Over the years of helping to foster a successful breastfeeding relationship between mom’s and babies- one of the most common questions our Dallas Associate and IBCLC Lorna Donnelly gets asked is, “How can I increase my milk supply?” While it is true that a myriad of factors can affect one’s milk supply the biggest take away point is that it is always in the mom’s best interest to be proactive at the first sign of trouble. I recommend a private consult with an IBCLC to ensure the babies are breastfeeding correctly with adequate milk transfer. Once that is established and confirmed then there are some tried and true tips to increase your supply.
Let’s talk five great tips that may help to increase your milk supply:
Nurse, nurse, nurse or pump, pump, pump
That is to say that the single best way to increase your milk supply is to keep the breasts empty. When you aren’t removing milk your body will slow the milk production thinking you do not need that milk. So the more you nurse (or pump) routinely- the more milk the body believes it needs to make to meet those demands. Think supply and demand. If the demand is great, the supply is great. It is never a good idea to skip nursing at a scheduled feeding. So, if you will be away from your babies always ensure to pump both breasts so your body knows milk is still needed at that time.
Yep. I said it. Eat oatmeal! Your diet, calories, and fluid intake all can and will impact your milk supply. An easy implementation that has shown to help many breastfeeding women has been eating a bowl of oatmeal first thing in the morning. Oatmeal cookies or the ever popular “lactation cookies” have also helped to increase milk supply. And, although there is no scientific research to back oatmeal as effectively increasing one’s milk supply, more and more women express noticing increased milk supply with this addition to their diet. One thing is sure, there aren’t any side effects from trying and who doesn’t love cookies.
Extra tip: If you aren’t good at drinking adequate amounts of water, every time you sit down to nurse ensure to drink a large glass of water at minimum.
Pump after nursing
During the daytime after tandem feeding, pump for 10 minutes. This will continue to stimulate your breasts beyond what the twins are emptying and therefore tell your body you need even more milk. Again, think supply and demand. This is a great way to have additional EBM to feed the babies if more milk is needed, while additionally allowing you to slowly save up stored breast milk that can be used in a variety of ways over time.
Some women have had success implementing Herbal Galactagogues. These can be added into your routine at the first sign of trouble or some women choose to proactively take them early on with breastfeeding. Some examples are fenugreek, alfalfa, and blessed thistle just to list a few. Before running out to a local health store and purchasing these to take- you want to first always ensure to speak to an IBCLC and schedule a consultation to be evaluated to ensure that your babies are breastfeeding effectively with adequate milk transfer at the breast.
Ditch the pacifier
As hard as this may sound you really want to be putting the babies to the breast at those initial hunger cues. Since babies cannot overeat at the breast, if they’re rooting (an early sign of hunger) go ahead and place both babies at the breast and work on that breastfeeding relationship as opposed to “watching the clock” and giving them a pacifier because it may be “too early.” It’s actually far better for your milk supply to feed the babies a little early than it is to feed them late.
Also, ensure to switch sides with each baby and refrain from stopping the feeding until the babies either fall asleep, begin non-nutritive sucking, or come off the breast on their own. When you’re working on increasing your milk supply it may behoove you to at least temporarily stop using the pacifier and instead place the babies to the breast. Again, think supply and demand.
I hope these tips will prove beneficial! As a final bonus tip that many women don’t think about, ensure your nursing bra is in fact a bra made exclusively for breastfeeding. I highly recommend the Bravado Nursing Bras and also suggest being professionally fitted. Without the correct bra you can unknowingly be affecting your milk supply and/or increase your chances of plugged ducts. Above all, enjoy this relationship with your babies and try to relax. Our bodies are amazing and every bit of breast milk you provide is wonderful and beneficial.
If you are located in Dallas you can join Lorna at our monthly Expecting Twins Class, book a private in-home class or secure a Lactation Consultation. If not we offer nationwide and online classes from expecting twins through to twins & sleep 101. Click here for more details.