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How to Increase Breast Milk Supply

A common worry of most mothers is whether they are producing enough milk for their babies. Breastfeeding is important for both the baby as well as the mother. It is extremely important for the baby as breast milk meets all its nutritional requirements, and also provides a number of immunological and developmental benefits that it carries throughout its life. The benefits for mothers include reduced risk of breast cancer and the uterus returning to its pre-pregnancy size. Milk production in a mother’s breast is nature’s way of providing for the newborn. With this fact in mind, it is only logical to understand that nursing the baby is the best way to ensure continuous and increased breast milk supply.

Go for Frequent Feeding: Try to breastfeed your baby more frequently. How frequent this should be depends upon the age of the child. However, if it is a one month old baby, try to feed it every two hours. Even if the baby is sleeping, wake it up for a feed.

Nurse Longer: Do not decide the feeding time of your baby on each breast. Let your baby finish feeding on one breast. When it seems satisfied, switch to the other side. This will help the baby drink the fat rich hindmilk which is supplied as a result of the milk-ejection reflex.

Feeding Techniques: There are some useful feeding techniques, which, if followed, helps in increasing breast milk. Try switch nursing. This works best for those babies who feed slowly or tend to fall asleep during feeds. As the name suggests, switch nursing refers to changing the breast offered to the baby. This should be done as soon as the baby enters the ‘comfort phase’ of sucking the mother’s milk or seems to drift into sleep. Quickly changing the breast at such moments would re-establish the baby’s interest in sucking the breast. This will ensure longer breastfeeding sessions, and hence, is an effective way of increasing supply naturally.

Massage Your Breasts: Baby feeding also helps in the massage of the mother’s breast. This increases breast milk production. Emulate this kneading action by massaging your breast while taking a shower or in the bath. Do this periodically throughout the day. This would signal to your body that the baby is feeding, and milk production would increase accordingly.

Diet: Studies suggest that nursing mothers require almost 500 calories extra everyday. So lactating women who are keen to go on a diet to lose the extra pounds that they gained during pregnancy, should be careful about what they eat and what they rule out of their menu. Lack of enough energy-rich food will leave them tired and in want of energy required for milk production. Avoid too much of caffeine. Although it stimulates milk production, it also stimulates the baby as it enters its system through the mother’s milk. Nursing mothers should also check their soda intake.

Fluid Intake: It is important for a nursing mother to keep herself hydrated. You don’t have to gulp down gallons of water. Just ensure that you have eight to ten glasses of water daily on an average. As long as your urine is clear and you do not suffer from constipation, everything is fine. Some even suggest that drinking milk would increase milk production in a lactating mother, However, no conclusive evidence about this correlation has yet been obtained. Drinking fresh juice should just be as effective as drinking milk as far as milk production in concerned.

Herbs: Although there is no scientific evidence to prove that herbs aid in increasing breast milk production, some herbs are believed to have such properties. Fenugreek might be the answer. Some women also have faith in milk thistle.

Other than these, using breastfeeding pumps, and proper rest and relaxation also ensures proper milk production in nursing mothers.

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