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Ah, breastfeeding! The natural connection between you and your baby can sometimes be so hard! Find out how to increase breast milk supply fast in this article!
When I was pregnant with Ollie, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about if I would or wouldn’t breastfeed him. If it came naturally, I would. If not, I wouldn’t.
That is until my son was born prematurely. You see, a lot of preemie moms feel a lot of different things, but there is one thing that most moms feel in common: helpless. There are only three things I felt like I could do for my baby during his first weeks: giving him my milk (which had special benefits for him as a preemie), being there every possible second, and talking to him so that he could hear my voice.
So breastfeeding suddenly became very important in our lives. I was convinced to give it my all! There was just one tiny problem.
I didn’t have enough breastmilk to supply my son’s needs. In fact, I got a few drops each time I pumped!
I was only pumping, so it was more difficult for the milk to come without the natural suction of my newborn. But I wasn’t ready to give up!
My lactation consultant, to whom I’ll be eternally grateful, gave me gold advice to increase my breastmilk supply in a weekend.
It worked! I got from zero to producing so much I was able to donate milk!
Here are the exact things I did. I hope they help you as much as they helped me!
How to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply… Fast!
Hydration is the most important habit when it comes to increasing your breast milk supply, after all, breastmilk is 88% water.
And, if your body isn’t sending enough water to your breasts, they simply can’t make milk. They don’t have the main ingredient!
But don’t overdo it. If you drink too much water, your body will lose electrolytes and will try to balance the electrolyte count through your urine. This effectively detours the water from your breasts.
So many mommies have asked me why isn’t their milk production increasing when they are drinking soooo much water… This is the answer. You don’t want to drink too much water. And, you want to replenish your electrolytes, too. But we’ll get to that one later.
So how much water should you drink? It depends on your body weight, but a good rule of thumb is to drink 8 to 10 glasses of 8 oz per day.
If you want to do it my way, I carried around a 32 oz water bottle everywhere I went. I would drink 32 oz in the morning, 32 oz in the afternoon, and then some more in the evening (depending on how thirsty I was).
I liked this particular bottle because I could keep my water cool throughout the day.
Another gold advice from my lactation consultant.
This is one of those hidden tips on how to increase breast milk supply… overnight!
I was so busy waking up to pump, registering my output, and being a mom to a preemie in the NICU, that I forgot one thing.
I completely forgot to sleep.
So during the weekend that kickstarted my milk supply, I slept! I just didn’t wake up to pump at 3 am, and I added one nap in the afternoon (much to my chagrin, since it meant that I would be spending less time with my son in the NICU).
It worked! Just by increasing my water intake and sleeping I could see my breast milk production also increasing instantly!
Yes, instantly, this wasn’t a wait-a-week-and-see thing. I went literally from 3 drops to almost a complete bottle in the next pumping session.
Of course, the rest of the tips my lactation consultant gave were also very significant in my milk increase. And made it permanent!
Whether you’re exclusively nursing, exclusive pumping, or mixing both methods, having a power pumping routine will send your body a great message: “Let’s produce more milk because our baby needs it!”.
Don’t expect your milk to flow like the river when you power pump, in fact, you probably won’t produce any more milk… at first.
The idea behind power pumping is to trick your boobies, make them think that your little one is going through a growth spurt.
When babies go through growth spurs, they want more milk, so they try to suck more milk! Mommies bodies do their best to keep up and start producing more milk almost immediately.
And babies grow!
So, how do you power pump?
Power pump takes commitment, but remember, it’s only for a couple of days! You’ll need one full hour to do this.
Wait 30 minutes after your baby’s done the feeding, and then:
- Pump for 20 minutes
- Rest for 10 minutes
- Pump for 10 minutes
- Rest for 10 minutes
- Pump for 10 minutes
No cheating, you need to do the whole pumping routine. However, don’t get your nipples raw trying to power pump, just do it a couple of times a day and you’ll be fine!
If you don’t have a pump yet, I suggest you get a double electric pump. I’m partial to Medela, I tried a lot of pumps back in my day (including hospital grade pumps) and Medela always came through for me.
This is a practical, good, Medela pump, that will also work for pumping on the go. Click here to buy the Medela Freestyle.
Express Manually Under Warm Water
When you take a shower and under warm water, empty your boobies manually.
Make rid of all the tiny knots you have, and get your breasts good and ready for the day (or the night).
Manually expressing under warm water stimulates healthy milk flow and helps you avoid clogging.
You’ll be producing so much milk after this weekend, you’ll want to avoid any clogged ducts!
Don’t know how to manually express? Here’s where my next tip comes in handy.
Learn Everything! (And Understand What Causes a Decrease in Milk Production)
I had a lactation consultant by my side every day.
I saw her several times a day, and she taught me so much that I was super ready when I got to go home with my son.
Now, remember I had this daily access because I had to go visit my son in the hospital every day for his first month and a half. Probably this isn’t your case (if it is, stay strong, mama!).
So, how do you learn everything without going to the hospital every day?
Stacey, a wonderful lactation consultant, created this amazing, inexpensive course called: The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class.
She knows all things breastfeeding and you’ll learn all of the possible reasons for your low milk supply, as well as the correct techniques for expressing your milk.
Among, of course, lots of other things. Things like understanding when your baby is drinking enough milk, or what are the right latching positions, or the solutions to the most common breastfeeding problems.
Have a breastfeeding question? Stacey’s got your back!
Give Your Body Electrolytes!
Remember when I rambled about keeping your electrolyte balance?
Ok, so what if you had an extra intake of electrolytes so that you wouldn’t lose water through your urine? What if there was a way to give your body electrolytes for it to send the water to your boobies?
You can take an electrolyte supplement with your water, and help your body maintain the balance without your milk supply having to suffer the consequences!
This is why people say you should drink Gatorade while breastfeeding, and, although the occasional Gatorade wouldn’t hurt, I wouldn’t rely on it as a breast milk increase strategy.
Think about what’s in a Gatorade. Sugar (or artificial sweeteners), and food dyes such as yellow #5 which derives from petroleum!
I’m no expert in nutrition but I don’t think a newborn should be drinking any of those. And when we breastfeed, whatever we eat gets to our babies!
Which is why I’m recommending this plant-based electrolyte supplement. No sugar, no additives, as natural as it can get!
Nothing new here. Just have a balanced diet low on sugar, carbs, and fats and you’ll do just fine!
Take Care of Your Boobies
Your boobies go through a lot during your pregnancy.
Take good care of them!
My nipples were raw, my breasts were sore, and my baby was hungry! So I rushed to feed him and forgot about… me!
But being comfortable with breastfeeding is really important, and most people overlook it! So pamper yourself a little bit! Surprisingly, one of the most sustainable ways to increase breast milk supply is to just be comfortable and emotionally stable about breastfeeding!
Don’t forget to use your nipple cream every time you pump or nurse your baby. You can use Lansinoh, or, even better, Earth Mama’s organic butter.
I also love these booby tubes.
Cool them and wear them between your breasts after breastfeeding, or warm them and wear them around 30 minutes before breastfeeding. It’ll keep your boobies warm and your milk will flow better!
Track your Progress
There are two main schools of thought. Either you keep by a strict schedule or you feed your baby when she or he is hungry.
I did the second one.
After Ollie left NICU, it was near impossible to maintain a strict schedule, so we let him eat whenever he was feeling hungry.
What I did do was keep track of all my pumping sessions and breastfeeding sessions.
Here are a couple of trackers I made based on the needs of breastfeeding moms!
It’s important to know how much milk you’re expressing to understand your production curve.
This way you can detect possible decreases in production before they happen, or track increases and understand what you did right.
Let There Be Milk
Some moms swear by these Let There Be Milk drops.
They are a combination of herbs with fenugreek seeds, which have been proven to increase breastmilk production in most women.
In fact, fenugreek seeds have been used since Ancient times in China to improve breastmilk production.
However, these are not magic drops, and you should use them occasionally, relying on all the other steps for a true, sustainable increase in your breast milk supply.
That’s a Wrap
What are your tips and tricks on how to increase breast milk supply fast? Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments below!
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