A big part of bringing a baby into the world is choosing whether to breastfeed or not. Breastfeeding a child is a natural and healthy way to give babies nourishment; a mother's milk is what is intended for a newborn to drink for quite some time after their birth.
Although breastfeeding seems extremely simple and easy to do, it can actually be quite tricky. For some mothers, way too much milk comes in, which can cause a lot of backup and pain. Then there are the mothers who only produce a small amount of milk, which is not enough—they often have to supplement with formula to ensure their child is fully nourished. There are also mothers out there who do not produce breastmilk at all and are forced to feed their child formula.
This is a list of tips to help every type of mama. The critical thing to remember is that regardless of how a mother feeds her baby-breastfeeding or not-the important thing is that the child is healthy and the mother is doing okay. There is a lot of judgment out there against moms who don’t or can’t breastfeed, but what has to be done to nourish a baby isn’t always what everyone else is doing.
20 Nurse The Baby Frequently On Demand
An excellent way to boost your milk supply as a breastfeeding mother is to breastfeed your little one as much as possible. Whenever they are hungry make sure you are offering your breastmilk because emptying one side will cause the other to produce more.
As a newborn, they need as much milk as they can get to grow healthy and active, which means they are going to feed somewhere between 8-12 times per day, according to KidsHealth. The more they feed, the more time your girls will have to produce enough milk to continue to satisfy your baby.
19 Make Sure Baby Is Getting Enough
A huge concern for many new mothers out there is whether or not their babies are getting enough milk during each feed. According to Parent Magazine, there are a few ways to be sure your child is getting plenty of milk in such as being sure they are actually swallowing during a feeding session, making sure they seem satisfied after being fed, if they have regular bowel movements, and last but not least if they are gaining weight.
If your child is showing signs of not getting enough milk, the steps mentioned above can be followed to help them drink what they need which will, in turn, allow moms to produce more milk.
18 Nurse All Day For A Few Days
According to Kelly Mom, a mother might try to take a “nursing vacation.” What this means is that mom spends at least 36 hours in bed with the newborn exclusively breastfeeding on and off all day. This doesn’t mean mom will be breastfeeding the entire time.
The purpose here is to have a lot of skin to skin time with the baby and allow them to nurse as they please. This way they will get more comfortable with the idea of nursing, and there is a lot of bonding time as well, according to Breastfeeding Problems. This should consist of relaxation and bonding for both mom and baby.
17 Use Both During Feedings
It’s important to allow your child to finish one side before moving onto the other because this gives them the hind milk that is rich with calories and nutrients, according to Baby Center. If they are given a chance to nurse off of both sides, it’s more likely that they will get the hindmilk.
Once they empty one side, it will give that side a chance to fill up again while they nurse off of the other side. Often babies will stop feeding because the side they were feeding off of is empty, but moms have no way of knowing. It’s important to always offer the other side before ending the session.
16 Avoid Binkies And Bottles
Every baby is different and while some won’t know the difference between a mother’s nipple and the nipple of a bottle, some will and it might mess with their eating habits. For a child who is strictly breastfeeding, or having a hard time with breastfeeding, it might not be such a good idea to offer them a bottle or pacifier.
According to Breastfeeding Basics, the child could easily become confused by the differences in these feeding methods. A child who is breastfed has to work for their milk while those who are bottle-fed don’t have to suck nearly as much. Milk easily comes out of a bottle which is why if they are offered that in addition to breastmilk they might get confused.
15 Use Only Breastmilk
Using only breastmilk as much as possible allows a mother to empty her girls more and more often which in turn will enable them to refill more often. Kelly Mom calls this a challenge for a mother’s chest. It can be a lot for a mother's milk to keep up with a newborn who is feeding every two hours.
But if a mom can manage to feed her child with her milk every time they are hungry, then her chest will be forced to refill over and over. This can be hard and stressful, but for a mother who is looking to boost her breastmilk supply, this could be helpful.
14 Take Care Of Mom Too
Milk is a bodily function, and if someone is under stress and not taking care of themselves, sometimes those bodily functions don’t always work. This can mean that breastfeeding mothers may not produce enough milk because they are under stress.
According to Verywell Family, so many mothers out there put taking care of their babies and families before themselves, and it needs to change. A mother has to be happy and healthy herself before she can take care of another little person, which is why taking care of yourself is super important in trying to boost breastmilk.
13 Pumping May Help
Babies are brand new when they come into the world, and this means that they often do not know how to do things that should be second nature to them. An example of this would be their ability to latch on to mom and feed. Some little ones are too weak to latch, or they cannot feed for as long as they need to because they get too tired. This poses a problem for mothers who maybe aren’t producing enough for their baby because their babies aren’t emptying them fully.
A proper fix to this issue is for a mother to pump as much milk as possible, which gives her milk sacs time to refill. This should be repeated often to increase supply, according to The Bump.
12 Medication Nation
There are a lot of natural ways for a mother to boost her milk supply, but if those aren’t working, there are a few medications that can be useful as well. According to Verywell Family, there aren’t any medications produced for lactation issues, but there are some that are made for other disorders that enhance lactation.
An example of this would be Metoclopramide, which is for stomach issues but it has been known to boost milk supply in breastfeeding mothers. The problem is that the medication has to be continued for an elongated supply, once a mother stops the medicine the supply will dwindle once again.
11 Food Can Help!
Another natural way to boost milk supply for a breastfeeding mother is a specific category of foods. Oats are a good choice because they contain a good amount of iron, which some pregnant and breastfeeding mothers don’t realize they are lacking. According to Healthline, veggies such as carrots and leafy greens are good for milk production.
Not only do they help with milk supply, but they give the body certain nutrients it needs as well. It’s also crucial that mom often snacks because food gives us energy and our bodies use energy when producing breastmilk.
10 What Are The Symptoms?
For a first-time mother especially, she may or may not see the signs that she has an overabundance of breastmilk. Having too much breastmilk isn’t always a bad thing, but it can be frustrating to manage.
According to Breastfeeding USA, some of the signs are feeling as though the girls are hard and full all the time, milk spraying the baby at any point in time, the baby having a hard time eating—like if they are choking—and lastly the girls might often be plugged with all the excess milk, which can lead to mastitis. If any mother comes across any of these signs, tips to reduce breastmilk might be useful for them.
9 A Pat On The Back
There are a plethora of websites such as Breastfeeding Basics that talk about not needing to burp babies that breastfeed. In some cases, this might work well for a child who is taking in enough milk and seem happy and comfortable. But for those babies who are becoming hungry again too soon or are just not getting enough milk, burping could be a significant help.
Burping allows a baby to let excess air out of their tummies and therefore gives them more room to put milk without feeling uncomfortable. For mothers with an overabundant supply of milk, burping a child to allow them to eat more can be beneficial.
8 Milk In The Bank
Although producing a lot of extra milk can be a pain sometimes, it can also be pretty useful. An idea for mothers who are generating plenty of milk is to store that extra milk in the freezer. This gives dads or anyone who might be caring for the baby when you are not around the chance to feed them and to get that special bonding time without having to bottle-feed them formula.
For mothers who are close to going back to work, pumping and storing extra milk will be a lifesaver when it comes time to leave the baby. According to Breastmilk Counts, this allows moms to go back to work but still give their child the nourishment they need.
7 Milk Donation Station
Another perk for moms who produce too much breastmilk is to donate it. There are a lot of moms out there who would love to breastfeed their child but they cannot, and those moms are typically unwilling to give their child formula. According to Parents Magazine, there is an organization by the name of Human Milk Banking Association of North America in which takes breastmilk donations for mothers in need.
As of now, their donated milk goes to sickly and premature infants who need all the nutrients from breastmilk the most. Those preemies have a much better chance of surviving off of natural milk made by mothers, which is why this donation association was created.
6 Soak It All Up
A mother who is experiencing too much breastmilk might often spring a leak. The perfect use for this problem is nursing pads. These are soft pads that are to be put inside the bra to catch any leaking milk before staining right through the bra and or shirt.
A lot of women are okay with the amount of liquid they produce, but are not okay with leaking as much as they do, according to Mom Loves Best. This is the reason why nursing pads were invented to help moms with this annoying part of breastfeeding.
5 Block Feeding Blunders
This is something that is often used for mothers who are producing too much milk. According to Mother 2 Mother, block feeding consists of keeping the baby on one side for a few hours no matter how many times they want to nurse.
Mothers might choose to do a 2-3 block feeding. Block feeding for two hours would look like feeding the baby the first time on the right side, and continuing to use that side as many times as the baby nurses within two or three hours. After those hours are up, switch to the other side and continue the practice like that for as long as needed to reduce supply.
4 Change Nursing Positions
Positioning is super important to think about while nursing a baby. Although it is important for the mother to be comfortable since she is frequently in one spot for a while, the position has to be ideal for baby as well. If the positioning is strange for the baby, they might not want to eat as much as they would if they were completely comfortable, which is why position matters.
According to La Leche League GB, the perfect position for baby should be with their head slightly tilted back and their nose unblocked. As long as the child is like this and mother is comfy, all should be okay.
3 Sage Tea
According to Kelly Mom, sage tea can be useful for when a mother is trying to wean her baby off of breastfeeding. But if a mother has an extreme case of oversupply, sage tea might help as well. It’s important only to use a little bit at a time to see how it affects you because it can cause the supply to dry up a lot more than necessary.
Mothers who want to reduce their supply should try it and see how using just a little bit works for them before using it often. Sage is a unique taste, so eating it without mixing it into something might not be pleasant.
2 Don’t Pump Often To Reduce Supply
When it comes to breastfeeding, a mother usually pumps often either to relieve the feeling of fullness or to have a stockpile of milk in the freezer—which allows others to help feed with a bottle. Although this is a good hack, it is not a good idea to pump when you have an overabundant milk supply.
Pumping causes the milk supply to amp up and frequently refill after it has been pumped, which is why pumping doesn’t help reduce the amount. According to Exclusive Pumping, this doesn’t mean moms have to stop pumping altogether—maybe just a lot less until the milk supply diminishes.
1 Check The Produce Section
Sometimes, a mother might find herself with too much milk. Pumping seems like the best idea to relieve the engorgement, but that will only tell the mother's body to produce more milk. Instead, employing efforts to reduce production is best.
One of the most tried-and-true methods up our sleeve is the use of cabbage leaves placed in a mom's top right on the girls. Kelly Mom notes to be cautious when using this method as overuse of it can dry a mom right up!