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Most moms have experienced issues with milk production at some point while nursing. It’s the moment you realize you’re currently not making enough milk to fully satisfy the hunger of your baby. Let’s not even mention feeding twins! Emotions are running high, and panic is starting to settle in fast. Don’t stress. Stress is kryptonite to properly being able to have a “let-down.” Babies can sense tension and inadvertently cause a distraction to nurse effectively. The milk is there no matter the quantity. Stay calm. There are ways to increase your milk production naturally over time: 

Frequent Feedings. The more breastmilk your baby draws during feedings, the more your body wants to produce to meet your baby’s demands. It’s all about supply and demand. It takes time and patience. 

Add a pumping session. You may feel that your breasts are completely empty after your baby is done eating, but that may not be the case. After nursing on both sides, implement a 20-minute pumping session during the day or evening to express any residual milk. You may only capture an additional 2-3 ounces, but gradually you should see an increase in your milk supply in a few days. 

Switch. As your baby slows the sucking motion, brush the cheek to stimulate or wake them. If it slows again, switch them to the other side. You can continue the switch until you feel your breasts are drained. Afterwards, investigate by adding a pumping session to see if your baby successfully emptied the breast. 

Don’t skip feedings. Skipping feedings sends your body a signal that your baby isn’t in need of as much breastmilk. If for some reason you are away at work or your baby is being fed through a bottle, make sure to pump close to the same time they would nurse. You are effectively draining the breast and the supply still remains strong.

Increase your food and water intake. In order to produce breast milk, you must drink plenty of water and increase your calorie intake. Breast milk consists mostly of water and a large majority of it is lost through nursing. Drinking too little or infrequent amounts of water will increase dehydration resulting in decreased production. The same works for calorie intake. The body can burn over 2,000 calories a day to support feedings. Eating enough calories ensures a healthy body weight and an ample supply of breastmilk for your nursing baby. 

In addition to these natural ways to increase milk production, talk with your pediatrician before supplementing or a lactation consultant to make sure your baby’s latch is properly placed to draw out the nourishment they need.

-robin

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