Breastfeeding is one of the most stressful moments for new moms. Some mothers have an abundant supply of breast milk after giving birth, and some are struggling to produce this liquid gold. That is why new mothers must know how to increase breast milk supply after delivery. This is to make sure that they get to provide the right amount of milk their baby needs for growth and development.
Why is Breast Milk Important?
There are a lot of important benefits in breast milk that will not only be important during infanthood but will also be carried over through early adulthood. Some of the most important benefits of breast milk include:
- Necessary nutrients in the exact proportion based on what the infant needs.
- It boosts the newborns’ immune system keeping them from allergies, illnesses, infections, and other diseases.
- Breast milk helps with the growth and development of an infant’s brain.
- It is easily digested, which prevents the newborn from experiencing constipation, diarrhea, and an upset stomach.
- It produces the right nutrients that perfectly caters to the child’s needs. The nutrients in breast milk change and adapt as the child grows.
What Causes Low Milk Supply?
Not all mothers can produce breast milk right after delivery. Some mothers get anxious since they think they do not have enough milk to give their children. But what is really causing this problem? Before we dive into ways on how to increase breast milk supply after delivery, let us first discuss what causes low milk supply.
Different factors result in low breast milk supply, such as:
- Premature birth and cesarean delivery
- Severe postpartum hemorrhage or bleeding
- Pieces of the placenta remain in the uterus
- High blood pressure, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism, diabetes, and obesity
- Previous breast surgeries that have cut or damaged milk ducts or milk-making nerves
- Mammary hypoplasia or insufficient glandular tissue (IGT)
- Use of certain medications
- Not breastfeeding or pumping frequently
- Baby has tongue-tie
- Poor or ineffective latch even if the mother experiences sore nipples or not
- Flat or inverted nipples
- Changes in feeding schedule
- Supplementing the child with formula and a pacifier instead of a direct latch
- Vices such as drinking alcohol and smoking
How to Boost Milk Supply?
As a new mom, you can get help and advice from other mothers and nurses. However, there are different tips and tricks available on how to increase breast milk supply after delivery.
Breastfeed or pump more frequently
Frequently nursing your newborn for as long as your baby wants to nurse can help boost your milk supply. Direct latching stimulates the breasts to produce more milk, thus increasing your breast milk production. But, if you are a working mom and you still want to commit to exclusive breast milk feeding, then you need to express milk more often. This stimulates your breasts to continue producing milk even if your baby is not directly feeding on you.
Nurse your newborn for about 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. If you are expressing milk, it is best if you follow the nursing schedule of newborns when they are exclusively breastfeeding. Double-pumping or pumping both breasts at the same time will help stimulate your glandular tissues.
There are natural foods that new moms can include in their diet to improve their milk supply. Fenugreek seeds contain hormones that help increase milk production. You can make fenugreek tea or use it as an ingredient for lactation treats such as cookies and muffins. If you do not like the taste of fenugreek as a raw ingredient, you can also take it as supplements.
If you experience low milk supply after delivery, the best and most common solution to your problem is malunggay. Malunggay or moringa is a popular superfood in the Philippines. It has a wide array of benefits, which include doubling a mother’s breast milk supply. There are a lot of malunggay recipes you can do at home, such as malunggay and corn soup, or can just boil its leaves and make tea.
Exclusively breastfeed your child as much as possible
The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages mothers around the world to breastfeed their babies for 6 months to achieve the optimal growth, development, and overall health of their infants. Exclusive breastfeeding is the most common way to increase milk supply after delivery.
When you are breastfeeding, avoid introducing other means of giving milk to your babies, such as using bottles or pacifiers. Using these will confuse your baby resulting in poor latching or no latching at all. When your baby refuses to directly feed on your breasts, then a decrease in milk supply will most likely happen.
According to a study, sufficient fluid intake is essential for mothers to maintain their maternal health. However, excessive consumption of fluids that are more than what your body actually needs will only cause discomfort and will affect your breast milk supply.
Drinking water is needed when you are breastfeeding since breast milk is composed of more than 80% water. That is why it is normal if you feel thirsty after every feeding. But keep in mind not to drink more than what you need.
Get help from professionals
If you already tried everything but unfortunately your milk supply still is not doing well, then it is time for you to ask help from professionals.
Lactation consultants are medical professionals who specialize in breastfeeding. Lactation consultants will not only give advice on how to breastfeed, but they can also teach you ways on how you can increase your milk supply. They can also assist you if you are struggling with breastfeeding due to postpartum depression.
Milk supply is one of the most common struggles of new mothers. It can be worrying, frustrating, and in some cases, depressing. However, not being able to supply milk for your child, does not mean you will not be a great mother. Always remember that if you’re having trouble increasing your milk supply, help is always there for you.
If you feel frustrated, talk to your partner or other mothers. Getting help from professionals is also one of the best ways for you to overcome this challenge.
Learn more about Breastfeeding here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.