Every mum and bub will have a unique breastfeeding situation.
Some babies might have no trouble getting a good feed, while others might have difficulty latching on or fall asleep at the breast. For other mums, breastfeeding doesn’t work out. While we encourage breastfeeding as much as we can, each experience is unique, and that’s okay!
For mums who are breastfeeding, we’ve got some tips that might help get the milk flowing.
Demand = Supply
Breastfeeding works on a supply and demand chain. When a breast is full, milk production slows, and when it’s empty, it speeds up. If you can, it’s a good idea to drain the milk every three to four hours, either by breastfeeding or pumping and not to neglect those dreaded 4am feeds.
Milk, milk, everywhere, but bub’s not drinking a drop
If your baby isn’t sucking or swallowing milk, or is falling asleep at the breast, you might want to pump and top up with breast milk or formula, rather than working at it for long periods of time, feeling as though you’re getting nowhere.
Applying massage, steady pressure, compression or heat to the breast during a feed can stimulate milk flow and remind your baby to drink up.
You can also try switching bub from one breast to the other to help stop them from falling asleep during a feed. There are lots of different positions you can try.
Pump up the milk, pump it up
Pumping might be invaluable to you if your bub isn’t latching or draining milk properly. You can store milk for later, and by draining the breast you’re activating that supply and demand chain.
It might sound like something from a galaxy far, far away, but a galactagogue is something that is claimed to improve milk production, for example, herbs such as fenugreek, food e.g. oatmeal, and certain medicines. You can talk to your lactation consultant or GP to find out more.
And finally, relax and restore.
Taking care of you is very important when you’re breastfeeding. After all, being a new mum isn’t a walk in the park!
Drinking lots of water, eating a balanced diet, ensuring you don’t miss meals and resting as much as possible between feeds is good for both you and bub.
Melanie Myres from Qi Rhythm Massage says that many factors influence the production of milk - sleep, stress, anxiety and tension all affect the body’s own ability to regulate hormones.
Getting enough rest and sleep are both important and working to reduce tension through the neck and shoulders, in particular, can help to balance hormones, creating healthy milk production.
Of course, finding time to rest can be tricky with a newborn, but getting restorative sleep where you can is beneficial for your body.
To find out more about supporting breast milk production, you can get in touch with one of our lactation consultants or book in for a massage with Qi Rhythm. For everyone who isn’t in Victoria or a patient with us at Epworth, there’s more information on pregnancy, birth & baby.
25 July 2018