
- It increases your supply as a whole. If you are pumping, then you are producing more milk than you would if you were only breastfeeding (which can help you overcome the pain of engorgement).
- It helps increase your milk supply for each pumping session. You’ll get more milk out if you do less work, so pumping for longer periods of time can help you reap the benefits of pumping more often.
- It helps you get used to pumping. If you are pumping a few ounces and letting your body get used to what you’re doing, you’ll be less overwhelmed when you start pumping a higher volume.
Fixing the Root Cause: The 6 Stages of a Newborn Cow
As a new mom, you’ve likely experienced the exhilaration and pain of childbirth. In addition to the physical challenges of pushing a baby out, many women report being incredibly sore afterward. After a difficult delivery, you may experience prolonged and painful engorgement, where your milk won’t let down even after an extended pumping session. Engorgement can be a frustrating problem for breastfeeding moms, but it doesn’t have to hold you back from increasing your milk supply. There are a few things you can do to decrease the pain and increase your milk supply during engorgement:
- Pump more often – If your engorgement is due to an inability to let down milk, then pumping more often is your best bet. You can also try pumping for longer periods if you have a hand pump or electric pumping machine.
- Position yourself comfortably – Engorgement comes from the buildup of milk in your breasts, not your nipples. If they are too tight, they hurt more when you touch them because they are so sensitive. Laying down with a pillow between your breasts can help.
- Eat more protein – Protein is key for milk production, so adding protein-rich foods such as eggs, chicken, cheese, almonds, and turkey is a great way to increase your milk supply during engorgement.
Ways To Support an Increase in Breast Milk
There are a few ways to support an increase in breast milk production.
- The most direct way is to pump more often and keep track of your supply.
- Another way is to eat protein-rich foods like eggs, chicken, cheese, and turkey which increase your milk supply.
- Other great ways to add protein include almonds, Greek yogurt, nuts, beans, and seeds.
- A final way is to drink a glass of milk with each pumping session to prime your body for the extra work.
Breastfeeding is an incredible experience, and it can be a real challenge to produce enough milk for each feeding. However, this can be overcome with a little effort. By following these tips, you can increase your milk supply and enjoy the benefits that come with breastfeeding for as long as you want. From increased confidence as a new mom to better nutrition for your baby, breastfeeding can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
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