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How to increase breast milk effectively? (For breast feeding mothers)

Breast Milk production increases by two major mechanism, one is when your baby latches on breast well and frequently feeds (prolactin hormone is secreted), and 2nd is when you are relax and stress free (oxytocin hormone is secreted to increase milk output).Mother’s should drink plenty of liquid, it will help them keep well hydrated.

One of the things that worries most new mums is whether they’re producing enough breastmilk. Unlike feeding bottles, breasts do not come with volume markings to measure the quantity of milk consumed.

Often, when a baby seems to demand more feed or the breasts seem less full, a mum concludes that she has low milk supply. But in most cases, this isn’t true. “The amount of breast milk depends on the health of the new mom and her attitude towards breastfeeding,” says Dr Swati Thoda, nutritionist and lactation consultant, Hiranandani Fortis hospital, Navi Mumbai.

A mother’s body produces milk in response to her baby’s suckling. The mum who allows frequent suckling, easily increases the supply of milk with the increase in the hormone, prolactin. During the initial week post birth, the lactating mother may experience pain and discomfort in her nipples as her infant nurses. This shouldn’t deter her from breastfeeding as it may affect the supply.
Breastmilk production works on demand. The more your baby nurses, the more your body produces milk. Do not keep a tab on the clock and unlatch your baby. You may feel you’re breastfeeding the entire day, but it is good for your baby and for your milk supply!
Consuming adequate liquids will keep you hydrated and enable you to produce milk effectively. “A dehydrated mother may fail to produce adequate milk for her newborn,” asserts Dr Thoda. Drinks like sodas, coffee or tea are to be taken in moderation, as large amounts of caffeine can dehydrate the body, thus decreasing breastmilk production.
Assume a comfortable feeding position when nursing your infant. This will prevent tiredness and back pain and allows the new mom to participate in feeding willingly. Moreover, it permits the baby to latch correctly, enabling effective suckling. The use of a feeding pillow might help a mum to achieve a good latch.
Breastmilk formation greatly depends on the will of the mother. If you are stressed, it may hamper your ability to nurse. Take a deep breath, relax and willingly feed your baby.
Eating healthy throughout the day will maximize the energy you have as a new mum and make up for the calorie loss that happens during breastfeeding. Certain foods also aid in boosting milk production naturally.
Galactagogues are herbs or medicines that are used to increase lactation or stimulate milk production in a lactating mother, or in a mother who wants to induce lactation. Herbs such as shatavari, ashwagandha and fenugreek are great galactagogues used in certain tablets and powders available in the market. “These may be used in first 2-3 days post birth but only under the advice of the gynaecologist or a lactation consultant,” informs Dr Thoda.
For mums whose babies are unable to latch or are confined to the NICU, a breast pump may be used to mimic the action of suckling and hence, jumpstart the production of breastmilk. Connect with a veteran mother or a lactation consultant if you need to use a breast pump.
Smoking, drinking alcohol, stress, consumption of birth control pills, fatigue, immediate new pregnancy also may be causes of low breastmilk supply.In addition to the above, hypothyroidism, medicines like antihistamines, decongestants or diuretics, Polycystic Ovarian Disease(PCOD), or an attempt of quick weight loss post delivery could also contribute to lowered milk production.