One of the most common fears about breastfeeding is the shortage of breast milk. Here we present our ways to increase lactation.
Substantive consultation: Dr Agata Serwatowska-Bargieł, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Neonatologist
The vast majority of women are able to breastfeed their babies. Perhaps the fear that your baby is not fed enough is not justified.
Everything is fine if:
It is often said that “milk has its beginning in the mother's head”. Your faith in yourself and motivation are the most important factors of successful breastfeeding. The rest of the obstacles are usually overcome when the mother is convinced of breastfeeding and when she is ready to face the hardships.
Stress is one of the worst enemies of breastfeeding. Try to eliminate the sources of stress, and if it is impossible - learn to live with it and look for an antidote. Find some time during the day for your favourite activities, e.g. do some breathing exercises, read or take a walk. Get away from stressful thoughts. Before breastfeeding, remember to have a good attitude.
Such a recommendation may sound like a cruel joke when you are the mother of an infant. However, take every opportunity to take a nap and a short break.
Fatigue and frustration certainly will not help to maintain a high level of lactation. Whenever you can - get help. Ask your mother, partner or friend to take the baby for a walk or help with cleaning. Take advantage of this time to rest, take a nap or relax.
Pay attention to whether the baby properly grasps the breast and sucks, and consequently, whether the breasts are properly stimulated. Look for a position in which the baby sucks most effectively and empties the breast.
Feed whenever your baby wants it and latch your baby when you feel the need. The more you feed, the more food your body will produce to adapt to the baby's needs.
Night feeding, though sometimes bothersome, is largely responsible for the appropriate level of lactation. At night, prolactin concentration in the blood is the highest and the higher the level of this hormone, the higher the level of lactation.
Try to give your baby milk from both breasts during each feeding. Thanks to this your body will get information that it must increase milk production.
Do not allow your baby to fall asleep while breastfeeding. Try to gently tickle the baby on the cheek to eat more. If the baby does not empty the breasts, use a breast pump. It stimulates the body to produce milk.
If possible, do not supplement breast milk with formula. Each portion of infant formula is a missed opportunity to stimulate lactation. When considering supplementation, consult a trusted doctor and do not make a decision hastily - only when it really becomes necessary.
A naturally fed baby does not need anything to drink. The food is both the drink and the meal. If it's extremely hot, just latch your baby more often. The first milk is always a little more watery and quenches the baby's thirst.
Several times during breastfeeding there may be a moment when mom suddenly feels that she has less milk; the baby would like to be at her breasts non-stop and still seems hungry. If you experience this, you probably have a lactation crisis. The baby develops, grows, and its needs related to nutrition also increase. Milk supply must adapt to this situation. If you do not give up and tackle the problem properly, after 2 or 3 days the situation will return to normal.
When feeding, diet and nutrients are extremely important, but proper hydration is even more important. During feeding you need more fluids than usual and it is good to supplement them with herbal teas, which enhance lactation. Check on the packaging the daily amount of infusion recommended by the manufacturer.
If the child does not empty the breast completely or you feel that you need additional stimulation, use a breast pump. It happens that your baby falls asleep while feeding and it is difficult for you to wake it up, or the baby is sleepy and irritable and it does not want to eat. In that case, express the rest of the milk, which will additionally stimulate lactation.
Are you thinking about choosing a breast pump? Read our article: Manual or electric breast pump? Check what kind of breast pump is right for you.
If these ways to increase the amount of milk do not work - consult a lactation advisor, who will help you determine the cause of insufficient lactation and give advice and help. It may be necessary to use pharmacological preparations that stimulate milk production.
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