How long Does It Take To Increase Milk Supply? Useful Breastfeeding Tips
Your milk ducts answer to the laws of demand and supply. The more you nurse, the more your milk flows.
If you have just had a baby and have chosen to breastfeed, you may wonder if you'll be able to produce enough milk to feed your newborn. This is a very common question. There are some ways to increase your milk supply if necessary. How long does it take to increase milk supply? Here are some little-known facts about milk flow.
How Long Does It Take To Increase Milk Supply? Breastfeeding Facts
When you give birth, your body goes through many hormonal changes. The hormone prolactin triggers the production of breast milk. The level of prolactin needs to increase to produce breast milk.
The first fluid that is expressed from your breasts after birth is called colostrum, which is the most potent natural immune booster known to science. This sticky, yellow substance begins production during late pregnancy and contains nutrients for your baby's first few days of life.
The next stage of breast milk production is called the transitional milk flow. This form of breast milk lasts for the first few weeks after the production of colostrum has stopped. This milk contains higher levels of lactose, fat, and water-soluble vitamins.
After this, mature breast milk production begins. This milk contains approximately 90 percent water and 10 percent proteins, fats and carbohydrates. This milk keeps your baby well hydrated and is easily digestible.
Low milk supply symptoms
Here are some signs that your baby isn't getting enough milk:
- Fussiness after eating or wanting to nurse more often than necessary or recommended
- Bodyweight not increasing (should increase by at least 0.7 to 1 ounce each day).
- Few wet diapers. Babies urinate much less frequently in the first few days of life, but by day five they should have at least 5 or more wet diapers daily.
- Dehydration. Signs of dehydration include dark urine, yellow skin (jaundice), reluctance to feed, and lethargy.
How Long Does It Take To Increase Milk Supply? Causes Of Low Milk Supply
Some of the things that can cause you to have a lower-than-average breast milk supply are:
- Insufficient growth or development of the ducts that produce breast milk
- Scar tissue from breast surgery
- Hormonal imbalances caused by polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, or hypothyroidism
- Medications and herbal supplements such as hormonal birth control, pseudoephedrine, and large amounts of mint, parsley, or sage
- Baby using a pacifier before 4–6 weeks of age
Many things can cause a once robust milk supply to drop. It could be that you went back to work and are now separated from your baby for longer stretches during the day. Or perhaps you had an illness, have had recent stress in your life, the return of your menstrual cycle, or just plain haven’t been taking good care of yourself. Whatever the reason for this drop, there are things you can do to bring your milk supply back up to the level it once was.
The fastest way to increase your supply is to ask your body to make more milk. Whether that means nursing more often with your baby or pumping – increased breast stimulation will let your body know you need it to start making more milk.
It usually takes about 3-5 days before you see an increase in your supply.
5 Tips To Get Your Milk Flow Back Up
1. Get lots of rest and take care of yourself.
It is important that you’re getting enough sleep. Try to choose a sleeping arrangement that allows for the maximum amount of sleep for mom and baby. Have the right swaddle or sleep bag for the age of your child.
2. Drink lots of water!
We can’t stress this enough. Every time you breastfeed or pump, drink a glass of water.
3. Have a “nurse-in” with your baby.
Take at least 24 hours and snuggle in with the baby. Have water, snacks, and diapers at hand and nurse as often as baby will nurse. Be sure to have a comfortable nursing pillow to make the experience as comfortable as possible for you and your baby.
Practicing skin to skin during this time also helps to increase milk supply. This time together for mom and baby not only will increase the frequency of nursing but also provide some extra rest for you. This also helps to increase prolactin levels and helps with your milk supply.
4. Consider pumping.
Try to pump 8-10 times in 24 hours, 10-15 minutes at a time, every day after breastfeeding until you notice your supply increasing. You’re pumping to increase your milk supply, so don’t worry if nothing comes out at first.
5. Try taking galactagogues.
Galactagogues are herbal supplements that help to increase your milk supply. The most commonly used are Fenugreek, brewers yeast, blessed thistle, and alfalfa. Before taking a galactagogue, talk to your health care provider to see if they are safe for you.