Breast milk is the most precious gift you can give to your new-born. It has a plethora of benefits for both baby and the mother. The first few weeks are essential for any mother for establishing breastfeeding habits. This is the time when many mothers feel that their breast milk production is not enough, hence they wrongly get dependent on formula milk which further causes a reduction in breast milk production and deprives the baby of all the benefits from breast milk.
Here are a few tips which can increase your breast milk secretion and help in continuing exclusive breastfeeding.
1. Increase the amount of breastfeeding – The golden rule to increase the amount of breast milk is to breastfeed more. This is because your body produces breast milk based on a supply and demand basis. When the baby suckles on your breast, certain hormones (prolactin, oxytocin) trigger your breast to produce milk. Thus breast milk production can be increased by carrying out breastfeeding 8-12 times a day.
2. Practice Feeding from both breasts - Feed your baby from both of your breasts during each breastfeeding session. Offer them the first breast until he or she stops feeding, then offer the next breast. This stimulation of both breasts increases the milk supply. This will almost always ensure that your infant gets adequate breast milk.
3. Stimulating the breasts - After you finish a breastfeeding session, you can stimulate the breasts using a breast pump or a hand expression technique. This will help in producing more milk.
4. Ensure good hydration– The most important thing to enhance breast milk production is good hydration. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, fresh fruit juices, lassi, buttermilk, or soup. This is very important as a lot of body water is required for the generation of breast milk.
5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Daily lifestyle choices also affect milk production. The mother must receive a balanced diet, a lot of emotional support, adequate rest and care during the initial phases of breastfeeding, as factors like pain, stress, and anxiety are the major factors that can reduce breast milk production. Excessive smoking, drinking, stress, and fatigue can interfere with your milk supply, so this needs to be avoided.
6. Keep the baby awake during breastfeeding - Some new-borns are sleepy during their first few weeks. Try to wake the baby up after every 3 hours to breastfeed if he or she is sleepy. Also, make sure the baby is awake during breastfeeding. Try rubbing the feet of the baby to keep him/her awake. When the baby is awake and feeding properly, it will provide your body with the required stimulation to produce more milk.
7. Get Additional Nutrition- Always focus on making healthy choices that will increase your milk production. Diet rich in protein items, such as lean meat, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils, and seafood low in mercury content should be used. Choose a variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables. Nursing mothers require an additional 400 calories a day to get the energy and nutrition to produce milk. To get these extra calories, opt for nutrient-rich choices, such as a slice of whole-grain bread with a tablespoon (about 16 grams) of peanut butter, a medium banana or apple, and 8 ounces (about 227 grams) of yogurt.