How to increase breast milk after delivery

New moms often wonder about milk supply right after delivery. Some worry that there isn’t enough milk to feed the baby, despite the presence of colostrum. When is milk produced in a mother’s body? Is colostrum sufficient for a newborn baby? How can women increase breast milk after delivery? Read on to find the answers.

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Sally Al Beer
Published on:Mar 21st 2022 |Updated on:Jun 10th 2024
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When is milk produced in a mother’s body?

Milk starts to form in a pregnant woman's body during the fifth month of pregnancy.

Is colostrum sufficient for a newborn baby?

A newborn baby’s stomach is as big as a cherry in the first 2 days, and only a few drops of colostrum will be sufficient to feed them. A common mistake some mothers do is to panic about the low supply of breast milk immediately post-partum and rush into formula feeding the baby. This will lead to stretching the infant’s stomach, which will make the colostrum not enough for him. Colostrum is the main source of nutrition for a newborn for the first few days until the transitional milk comes in and the mature milk. Meanwhile, the baby’s stomach will grow to adjust to the increase in milk supply.

Tips to increase breast milk after delivery

1- The Golden Hour

To make breastfeeding easier, I recommend skin-to-skin contact between mother and child immediately after delivery. This timeframe is called The Golden Hour, due to its value for breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact must be maintained postpartum until the baby has his first feed or after 60 minutes have passed. If this is not possible due to cesarian delivery or other complications, I recommend that the skin-to-skin contact is done during the first few hours after delivery, when the doctors clear the mom to do so, the sooner the better.

2- Early feeding

To help in stimulating milk flow it is important to start breastfeeding as soon as possible

post-delivery, it is recommended that the baby feeds early if he and the mom are fit and capable.

3- Feeding on demand

Feeding on demand, especially during the first few days after delivery, is essential for the stimulation of milk production. Hence the common recommendation of having the newborn share a room with the mother during this time is to facilitate feeding on demand. It is very important that a mother feeds her baby when she notices early signs of hunger, and not to leave the baby unfed for longer than three hours. Newborn babies might feel tired and sleepy, so they might sleep for longer than three hours, which pleases new moms. But the baby must be awakened after a three-hour sleep to feed him. Leaving the baby unfed for longer periods, puts his health at risk, and it increases the risk of Jaundice, hypoglycemia, dehydration, and other health risks.

4- Frequent and complete emptying of the breast

A new mom needs to empty her breasts frequently and completely every two to three hours. Supply and demand are the cornerstones of breastfeeding, the more the baby feeds the more milk will be produced.

5- Hand expression

I recommend that new moms practice hand expression after delivery, while there is only colostrum, to stimulate the breasts to produce milk.

It is recommended to keep trying even if nothing comes out at first, or just a few drops, but frequent stimulation is beneficial for increasing milk supply.

Foods and drinks that increase breast milk supply

It is important to highlight that food provides the body with the energy needed to produce breast milk, it can’t be considered the direct cause of milk production. There are some foods and drinks that help increase milk supply such as:

  • Oatmeal
  • Dates
  • Nuts
  • Fenugreek tea

Tips to stimulate milk production

  • Feeding on demand
  • Hand expression
  • Night feeding

This is essential to maintain a steady milk supply in the future. Prolactin (The milk hormone) is at its highest levels during the night.

  • The appropriate breastfeeding position and latching

Without a correct breastfeeding position and proper successful breastfeeding is hard to achieve, nor an adequate milk supply. We are looking for a deep asymmetrical latch, and when the baby’s chin is touching the breast, his head is tilted back, and his mouth is open 140 degrees. The proper latch and breastfeeding position also protect the mom from nipple cracking and other breastfeeding challenges.

Find out How to calm your colicky baby

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Sally Al BeerBreastfeeding Counselor & Newborn Care Specialist

Sally graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Sharjah. She moved to Ontario Canada where she worked as a pharmacist for several years. Meanwhile, she had two children and received great support from breastfeeding consultants. She enjoyed the breastfeeding journey which drove her to volunteer to help new mothers in this journey as well. She found her passion in the field of mother and baby and continued to volunteer after returning to live in the UAE, until she became an accredited breastfeeding specialist providing support to hundreds of breastfeeding mothers, by helping them overcome the challenges of breastfeeding.

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