Breastfeeding
Increasing your breastmilk supply

The key to increasing your breastmilk supply is to increase the number of times you feed your baby and therefore effectively drain your breasts of milk. The more milk that is removed, the more breastmilk is produced. Effective positioning and attachment is important for breast drainage and will increase your breastmilk supply.

Can stress impact on milk supply?

Some breastfeeding mothers find they just don’t seem to have a good milk supply. Stress and being overtired can have a big impact so try and increase the amount of rest you’re getting and look at ways of improving your diet. Avoid giving baby extra top-up feeds with formula milk as this can diminish supply. Speak to your local child and family health Nurse or GP about the best options for your family.

Increasing your breastmilk supply

Tips to increase your breastmilk:

PROBLEM

SUGGESTED ACTION

Does your baby only feed for short periods?

Try to encourage your baby to stay longer at each breast or re-offer the first breast.

Does your baby fall asleep at the breast before they finish a feed?

Take baby off the breast and try to wake up by changing their nappy, or giving baby a short break to burp. The other option is to leave baby for a short period of time to rest then wake and reoffer your breast to them.

Is your baby going for long periods between feeds?

Reduce the time between feeds for a couple of days by offering the breast more frequently.

Are your nipples sore or tender?

Check if your baby is well positioned on the breast (you might need to have some specialist breastfeeding advice for this). If your baby is not well positioned, they may not be able to stimulate a let down or effectively drain your breasts.

Do you get anxious or upset every time you have to breastfeed your baby?

If you are feeling anxious and upset this may be impacting on the let down reflex that allows the free flow of your breastmilk. If this is happening you may need to seek some assistance from your child and family health nurse or a lactation consultant.

Before each feed take a few moments to do a short relaxation exercise.

Are you giving your baby extra top-up feeds with formula milk?

Unless advised by your doctor, slowly stop these extra feeds and increase the number of breastfeeds to meet your baby’s needs.

Have you introduced the baby to solid foods too early (before six months)?

Return to offering breastfeeds only until six months. If your baby is over six months, breastfeed before offering your baby their solid foods.

Are you smoking?

Smoking can reduce your breastmilk production. Consider going onto a Quit program or reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Seek the support of your doctor or child and family health nurse.

PROBLEM

SUGGESTED ACTION

Are you or have you been unwell or overly tired?

It might be time to see your local doctor about this, especially if it’s impacting on your wellbeing and/or your breastmilk supply. In the meantime you can improve your diet – make sure you are eating healthy, nutritious food and drinking plenty of water.

Try and increase the amount of rest you are having by having a sleep during the day, even a short period can be helpful.

Ask for and accept help from family and friends with household tasks.

Have some time out and do something that you enjoy to help you relax.

Is your baby unwell?

If your baby is unwell this may be impacting on their ability to suck vigorously and stay awake to gain adequate nutrition. You may need to provide them with shorter but more frequent feeds until they are healthy again. Do not delay, if your baby remains unwell make an appointment to see your local doctor.

Are you offering your baby a dummy or pacifier to extend the periods between feeds?

Feed your baby more frequent feeds rather than using the dummy or pacifier to delay feeds.

Are you taking medication either prescribed, over-the-counter, recreational or natural/herbal remedies?

Either discuss the safety of these medications with the person who prescribed them or talk to your local pharmacist for advice. Recreational drugs can also have a negative impact on your milk supply, your health and your baby’s health and safety.

Are you having a change in your hormones?

This may be due to menstruation re-commencing, you may be ovulating again, you may have recently started a new contraceptive or you could be pregnant. In most instances (unless you are pregnant) the impact is short-lived and the taste of your breastmilk and baby’s behaviour will return to normal in a couple of days. Importantly, if you are pregnant you can still continue to breastfeed.

 

Breastfeeding FAQ's

  • I have to return to work but I am breastfeeding. I don't want to wean. What can I do?

    It’s a shame to have to interrupt such an enjoyable routine, yet it’s quite possible for Some mothers are able to continue to fully or partially breastfeed their baby for many months after returning to work. It does take some pre-planning, but it’s worth the effort. Don’t be put off easily. Discussing your desire to breastfeed with your employer may help to gain some support. Start by expressing extra breastmilk and freezing it. If you haven’t been expressing, it might take a little while to build up your milk supply to be able to express more than a few milli-litres of milk each time you express. Hiring an electric breast pump may make the process easier. You may need to express at work to keep your breasts comfortable. Keep the milk refrigerated and bring it home in an insulated cool bag. Some mothers find regular expressing difficult to maintain. However, your baby can be offered an infant formula when you are at work, and still be breastfed at home. Many mothers and babies are able to continue to partially breastfeed for many months with this more flexible arrangement.

  • Our 2 year old has started to become very demanding and has regular tantrums. His naughty behaviour usually occurs when I am trying to feed my baby?

    Going from being the centre of attention to having to share attention with another can be very difficult when you are 2 ½ years old (see Introduction). Organise a snack for your 2½ year old child to have while your baby is feeding. Make the snack fun by putting the food into a lunch box and adding interesting healthy foods. Place a rug on the floor so he can have a picnic. Having a special DVD or television show to put on while you feed can help keep your toddler occupied and happy. Have a special book to read or toy to play with during feeding time. This can act as a distraction and make feeding a special time. Tell your son that you will spend some time playing with him when you have put the baby down to sleep. Make sure you carry through with any promises you make to spend time with your son. Providing some structured attention with mummy or daddy can really make a difference as does encouraging extended family and friends to share some of their attention with both your son and baby.

  • I am going to be in the hospital for a couple of days, but I'm still breastfeeding my newborn. How do I manage?

    As you have a couple of weeks until you are admitted to hospital, building up a supply of breast milk in your freezer will provide milk for your baby when you are unable to feed. In hospital, arrange ahead for your baby to room in with you (as per hospital policies to promote, protect and support breastfeeding), with the support of your partner or alternately to be brought into you at regular intervals to breastfeed. When you are being admitted talk to the nurses about your needs as a breastfeeding mother. You may need to ask for assistance to sit up to breastfeed or to express when you have returned from the operation. At home, your baby may be a little fussy or even refuse the breast when they are reintroduced to the breast. This may be a reaction to the emotional and physical separation of mother and baby and if the baby needed to be temporarily offered milk feeds from a bottle. Gently persist in offering the breast, as it may take a little while before baby settles back into a good feeding pattern.

  • Does Tresillian support breastfeeding?

    Our nurses and paediatricians are committed to supporting breastfeeding if this is the mother’s chosen method of feeding her baby. Breastfeeding encouragement, education and support is provided to mothers striving to overcome difficulties breastfeeding. However, if a mother makes the decision to wean this will be respected and supported. If a mother chooses to give her baby an infant formula or has to wean for whatever reason, the nurses will support and help the mother to ensure that infant feeding is an important and pleasurable experience for both her and the baby.

  • Is it safe to have a COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding?

    Please refer to detailed information here from Commonwealth Department of Health. Copy and paste this link into your browser. https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/06/covid-19-vaccination-shared-decision-making-guide-for-women-who-are-pregnant-breastfeeding-or-planning-pregnancy-covid-19-vaccination-shared-decision-making-guide-for-women-who-are-pregnant-breastfeeding-or-planning-pregna_0.pdf

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