1.Nurse, Nurse, and Nurse Again
The more your baby nurses, the more milk your body makes. Don’t follow a strict schedule. Nurse your baby whenever she is hungry, for as long as she wants, especially in the first few weeks of establishing your supply, and offer the other breast when the first is empty.
2.Try to Rest
Lack of sleep is really rough on your milk production. If you can, take a “nursing vacation.” Cut back on outside commitments, and spend a couple of days doing as little as possible other than relaxing with your baby, resting, eating, and nursing. (Of course, this is easier with a first baby than when you have older children who also need your attention.)
While stress may not curb milk production, it can hamper your let-down reflex (which releases milk into your milk ducts) and make it harder for your baby to get what she needs. Take care of yourself so that you’re at your best for your baby. Ask your partner, family, or friends to help with other things. Tell overnight guests to wait a few weeks before they visit, so you can nurse in peace and establish milk supply.
Seek out other new moms who are breastfeeding and lean on each other. If your mom, friend, or grandmother breastfed, ask her what helped. If you’re feeling vulnerable while you’re getting your milk supply established, avoid people who are critical or don’t support your breastfeeding or who make it hard for you to nurse.
If you get dehydrated, you’ll make less milk. It’s easy to get busy and distracted with a baby, so keep a bottle of water with you, and stash bottles where you usually nurse. Also, try to eat foods that are naturally rich in water, such as fruits and vegetables.
6.Wait to Use Bottles
Bottle feeding is fine for later on, but in the first few weeks of establishing your milk supply, your baby should do all her sucking, or at least as much as possible, at the breast. The baby empties your breast much better than a pump does, so you’ll make more milk in response to your baby’s signals compared to a machine.
7.Foods and Breast Milk
You don’t need to eat certain foods to make more milk. Just eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and a little bit of fat. Some research shows that garlic, onions, and mint make breast milk taste different, so your baby may suckle more, and in turn, you make more milk. If your baby seems gassy after you’ve eaten broccoli, cabbage, or beans, back off of those foods.
8.Massage Your Breasts
Breast massage can help to boost the volume and fat content of your milk. When your baby is “comfort nursing” (calming and soothing herself more than drinking), massage your breast near the chest and then a little further toward the nipple, and wait for your baby to take a couple of swallows. Then massage another area of the same breast, and wait for more swallows. Repeat.
10.Check Your Meds
Some drugs can affect breastfeeding. Commonly used medicines that may cut your milk supply include antihistamines and decongestants, diuretics, hormonal contraceptives containing estrogen, and some weight loss medications. Check with your doctor about alternatives.
11.Find a Pro
If you’re having a hard time getting the hang of breastfeeding, an experienced, nonjudgmental professional can be a lifesaver. Consider hiring either a postpartum doula or a lactation consultant to give you advice on things like latching on and the best nursing holds for you. (Sometimes you can find both skills in one awesome expert!)