Now it’s time to explore options for increasing your supply. Start with ideas that most closely address the root of your problem. Targeting your treatment to the causes you’ve identified will increase your odds for improvement. Physical techniques are the first line of defense when attempting to increase milk production because they capitalize on the principle of “demand and supply.” In uncomplicated cases of low milk production, it can take two to three days to notice a change. Results for more complicated cases may take longer, depending on the underlying cause. Physical techniques are often effective by them selves, or they can be combined with other techniques.
Breastfeed More Frequently
One way to encourage more frequent breastfeeding is to take a “babymoon” vacation at home with baby. Spend the weekend in bed together, cuddling and nursing. Take magazines, snacks, and beverages with you, and read, nap, knit, talk on the phone, or watch television. This vacation will not only help to encourage fre- quent nursing, but it will also result in a better rested baby and mother, and likely more milk by Monday.
Breast Massage and Compressions
Massage helps bring milk forward for easy removal and also helps stimulate milk ejection, which may be weaker with lower milk volume. Work from your chest forward toward your nipple with kneading or circular hand movements, using comfortable pressure. But don’t limit it to feeding time. Breast massage for general stimulation and enhancement is practiced in some cultures and is one of those “can’t hurt, may help” ideas.
Breast compressions (described in Blog_5) enhance milk removal by adding pressure inside the breast to propel milk through the ducts for easier removal by baby or pump. Start compressing when baby’s swallowing slows or when the flow slows for the pump; stop when swallowing or flow stops and repeat until it isn’t helping anymore. This easy and effective technique should be a part of every low-milk-supply strategy.
Warm, moist compresses applied to the breasts just prior to nursing or pumping can also help the milk to start flowing. There are commercial products, but you can make your own by filling a sock with uncooked non-instant rice and tying the end closed. The shape of the sock allows it to be wrapped comfortably around your breasts. Lightly dampen t and microwave for about thirty seconds so the sock is warm but not hot. A warm, wet washcloth is also helpful. Hot showers are famous for initiating milk ejection, although they may not always be convenient. You can even try nursing your baby in a warm bath.