Have you noticed you aren’t getting as much milk as you used to? Are you trying to build up your milk supply and freeze your milk because you’re going to be headed back to work? Do you wish there was something you could do to increase your milk supply? Well we have 6 tried and tested tips that will hopefully give you greater results:
- Use a fully automated dual electronic breast pump. By pumping both breasts simultaneously you can raise the milk supply and save time.
- Pump more frequently instead of pumping for longer durations.
- Massage in circular motions. (using the same pressure you use when you do your monthly breast exam checks)
- Bring photographs or other sensory reminders of your baby. (this will trigger your body into thinking your baby is near and will kick in milk production)
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Continue pumping even after you have all of the milk out. This will send a signal to your body that your baby is still hungry and that next time it needs to make more milk.
Even after you feel like you’ve tried just about everything and nothing seems to be working, don’t worry (easier said than done, right?). Your milk supply will increase but you need to keep calm and relax. Worrying about it will only cause your body to tense up and might actually decrease your milk supply. We don’t want that! Remind yourself that millions and millions of women have gone and are currently going through the exact same thing and you are definitely not alone in this.
If you find it difficult to relax and are really struggling, you can consult a lactation consultant (locate a reputable one through your local hospital) or try some of these relaxation techniques:
Relaxation is key to being able to pump effectively and efficiently. Understandably, relaxing with a breast pump machine attached to your breasts while you’re at work or in any environment that’s not exactly home, is not the most comfortable or easiest thing to do. It’s natural to feel anxious or worry that you’re not producing enough milk.
There are certain things you can try to get your body to relax:
- Essential oils. Bring a personal diffuser. (they also have necklace and bracelet diffusers that allow the essential oils to have direct contact with the skin) Allow yourself to breathe in the oils that have been shown to have stress-reducing properties: Lavender, rosemary, spruce, and cedarwood are just a few.
- Comfortable chair. Having a chair to sit in that allows you to sit back and relax without sacrificing posture—which could hinder the flow of milk is important. You could even bring a cushion to sit on the chair that offers support for your back and neck.
- Drink hot tea. There are many different types of teas on the market that contain herbs that claim to boost milk production, however, specifically for relaxation try blends that contain chamomile, licorice root, lemon balm, or orange peel.
- Soothing sounds. Put together a playlist of songs specifically meant for relaxation or just songs that you really enjoy and put you in a good mood. You could also listen to guided meditations. YouTube has guided meditations by people that specialize in creating relaxing content for their viewers, they are called ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) artists. Popular ASMR artists include GentleWhispering and SpringBokASMR.
Pumping both breasts at the same time has been shown to be helpful to some mothers in boosting their milk supply. Make sure to use a high quality breast pump. (It's very important to get the best breast pump you can. Also, it's important to get a breast pump bag. Our Kaylaa Breast Pump bag fits most portable breast pumps on the market. Before you buy a breast pump bag, make sure you know what to look for for the best breast pump bag).
Pump More Frequently
Instead of pumping 45 minutes at once, try spreading that 45 minutes out. So, pump for 20 minutes, 15 minutes, and then a quick 10 minute session. Pump more frequently but for less durations.
Massage each breast with light-to-moderate pressure starting from the top near the clavicle and working your way down towards the nipples. There is the ‘MSS’ technique which is recommended by many lactation consultants: Massage in circular motions, lightly stroke in a downward motion towards the nipple, and then shake.
To trick your body into thinking your baby is near, you’ll need to have something to remind you of the baby. It can be baby’s sleeper—to smell the scent of your baby on, photographs of your baby, or you could even make a recording of your baby cooing.
You must stay hydrated. It’s so easy to forget to drink enough water throughout the day but it’s so, so important. Carry a gallon jug and have markings on it to keep track of how much water you drink throughout the day. There are also beaded bracelets where you move a bead over for each 8oz of water you drink.
Pumping After Your Pumping Session
Even after you feel like all the milk is out of both breasts, continue pumping. Just the action of pumping will make the body believe your baby is very hungry. The body is intelligent and will actually produce more milk for the next feeding to keep up with what it perceives to be your baby’s demands.
Also, if you just want to incorporate an extra session whereas the baby isn’t feeding but by making a pumping session at the same time every day, after a short period of time your body should be making enough milk for that session, again, believing your baby is growing and feeding more.
Be confident in knowing that your milk supply will go up if you want it to. It takes persistence, patience, and understanding how your body works. Allow your body to work for you and do what it does best.
But, most important of all: Keep calm and breastfeed on!