If you’re a breastfeeding mother, your milk supply is always on your mind! And while some moms are blessed with the perfect amount of breastmilk to feed their babies, at some point most of us are left wondering how do I increase my milk supply and how long will it take?
Generally speaking, here’s a typical feeding schedule:
- 1 month old: 2-4 ounces, six to eight times per day
- 2 months old: 5-6 ounces, five to six times per day
- 3-5 months old: 6-7 ounces, five to six times per day
- 6-12 months old: 7-8 ounces, four to six times per day, plus increasing amounts of solid food
How do I know if I have low milk supply?
If you’re breastfeeding exclusively, it may not always be obvious if your baby is getting the milk they need. Babies typically lose weight immediately after birth. Around day 10, they should return to their birth weight and gain 4-7 ounces per week after that. If they aren’t gaining enough weight, it’s possible that milk supply might be low.
If you notice your baby seems constipated, has deeply colored urine, or is fussy after feedings, low milk supply may play a role. Talk to your health care provider, pediatrician or lactation expert if you are concerned that you’re not producing enough milk, or if your baby’s weight gain is slower than expected. However, if it is deemed that low milk supply is the problem, don’t fret! There are some steps you can take!
How to pump more milk
The fastest way to increase your milk supply is to breastfeed or breast pump more often. Here are tips to make your efforts more productive and successful:
- When you are breastfeeding, ensure that your baby has a good latch. When breast pumping, make sure you have properly fitting flanges
- Ensure each breast is drained during feedings or pumping sessions. If you are breastfeeding and your baby stops feeding after one breast, use your breast pump to drain the other.
- Apply a warm compress to your breasts before each pumping or breastfeeding session.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as compressing your breasts can slow milk production.
- Use a breast pump between breastfeeding sessions. The more you drain your breasts of milk, the more milk they will produce. Some moms like to use a silicone breast pump to catch letdown and draw more milk while breastfeeding.
- Try "Power Pumping."
- Eat foods considered to be galactagogues (meaning they increase your milk supply). Not sure what these are? Look no further for a list and some great recipes.
- Give yourself plenty of TLC. Drink lots of water. Rest. And try not to stress out! (Easier said than done.)
How long will it take for my milk supply to increase?
Most moms will see their milk supply stabilize around the 12-week mark. It may come earlier or later (kind of like that due date!), but you should know what to expect from your milk supply around then.
One of the fastest ways to increase milk supply is using your breast pump in between feeding sessions. If you don’t have a breast pump yet, you can qualify for one through your insurance (often at no cost to you). After you begin additional pumping sessions, you may begin to see an increase of milk in as soon as 3-5 days.
As always, when in doubt, contact the professionals. Reach out to your physician and/or lactation consultant. They’ll be able to provide you with the answers and resources you’ll need to ensure your baby has a full tummy.
Let 1 Natural Way join your prenatal and postpartum team! We are committed to helping new moms with many of their postpartum needs by providing insurance-covered breast pumps, breastfeeding supplies, pregnancy support bands, compression stockings and postpartum recovery garments, as well as fully covered sessions with a lactation consultant.
Begin the process of qualifying for some - or all! - of these items at no cost to you through your insurance.