The second tip, which I have covered in other articles, is to make sure that you allow your baby to completely empty a breast, ensuring she receives the high-fat hindmilk of at least the first breast, and that she does not just fill up on the foremilk. Do not limit how long you allow your baby to nurse on one side, but make sure that she is finished before switching her to the other breast.
If your baby tends to fall asleep after a few minutes, or to switch to lighter, comfort nursing before she has emptied the first breast completely, you can try switch nursing or burp-and-switch nursing. As soon as you notice her drifting into a sleepy state and not swallowing anymore, switch her to the other breast. You can choose to burp her first in order to wake her up further. Watch her again, and when she drifts again switch her back to the first side. You can keep this up until at least one side is emptied, and she has had enough to eat.
Double nursing technique is another alternative to the tips given so far. After you finish nursing your baby, hold her upright for about fifteen minutes, while keeping her awake. Then put her on each breast again. This should stimulate more milk-ejection reflexes, and a higher-calorie content for your milk. When feedings are closer together the milk produced has a higher fat content. This may be due to having more hindmilk.
When babies are particularly sleepy and uninterested in nursing, it can be very helpful to undress them and to have skin-to-skin contact with you while you breastfeed. This can help them feel more stimulated as their whole bodies can sense you.
Nap or nighttime nursing can give you more opportunities for frequent nursing. Nursing your baby at night or in your bed can be an amazing technique for stimulating more milk production. Learn how to nurse your baby while you lie down with her. This way you can both be very relaxed. Longer and more frequent feedings can be easier to manage. Some mothers find that they can carry their babies in a sling and nurse them more often while they’re in there. This can sometimes help sleepy babies stay awake during feedings.
Get rest yes, yes, everyone tells you to get rest, just like they probably did when you were pregnant. Try to sleep whenever your baby sleeps. That’s what you have already heard and will keep hearing, because it is essential. Even today, when my youngest son is almost 3-years-old, his naptime is my down time. I don’t usually sleep, but I do nap at least once a week, sometimes more, depending on life. It’s just important for everyone to put their feet up and take a break. And believe me, I know it’s tough to get rest. For me it’s more about all the housework chores I always struggle to keep up with, especially since I have other children. For you it may be because your baby has colic and wants to be held, rocked, bounced and walked all the time. Or it may be because you suffer from anxiety or insomnia. If your body is not getting adequate rest it will not have the energy it needs to produce enough milk. Do whatever you can to get rest. If you have too many household chores to do, then reach out for help. Do not be ashamed to share with people that your body needs more rest in order to give your baby the best start in life. If you are burnt out because of emotional, physical or psychological circumstances, do not be embarrassed to ask for extra help around the house. That is one area where people can actually do something for you. If you suffer from anxiety or insomnia try the herbal tea recipes here http://www.newmotherwellness.com/recipes.html. If it’s not that complicated and you just simply have a lot of energy and like to be on the go, go, go, then…
Get household help. If you are sleeping enough, still get household help. This will help you have time to nurse more often, to have your baby in your arms, and to be present with her instead of multi-tasking all the time. Even if you get a cleaning lady once a week, just to mop, vacuum, catch up on the laundry, and help out with dishes, that’s a huge help for anyone. It has the potential to free up hours from your week, and not to mention the break from the constant tasks you do day in and day out.
No pacifiers, no bottles I have to admit that I gave all my children a pacifier. However, I only did this once nursing was flowing smoothly and my supply was established. If you are struggling to increase your milk supply you want to let your little one suck on your breast whenever she is hungry, thirsty, or just wants comfort and soothing. The more often she’s on your breast, the more your body will get the message to produce. If you want to read more about my experience with giving my babies pacifiers you can look forward to an upcoming article “To Give a Pacifier/Soother or not…”
Your state of mind can often have a big impact on your milk production. Before you nurse your baby you can imagine her being at your breast, and your milk pouring forth to your baby’s enjoyment. While you are actually nursing your baby, focus on her. Enjoy her precious face and touch her, by stroking her with your hand and by having skin-to-skin contact with her. Help yourself and your baby relax and enjoy your closeness. There may be herbs (Galactogogues) that some have found to increase milk supply. However, it is likely that in reality these have a placebo effect. If a mother believes she is doing something, ingesting something, or drinking something that will increase her milk supply then it is likely to. She feels more relaxed and trusting in the process of her body’s milk production, and in turn her expectations come to fruition. Imagining the milk ejection reflex (MER) can lead to an actual MER. This goes along the same lines as relax and trust in your body’s ability to meet your baby’s needs.
Get professional help when you need it. While I try to provide you with as many tools to feel capable and supported, there is no replacer for a real person by your side, supporting you and providing encouragement. You can get the help you need from a friend or relative, or from a La Leche League member or a lactation consultant. They can help you verify that your baby is in fact nursing well, i.e. has a good latch and is swallowing effectively. They can also help instill the confidence you need to more forward.