Top 5 Breastfeeding Tips to Overcome Low Milk Supply

Breastfeeding tipsWhy is my baby unsettled and fussy? Am I feeding enough? Am I doing it right? Most of us worry that we are not making enough milk for our babies. It is also a good idea to check their nappies – is there at least 5 heavy, wet nappies in 24 hours? Did your baby poo? Does your baby also seem to be gaining weight?

It’s really tough when you are hard pressed on feeding your baby and yet not much seems to come out. Here are 5 tips you can do to overcome the pain and pacify your hungry baby.

1. Feed often


Forget about routines since you are after all building your supply. Happily feed your baby every 2-4 hours. This may be challenging at the start, but trust me, it gets better eventually.

Do not rush when feeding. Your baby will let go once they’ve had enough. After they’re done with one breast, offer the other one as well. And then check if they are still unsettled. If they are done with their “entree” and “main course”, they might also want some “dessert”. This may happen after an hour or so. A top-up feed may be all they need, so put them to your breast for a short feed.

At some point where your breasts feel softer after a few months, take note that this does not equate to low milk supply. Your body has simply adjusted to the right amount of milk needed by your baby. So, DO NOT stop breastfeeding. Continue to breastfeed to maintain your supply.

2. Pump when you can


If you can’t be with your baby every meal time, you can feed them expressed milk. This is good when you want to rest and have dad have a go at feeding, when you want to go on a date, or even when you need to return to work.

Express milk regularly before or after direct feeding, when your breasts have not been drained, or when you are away. You can choose between a manual or electric pump, and do not forget to store your milk right away in the freezer. Mark the date, time, and volume of milk in the container very clearly.

Expressed milk can be kept in the fridge for 3-5 days, although personally, I only let it stay there until the next feed. I store it in the freezer, and it can stay there for 3 months (depending on your freezer – as it can be in deep freeze which lasts for 12 months).

3. Be comfortable and relaxed


Use a nursing pillow and think positive thoughts. It also helps to use a rocking chair since babies love the rocking motion (make sure it reclines too!). Sit comfortably. I would also keep a water bottle and burp cloth handy.

I also recommend music to help both you and your baby. Play lullabies and sing a few tunes. You can definitely use this time to calm yourself, enjoy the moment, and simply relax. If you are like me, I keep my mobile phone by my side (on silent mode) so that I can take a few snapshots of my baby. These are precious memories that will be cherished forever.

4. Skin-to-skin contact


While you are both starting your breastfeeding journey, you will find it useful to remove your shirt and bra, as well as your baby’s clothes (leave the nappy – we don’t want any accidents!). And then you can place a soft blanket over both of you.

This helps establish the bond between you and your baby especially at the start. Notice how nurses encourage you to keep doing this. It really, really helps!

Do you know that this will support you in breastfeeding and stimulating brain development in your little one? Having loving interactions with you helps their brain fire up and establish connections. It also reduces their stress and makes your baby happy. Watch out for the positive expression on their face!

5. Establish milk supply especially during the first 6 weeks


Your milk supply stabilises at this time so latch baby when you can. The first few days will be a learning experience both for you and your baby. Hold your baby against your body in a way that feels right for you. Support your baby when they are attached to your breast. When your baby is well attached, it will not hurt.

It was so painful for me at the start and my nipples were so sore. But even if I was in so much pain, I just kept trying. I kept asking for help to be taught the right way to latch. My nurses made sure I got it right before I left the hospital, whew!


Got other tips? Please leave your comments and share your experiences below. We would love to hear what worked for you.

 

16 comments

  1. Geoff says:

    Hi there. We have two boys – 8 and 10 years. Reading this brought me back a bit. My wife did great, but she sure could’ve used some of your insights back then. She would have lots of milk, but it gets plugged up. It was really painful for her. Any recommendations if this happens?

    • Raquel says:

      Hi Geoff. Blocked milk ducts can really be painful. The best way to go about it is to feed your baby often, avoid tight tops that put pressure on your breasts, and gently massage the lump towards the nipple. You can also pump milk or even hand express. Warm showers also help.

  2. Derek Marshall says:

    What a great idea of a website..who would have thought of it! Brilliant. Definitely forwarding this to my Mrs. as she was in short supply at times. Will definitely have her come visit your site and comment on what that herbal Thai stuff was that she used. Perhaps could be of use to some of your readers! All I know is that it is a locally grown bark in Thailand and quite good for both mother and baby.

    • Raquel says:

      Thanks Derek! 🙂 Yes, please do share the information along to your wife. Hopefully I can help. Let me know as well about the herbal remedy she used.

  3. Shelley says:

    I started to strictly pump, and the benefits for me and my family were amazing. I think I even wrote an article on it somewhere.
    Now I’m feeding my second child the same way.

  4. Casey says:

    Milk supply can be such a crazy thing! One minute you feel like you are going to explode, the next minute they are as soft as marshmallows hehe. For me I didn’t bother with routines and fed my baby on demand, it worked great for us and I think that helped regulate the right amount of milk for what my little one needed. Your tips are spot on and ill encourage any new mums to check them out 🙂

    • Raquel says:

      Thanks Casey! Tried routines and while you might not have that much time when you feed on demand, I also do it. Feel free to share this. 🙂

  5. Sonja Bell says:

    Thank you for addressing these issues! I would add under the Feed Often category that feeding every 2-4 hours may not be often enough for some babies! There were times when my little ones would nurse every 30-60 minutes! This is especially helpful if you’re trying to increase milk supply. Also, I had to go back to work part time with my twins, and pumping just once at work is NOT enough to keep up that kind of supply! I had to pump 2-3 times during the work day to keep my supply built up for my days off. The fluctuating back and forth caused issues with mastitis, but take heart, mommas! It can be done! Thank you again for these great tips!

    • Raquel says:

      Thank you for sharing this Sonja! Sharing your own experience is a perfect way to inspire and motivate other moms. 🙂 Mastitis and blocked ducts is something we should watch for. And you’re right with feeding often. The more frequent feeds will increase the amount of milk. Same thing for expressing milk. Supply equals demand. Breastfeeding will colour your life with challenges, but at the end of the day, you know you’ve done your part, and it will give you a sense of fulfillment. Yes mommas, it can definitely be done. 🙂 Don’t lose heart.

  6. theresa291 says:

    Your article was great and very helpful especially if you are first beast feeder. My sister beast feed her children and she would always talk about the process or worry about the baby getting enough milk. I believe if she could have found your article a long time ago it would have made the beast feeding much more enjoyable. Great read. .

    • Raquel says:

      Thanks Theresa! 🙂 You’re right, first time moms would get a kick out of this since its at that point where you pretty much learn along the way. No past experience to bank on, and you tend to discover things on your own. If someone can guide you, that will really help and like you said, make the experience more enjoyable. Feel free to share this article. 🙂

  7. Debra says:

    This is so cute! Your article is extremely informative and helpful. And easy to read too, the way it’s laid out step-by-step, point-by-point. Thanks for putting this together and making this information available to moms! I’m looking forward to reading more on your website. Will you be adding more articles? Thank you!

    • Raquel says:

      Hi Debra. This is great to hear! 🙂 Really do hope that I can help mothers out there through this friendly, supportive environment. Its hard when you have so many questions in your head, and you’re not sure where to turn to. This is just the start and will definitely come up with more. Do let me know if there are specific topics you’d like me to cover. Cheers! 🙂

  8. Ian says:

    Very nice article! I think you are right with these tips, especially about being comfortable and relaxed. I have three children of my own and my wife followed similar advice and she was able to breastfeed with few problems.
    One thing that I thought of when looking at your site, is the stigma around breastfeeding in public. I noticed you have one breastfeeding photo, but maybe you can eventually set up a photo gallery to combat that stigma. It’ll certainly generate attention. 🙂

    • Raquel says:

      Thanks Ian! Glad you found it relevant. 🙂 You’re actually spot-on, was thinking of the same thing last night. Was wondering about breastfeeding in public since there are still some who are not as open-minded about this. Moms, me included, still fall prey to icy stares and weird looks from those nearby even with breastfeeding covers. Its hard since not all areas would have parents’ or nursing rooms, and you definitely need to feed your baby. Will definitely look into your suggestion. 🙂

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