One of the things that mothers worry about when taking care of their baby is having enough supply of breast milk.  It’s a natural fear for a baby’s diet is purely of breast milk for the first 4 to 6 months of life.  A mother would be increasingly concerned when her baby is a voracious eater.

Certain circumstances can cause your breasts to decrease milk production.  These circumstances can include stress, illness, lack of nutrition, dehydration, or going back to school or work. The best way to maintain and increase breast milk is through constant feeding and pumping.  Normally, breast milk is produced when your body and your baby is in sync.  You will notice that you would experience breast tenderness whenever you see your baby, whenever your baby cries, or (if your baby is highly structured) when it is time to feed.  The more you feed and pump, the more your breast will produce milk.  Try to pump your breast in between feedings.  If you have time, pump each breast for 5-10 minutes after each feeding.  A hospital grade, double motor breast pump will be just perfect for it pumps your breast in the same frequency as your baby.  If you’re at work, steal time to pump your breasts so that when you go home your breasts are still able to produce milk for your baby.

Eat right and drink right.  Proper nutrition and hydration ensures plentiful milk supply.  A nursing mother needs to consume about 1,800-2,200 calories per day.  Empty calories are not advisable (i.e. doughnuts, junk foods).  What you need would be foods rich in calcium, vitamins, and protein.  As much as possible, unless otherwise indicated by a medical condition, drink 2 liters or more of water.  The more water you consume, the more milk your breasts would be able to produce.  Eating oatmeal daily also increases milk supply.  Exactly how oatmeal increases milk production is still unknown.  However, a lot of mothers have found success with eating oatmeal daily.

Try to relax before and during breast feeding.  Tension and stress can lessen milk production.  Lounge on your sofa, watch TV, read your favorite book or listen to music to relax your muscles.  If you’re sleep deprived, have naptimes with your baby.  Consider co-sleeping so you and your baby will get adequate sleep.

Don’t give your baby water or juice in between feedings.  If your baby’s stomach is full to capacity, your baby will not be spending too much time getting milk from your breast.  This would result to decreased milk production.  Similarly, don’t give your baby too much sucking time with a pacifier.  Your breasts will serve as one if your milk supply is dwindling.  Because of increased sucking time, your breasts will be stimulated to produce more milk.

If all the above options fail, have an appointment with a lactation consultant.  Bring your baby along with you so that she can assess if feeding technique is the problem (positioning, latching).  Latching problems can come from using artificial nipples, alternating feeding of breast to bottle, or having too much sucking time with a pacifier.

There are herbal remedies that are claimed to help increase milk supply.  Fenugreek is increasing in popularity as an herbal supplement that can increase milk supply for short and long term basis.  Caution is advised when taking this supplement and a doctor’s approval is needed before you undergo the regimen.  Mothers with diabetes or taking anti-coagulants are not advised to take this herbal supplement.

Keep your chin up