Questions parents have: How can I ensure an abundant milk supply?
Over the next few posts I will try and answers some common questions most parents, who come to the Breastfeeding Clinic, have ;-).
How can I ensure an abundant milk supply?
In a previous BLOG post I spoke about successful breastfeeding = lots of milk + good latch from baby + confident mother + all in a basket of support. Bear with me now ;-), lots of milk (a good milk production) = sufficient glandular tissue + intact nerve pathways & ducts (your breast anatomy plays a role here) + adequate hormones & hormone receptors (your physiology plays a role here) + adequate frequent, effective milk removal & stimulation (here mom & baby are role-players). So let us say all is fine regarding the aforementioned, what can you do to ensure an abundant supply? As I also mentioned in a previous BLOG post: For the best start in breastfeeding, try having a natural birth ;-), feed as soon after birth as baby is ready and stay in Skin-To-Skin contact with baby for as long as possible, until breastfeeding is going well.
To facilitate feeding, room-in with your baby for the first 6 weeks to 6 months. This means let your baby sleep in your room 24/7 as this facilitates breastfeeding and is associated with a shorter time to effective latch, increased milk supply and longer duration of the breastfeeding relationship.(2)
Research shows the more milk removed from your breasts / the more baby feeds during the early days, the more milk you will make by the time you go home from the hospital,(1) and to top it off; milk production on day 6 is significantly associated with milk production at week 6. Also if you remember from a previous post: “the single most important factor in establishing successful breastfeeding is the volume of milk produced in the first one to two weeks postpartum”. You will have a lot of milk in the first two weeks or so, until your body has figured out what baby needs / asks for, and then the supply start to settle. We always say it is much easier to bring down a high supply than to build up a low supply. So FEED, FEED, FEED! Remove the milk from your breasts a MINIMUM of 8 times during a 24 hour period in these early days and weeks to ensure an abundant milk supply.
Get help sooner than later. Come to the Breastfeeding Clinic for a post-discharge weigh-in (don’t worry we will be weighing your baby, not you ;-), at least with-in two days of discharge and have baby’s latch checked so we can see that things are going well.
1. Chen, D. C., Nommsen-Rivers, L., Dewey, K. G. & Lonnerdal, B. (1998) Stress during labor and delivery and early lactation performance. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 68:335-344. Kent JC, Mitoulas LR, Cregan MD, Ramsay DT, Doherty DA, Hartmann PE. Volume and frequency of breastfeeds and fat content of breast milk throughout the day. Pediatrics 2006;117:e387–95. Cox DB, Owens RA, Hartmann PE. Blood and milk prolactin and the rate of milk synthesis in women. Exp Physiol 1996; 81:1007–20.