During the first few months of breastfeeding, one of the most common concerns is a lacking milk supply. This is a fairly natural concern. With bottle feeding, you can tell exactly how much milk your baby is getting at each feeding session. With breastfeeding, you simply have to rely on your baby to tell you when he is finished. Moreover, women notice some of the natural changes that occur during breastfeeding and take them as a sign that they have a low milk supply. For example, after the first six weeks of nursing, most women stop feeling full. Their breasts have learned how much milk to make, and they no longer feel as much pressure at feeding time as they once did. Moreover, after the first six weeks, the milk supply no longer contains colostrum, which means the baby has fewer bowel movements. Many women also take this as a sign that their milk supply is too low. Women also tend to get concerned with the fact that their baby might be nursing more frequently. In fact, this is usually due to the fact that the baby is undergoing a growth spurt.
If you are still concerned about your milk supply, and it is not related to these things, there are a few ways to increase the supply. First, encourage your baby to breastfeed as often as possible. Be sure that you are allowing him to nurse as long as he will during each feeding session. Breast milk works on a supply and demand policy. The more the baby demands the milk, the more milk your breasts will supply. Another thing you can do is be sure to offer both breasts at any given feeding. Let the baby work with the first breast as long as he is swallowing. If he slows down or stops, switch him to the other breast.
An additional technique for increasing your supply is to ensure that the baby gives the signal to end each feeding. Trying to schedule your feedings is not only bad for your baby; it is also terrible for your milk supply. It sends your body a signal that the baby is finished and does not require the excess milk it has produced. This will decrease your milk supply. Letting the baby decide when to feed and for how long to feed will help ensure that your milk supply is as much as it should be. If your baby gets sleepy during feedings, you might consider switching breasts two to three times during feeding. This can encourage your baby to take in more milk and encourage your body to make more milk. You might also try to encourage all of your baby’s sucking to take place at the breast if you want to increase your milk supply. Limit the use of a pacifier, and the baby will want more frequent feeding sessions.
If you continue to be concerned about your milk supply, contact a nursing support group in your area. You may even decide you need to contact a lactation consultant. Your pediatrician would be a good source of referral for a lactation consultant in your area.