How to build up breast milk supply

Updated April 17, 2017

Low or decreasing breast milk supply is a common problem many mothers face. Unfortunately, it's a problem that causes some women to switch to bottles and formula for fear that their babies won't get enough nourishment. If you are experiencing a low or decreasing breast milk supply, there are several steps you can take to increase your supply and get your feedings back on track.

Master your technique. According to La Leche League International, babies in the wrong position or who do not properly latch on aren't making a sufficient enough impact in the mother's milk supply. Babies who have a good latch will contribute to an abundant supply.

Let the baby determine when feeding begins and ends. More frequent, longer feeding will use more milk, and because emptying the breast spurs your body to replenish what's been used, feeding on demand can help with your milk supply. Feed for as long as your baby will feed and let your baby continue to suckle even after she's stopped drinking, for extra stimulation.

Feed from both breasts. Empty the first breast before moving on to the second breast. The key is to nearly or completely deplete the supply, then move to the other side and do the same. The more milk that hangs around, the less your body feels the need to resupply.

Use a breast pump after feedings. According to La Leche League International, pumping each breast for five to 10 minutes after feeding will stimulate your body to produce more milk. The goal here is not to get a lot of usable milk, but rather, to provide stimulation.

Care for yourself, not just your baby. Breastfeeding is demanding. Eating well, drinking enough water, reducing stress and getting enough sleep are important factors in your milk supply.

Things You'll Need

  • Breast pump
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