How to Build a Good Milk Supply for Breastfeeding

PĒPI Mahuāio Nonoa
ĀMĀ Te Whetumairangi Balzer-Horo
PHOTOGRAPHY Catherine Smith @catherinesmithphotography

Once your milk has come in, your breasts will continue to make milk for as long as milk continues to be removed. Breast milk is based on supply and demand; the more often and effectively you feed, the more milk your breasts will make.

The speed of milk production is determined by the levels of milk being stored in the breast. The fuller the breasts, the slower production is. The emptier the breasts, the faster production is. So, a person who is trying to increase their milk supply should endeavour to remove milk frequently from the breasts throughout the day.

It’s best to breastfeed your baby on demand, as often as they want or need to during the day or night.

Here are some tips for building a good milk supply:

  • Empty the breasts frequently. You want your baby to remove milk from the breasts so you can make more.
  • Empty the breasts effectively by making sure your baby is nursing efficiently and has a good latch. You can also try breast massage and compression to assist this.
  • Let your baby finish feeding on the first side, then offer the second side.
  • Breastfeed your baby on demand when they are hungry, rather than scheduling feeds.
  • Breastfeed your baby for as long as they want to, aiding the cycle of supply and demand.
  • Give your baby only breast milk.
  • Spend time having skin-to-skin contact and breastfeed skin-to-skin as often as possible.
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep when your baby sleeps.
  • Stay hydrated (a breastfeeding person requires at least 2.6 litres or 10 cups of water per day) and eat a well-balanced diet.

Induced lactation can be possible for transgender women, adoptive mothers, and parents who have used a surrogate for pregnancy. If you wish to breastfeed but have not given birth to your baby, discuss your options with a doctor, lactation consultant or your LMC.