Not enough milk? Not having a strong milk supply is one of the most common reasons for mums stopping breastfeeding before they want to. A study done in 2018, it discovered that 80% of women do not achieve their breastfeeding goals. This is a worrying figure and we think we can help.
In this article, we will try to answer one of the most frequently asked questions for young nursing mothers - “How can I increase my milk supply?
A key thing to know is that if your baby is gaining weight at a good rate, then you probably don’t need to be worrying about your milk supply. The key to increasing milk supply is to get off to a strong start, frequent and effective milk removal. Since babies only take about 67% of the available milk from the breasts.
Having said that, if you truly feel like you have a low breast milk supply then there are ways you can address this issue.
1. Your breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis, meaning the more your baby wants is the more your breasts will naturally produce.
2. Use a Breast pump to keep the supply going. Breast pumps work very well and increasing the frequency of pumping will keep telling your breasts to make more milk
3. The tip is to make sure you “empty” your breasts of milk when you nurse. After your baby has finished nursing, get a pumping session into fully “empty” your breasts.
4. Taking great care of yourself can also affect your breast milk supply, and potentially increase breast milk production. Eating healthy snacks, resting and drinking plenty of water. Make time to relax and focus on yourself. It may be incredibly difficult to find the time, but by taking care of yourself you are taking care of your baby, too!
5. Using a TENS machine to stimulate your breasts. The idea behind using stimulation of nipples is not new in fact its thousands of years old. Although there have not been many clinical trials done on the effectiveness vs other methods of inducing lactation, there are mothers who have achieved their breastfeeding goals using TENS. Using the TENS tricks your body by mimicking the delicate sensation.
6. Using your hands to stimulate the breast is the classical way of inducing lactation. This method works best with your partner. This method requires consistency much like the TENS machine. People using their hands typically see the results after a period of several weeks. The process is stimulating the nipples for 20 minutes every few hours over several weeks.
7. Skin to skin contact with your baby will help comfort and soothe your baby. Skin to skin contact will create an emotional connection which can help with milk production
8. Using both breasts to tell your body to make more milk.
9. Technique. Breastfeeding is new for you and your baby! Don’t worry if the latch is not perfect the first time. You will get it in no time.
How we can help
We developed an electrode specifically designed for use on the breast. The breast pads offer improved comfort and ease of use compared to the standard electrodes that can be difficult to place correctly. We suggest using these electrode pads with the perfect TENS unit (programme C) for about 15 minutes every two hours. Women who have successfully induced lactation have had a similar timeline to hand expression. Our electrodes work amazingly well with our perfect TENS which is available below
Who to contact if you suspect low milk supply?
If you are concerned about your milk supply, it will be very useful to get in touch with a trained breastfeeding counsellor or healthcare professional. Speak with other mums! Join communities of mums and ask your questions with mums who have more experience. If breastfeeding is important to you, TensCare wants to encourage you to keep going and try everything before you give up.