My story of breastfeeding had its own challenges. The only topic I didn’t look up before giving birth was how exactly I should provide food for my baby. Not to mention, I could not imagine myself searching a way on how to increase breast milk. What I really thought was: “What can be so hard? He will need to eat, he will do it. Besides I have doctors to tell me what to do.”
Pediatricians are to ensure your baby’s overall growth
First of all, the first and only thing my doctor said to me: “I am not here for this, you should ask your lactation consultant”. And that makes sense, they are there to ensure baby’s overall growth, that is why it is much easier for a pediatrician to offer infant formula, which automatically decreases breast milk supply, rather than focuses on how to produce more of it. Secondly, I should have at least reviewed breastfeeding positions and understand the process of latching on properly, which I recommend to everyone else. I strongly believe there is no more important topic in the beginning of starting mom’s journey rather than breastfeeding baby.
Three days after giving birth, 92 percent of the new mothers say they were having problems breastfeeding
I didn’t experience an easy off start breastfeeding newborn. My little star was just enjoying the world too much sleeping literally all the time. Learning to suck milk out of my breast was the last thing included in his plan. In his early life stage, doctors were concerned about him gaining more weight than he should have. And this was the perfect reason for bringing up the topic of supplemental milk over and over again. After a while though, my opinion was lined up loud and clear.
You will never know answers to everything
You never know what kind of mom you are going to be before having a baby. Surely, you are going to be the best one. But you will never know answers to some problems before you are facing them in real life. Personally I belonged to a “big NO to infant formula” type. It wasn’t easy for me. I didn’t have parents around, we have just moved to a new country, and it was my first child. I didn’t want to harm him of not providing enough for his growth, but I knew he deserved the best. It was a mix of extreme fear losing breast milk by supplementing it with formula, thousands of hormones working daily in your body and unknown fatigue that you can’t recognize at the time. When my child turned three months old, I started to realize what I was doing on a daily basis; when he turned six months, I felt physically good. I felt energetic. And only then I realized that I had experienced depression on early stage. Later, there were many moms telling me similar things. So, I understood that
- Parents, relatives, and most importantly husband’s support is a necessity;
- Nobody, not even one human on this planet Earth, should teach you how to raise your own child.
So, what did I learn about milk supply?
- 1. Nurse the baby constantly in the early days
- 2. “Feeding on demand” is crucial
- 3. Do not top up with formula milk
- 4. Avoid dummies for the first month
- 5. Give supplemental milk when necessary
- 6. Breastfeed your baby non-stop for a few days
- 7. Control baby’s weight
- 8. Help your baby with spurts
- 9. Drink a lot of WATER!
Tips on how to boost milk supply and maintain it
1. Nurse the baby constantly in the early days
I would say in his first month until milk supply regulates. This is where the milk’s quantity comes from. Eventually, the baby takes only as much as he needs.
2. “Feeding on demand” is crucial
The reason is that “breast milk is produced on supply and demand system, so if you are feeding hours apart, you may start producing less milk. Actually, that was my big mistake, as I was told to feed my baby every 2-3 hours sharp at the hospital. So, I have waited for hours and didn’t let nursing my baby when he needed it.
3. Do not top up with formula milk
Your baby will want to feed less as his tummy is fuller for longer, the less often you feed, the less breast milk you produce. If you are planning on topping up with infant formula, it’s best to wait until breastfeeding is well established.
4. Avoid dummies for the first month
or ideally, until breastfeeding is well established. One thing I did right at least.
5. Give supplemental milk when necessary
If your baby is at the weight limit or underweight and crying, it is OK to give milk formula a bit just to satisfy his need at a time. It is highly recommended to consult lactation consultants on how to do it in your case.
6. Breastfeed your baby non-stop for a few days
If you experience breast milk shortage, one thing that helped me was leaving my son on my breasts for a few days to increase milk supply. And when he wasn’t eating I was breast pumping. This way I got my milk flow back.
7. Control baby’s weight
I also borrowed the weights from a clinic to weigh the baby before and after feeding. That way I knew how much he eats per day, so I could adjust the further plan better.
8. Help your baby with spurts
If the baby is experiencing spurts, the best way is to let him breastfeeding as much as he wants. At a spurt, the baby is really scared and confused, so he is asking to be closer with his mom. It will pass in a few days and everything will get back to a norm. What you won’t miss is an incredible bonding with your own child.
Our pediatrician told me that in reality, almost every woman experiences a shortage of milk supply, so-called crisis. This happens when the baby is two to four months old. It happens because the baby demands a double portion of milk due to his growth and mom can’t produce it equally fast. Doctors recommend to wait and not to worry. Usually, everything comes to a norm in a week time. I was waiting for four months though!!!
Thanks to our new pediatrician, I have learned the trick. And I believe that was the one that helped me.
9. Drink a lot of WATER!
This is the best and most practical hack on how to produce more breast milk. The doctor asked me for a week to drink 4-5L of cool water. And I did. That was the first time I experienced 2-3 milk flows in each feed. My worries came to an end. Since then I drink minimum 3-4L of water a day. Sounds like a lot of water, right? Here’s another tip: the easiest way to do it is to drink from a 500ml glass.
In addition, I want to say that if our first doctor wouldn’t make such a fuss at first place, I wouldn’t get that much stress. Every single baby is an individual. And of course, we should pay close attention to their growth. But also they don’t grow the same way. Here’s an example: while my friends’ babies were gaining up to 1kg per month, my baby was just gaining his minimum 450-500g; in 6 months he kept gaining half a kilo per month, while my friends’ babies were gaining just a couple of hundreds or nothing. So, it is different with each one. Some have their leaps while others slowly but steadily increasing their speed. I know only one thing. No matter how hard it was in the beginning, I am glad I was persistent. I can’t be happier to feed my baby every day. It isn’t just about filling his tummy, it is more about being close to him, understand his needs, his feelings and him.
The moral of this story is just to stay calm, listen to your baby and have faith in yourself. You are already an amazing mom to be!
And what is your experience? We also want to know.
Got another tip? Share with us by leaving your comment below.
If you liked the article, please spread the word by sharing the pin below. We would highly appreciate it!
To get more support from parents and family travelers, join our Parenting Support Group.
And follow us on Instagram to know our crazy expat life!
IMPORTANT: We created the Family Store especially for you. By clicking on the image below you can find anything from Newborn’s First Kit, Baby & Family Essentials, Kids Travel to Travel Gear. We hope you will find something valuable for your own adventures!
Our shop contains products from other companies that we love and use! Everything is based on our values of quality over quantity.
Also, check out:
- Breastfeeding in public: Yes or No?
- Importance of Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding vs. Formula.
- Boost Milk Supply With These Easy Seven Steps.
- LACTATION CONSULTANT TALKS: How to increase milk supply in 3 days.
Welcome to check out our best product selection for parents and babies, including traveling gear and resources here.
This post may contain affiliate links that we may or may not receive a small commission for, at no extra cost to you. This helps to fund our blog but we never advertise for anything we don’t personally love or recommend. There is never any pressure to buy anything, we just like sharing things that make our life easier and help you find them if it is something you are looking for. Please, see our full disclosure here.