It’s every new breastfeeding mum’s fear: low milk supply. But what exactly is low milk supply and what can you do about it?
What is low milk supply?
The Royal Women’s Hospital defines low milk supply as being insufficient “breast milk being produced to meet [your] baby’s growth needs”. It is very common- especially for new mothers- to worry about whether they are producing enough milk for their baby, and many women who have stopped breastfeeding say that it was because they “didn’t produce enough milk” for their baby.
In reality, most mothers do produce enough milk to meet the needs of their baby.
There are obviously some genuine cases of low milk supply, but often these are temporary situations that can be overcome with the appropriate support.
Generally, if your baby is gaining weight well and is mostly contented, then you probably do not have a problem with low milk supply.
Tricks to increase low milk supply
Breastfeeding is very much a case of supply and demand. The absolute key to avoiding low milk supply is to make sure that the breasts are frequently stimulated and completely emptied. Here are some other things that you can do to ensure that you are keeping your supply up:
- Plenty of skin-to-skin time
Especially during feeding time, having your baby against your skin, wearing only their nappy, can help with the release of hormones that are involved in breastmilk production and milk letdown. It can also help with keeping them awake during their feeding time.
- Feed frequently, and on-demand
This is particularly important in the early days whilst you are establishing your milk supply. Aiming to feed at least around every 2-3 hours will help you to avoid low milk supply. If your baby is showing signs of wanting to feed more frequently, then allow them.
- Go back for seconds
Otherwise known as switch-feeding, this is when you offer one breast to your baby, and then when they are looking sleepy or no longer swallowing frequently, switch them over to the other breast. You then repeat this process on both breasts. This will help to make sure that both breasts are emptied completely, triggering the brain to release the hormones that cause your breast to produce more breastmilk.
Power pumping is a great way to mimic cluster feeding (when your baby feeds very frequently during growth spurts in an effort to increase your milk supply). The aim is to pump frequently within a set period of time, triggering the release of hormones that produce more breastmilk.
You can also use your pump to express after breastfeeding your baby, to ensure that you have completely drained your breasts.
When you’re breastfeeding, your body has an extra requirement for water. Make sure that you’re drinking 2L of water at a very minimum will help you to stay hydrated and avoid low milk supply due to dehydration.
- Grab some cookies
This is where Sweet Graze comes in to help with low milk supply! Our cookies are jam-packed full of nourishing, lactogenic ingredients. These are foods that are proven to support and boost breastmilk production.
How do Sweet Graze lactation cookies help with low milk supply?
We are here to support you, whether you have low milk supply, or you just want to keep your supply up and avoid having low milk supply. Our cookies come in a variety of flavours. We also have gluten free and vegan lactation cookies options, so there’s something for everyone. All our cookies come individually heat-sealed for freshness and convenience, so you can take them anywhere for a wholesome and delicious snack.
I still think I have low milk supply…
If you’ve already tried some of the tips above and you still suspect that you might have low milk supply, we recommend that you seek the advice of a professional. An IBCLC (certified lactation consultant) can make an assessment of your breasts and overall health (looking for things like insufficient glandular tissue, mastitis or blocked ducts), and also check that your baby doesn’t have any oral issues (such as a tongue or lip tie) that might be preventing them from feeding efficiently.
The take-home message:
It’s completely normal to worry about low milk supply. Most new mothers do. Nourish your body with wholesome food and beneficial snacks (like Sweet Graze lactation cookies!) and stay hydrated. Feed your baby on demand and make sure your breasts are stimulated and drained frequently and effectively. If you still think you have a problem, seek the advice of a health professional.
The information contained in this blog regarding low milk supply is for educational purposes only. We do not intend to diagnose, prevent or treat any health conditions. This information is not intended to be taken as general or medical advice. If you have considered our tips but still believe that you may have low milk supply, we will always recommend that you seek the advice of an IBCLC or your trusted medical professional.