I Did Not Know My Breasts Could Do That! (12 Quick Tips to Boost Milk Supply)

“Holy moly, those are bigger than your baby’s head!” my sister exclaimed while looking at my ginormous breasts as I held my first newborn boy. My husband was happily shocked at their size — I was in complete disbelief. How could my breasts get that big? I went from a 32C to, oh my word, jugs galore! I had glazed over the part about milk production in all the books I’d read and in advice I’d heard from fellow moms — I probably should have been more focused.

The human body is truly amazing. I was blessed to have been able to produce so much milk as I nursed both my boys. I nursed my first until 14 months and my second until 9 months. I would nurse every three hours or so during the newborn phase. They were hungry, growing boys! My youngest did not sleep through the night until he was 1 year old. He was hungry every two hours. I was working full time, pumping during the workday.

But not everyone has such an easy time producing sufficient milk for their little ones. So what can you do to help your milk production?

Hydrate!

Dehydration leads to less milk. Always have a water bottle with you. Eat foods naturally rich in water like vegetables and fruit.

Feed on demand

Breastfeeding as much as possible also boosts your supply. Increased frequency of pumping and milk draining will let your body know that more milk is needed on a regular basis!

Get plenty of sleep

This is easier said than done when you have a newborn, but even a 10-minute power nap helps. Nap when you can — especially when baby sleeps.

Eat whole, real foods

Get plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Your body may need up to an additional 300-500 calories per day when you are breastfeeding exclusively.

Manage your stress

Lower stress levels can improve your let-down reflex, which releases milk into your milk ducts. Tap into help from family and friends for household tasks and overall life help. Relaxed, deep breathing during feeding helps calm mama.

Limit/avoid alcohol and avoid smoking

Studies show even one beer or glass of wine can interfere with your let-down reflex and overall milk supply.  

Practice power pumping

Pump in between feeding sessions or continue to pump after the last drops of milk have been expressed.

Check your form

Be sure you are comfortable in your posture, using a nursing pillow to prop up your baby to latch on. Relax your shoulder down and back on the breastfeeding side.

Breastfeed on demand

Or, nurse more often if baby is not very demanding.

Feed on both sides

Switch up and offer both breasts at one feeding, especially if the baby is tired and falls asleep too quickly.

Count your feedings

Make sure the frequency of nursing is enough (8-12 times every 24 hours and at least every three hours at night when baby is brand new).

Check your medications and supplements

Some antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, weight-loss pills, and contraceptives containing estrogen may reduce your milk supply. Talk to your doctor about alternative meds.

My husband still jokes about the endless bags of breastmilk I kept in the freezer. “We should start a company — it’s like a breast milk factory!” But of course there are women who cannot produce enough to feed their babies. If you are curious about donating or receiving, check out the organizations below.

Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast
La Leche League International
Human Milk Banking Association of North America
Boston Children’s Hospital
Mass General

Kim Raubenheimer grew up in Franklin, Massachusetts and lives in Belmont with her husband and two busy teen boys. Kim has been passionate about Health & Wellness since she was in her early 20's. Now in her mid-50's, Kim has an abundance of knowledge from her personal journey and numerous certifications which she’s eager to share (especially with Moms!).  Kim started Your Health Sense in 2001, a Nutrition and Fitness Coaching business, while working full-time as a Print Producer and raising two boys.  Kim understands the challenges of maintaining self-care and now juggles her Nutrition and Fitness business while being a Mom and working part-time for her husband's Managed Services IT company as the Hiring and Compliance manager.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here