Low milk supply is a challenge that any breastfeeding mother could face. It can be caused by biological, physical, psychological and functional factors.
Mount Elizabeth Hospital’s lactation consultant, Ms Loh Lee Lian, provide 12 helpful tips on how to increase milk supply.
1. Nurse your newborn within an hour after birth and maintain as much skin-to-skin contact as possible because a baby feeds well when he is warm.
2. When the baby is breastfeeding well, there is demand and thus milk supply will follow.
3. Rooming-in day and night enables a mother to respond to a baby’s hunger cues and to feed frequently to maintain supply.
4. Feed your baby on demand and not on a schedule or fixed timing. Your baby should be fed based on hunger cues and demands, as the appetite varies with each feed. Frequent unlimited feeding stimulates your body to produce more milk and effective removal of milk helps to prevent stagnation and breast engorgement.
5. Encourage milk letdown and flow by massaging your breasts and applying warmth to the breasts before nursing.
6. Establish a good position and correct latching techniques to ensure effective milk transfer during suckling.
7. Avoid bottles, pacifiers or nipples shields in the first few weeks, unless absolutely necessary.
8. Avoid milk formula unless medically indicated.
9. Nursing mothers should eat a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet, as 500 calories more are needed daily to produce breast milk.
10. A mother needs to be sufficiently hydrated to maintain milk supply. Take plenty of fluids.
11. Support and encouragement from family members on breastfeeding and with sufficient rest and sleep in-between will provide positive emotional well-being and thus influence good milk production.
12. Taking breast milk supplements or Galactogoques may help to increase milk flow. Examples of herbal supplements that may help are Fennel Tea, Fenugreek capsules, Blessed Thistle tea. These can be bought off the counter. Doctors may also prescribe medication such as Domperidone and Metoclopromide.
To avoid any breastfeeding problems, do see a lactation consultant to ensure that position and latching is done correctly from the start, to avoid nipple sucking. This will ensure that the baby is removing milk effectively at each nursing session.
By Ms Loh Lee Lian
Mount Elizabeth Hospital
Ms Loh Lee Lian is a registered nurse and midwife who has more than 25 years of experience in maternity care.
This article is part of Breastfeeding with Love campaign, initiated by The New Age Parents and New Age Pregnancy.
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