A lot of things can lead to low milk supply, such as the return of menstrual period, sickness (especially with a fever), taking certain medications, and even not drinking enough water or fluids.
There’s nothing as stressful as worrying about if you’re producing enough breast milk for your baby. But, worry not! Just as your milk supply can easily take a dip, it can also be refilled quickly if you know what to do!
Read on as we answer your question of how can I get my milk to refill faster to meet your baby feeding demands but first let’s discuss how long it takes to refill your milk supply.
How Long Does It Take To Refill Your Milk Supply?
Well, this depends on the method that you try. There are effective ways by which you can refill your milk supply within a day, they include breast compressions and oatmeal – that we will discuss in detail below. There are alternative ways– like power pumping – that can take a while like a week or more to work.
Additionally, some ways of boosting milk supply can take some time before you can get started. For example, if you can’t find fenugreek or brewer’s yeast in any of the local grocery stores around you, then you may have to order it and wait some days. However, you can start any of these helpful tips we discussed below immediately.
Keep in mind that consistently practicing these methods will not only help you pump more milk over the next 24 hours but over the long term. As you should know breast milk production works just like supply and demand.
When you remove more milk from your breasts your body tells you that your baby’s demand has gone up, which results in increasing your milk supply. Thus the more milk you pump, the more milk your body produces.
Here’s how to remove your milk in three different ways
- You can either empty your breasts more frequently by breastfeeding or pumping more often.
- Empty your breasts each time you breastfeed.
- Empty your breasts each time you Pump
Empty Your Breasts More Frequently:
The key here is Frequency. Emptying your breast milk is important than the amount of time you spent feeding/pumping to increase your milk production.
- Include More Breastfeeding Sessions: After your baby is done with a feed, bounce your baby for about 10-20 minutes and allow him/her to burp. Doing this creates enough room for more milk and then feeds them again as soon as the baby is ready.
- Go For Nursing Vacation Or Pumping Holiday: Take baby to bed with you for about 2-3 days, and breastfeed or pump each time while you catch some rest afterward.
- Do More Night Feeding Sessions: Take advantage of peak prolactin hormone levels (the hormone responsible for the production of milk) which usually occurs between midnight and 5 am by waking your baby up for a feed.
- Try Not To Use Pacifiers: Make sure that all of the suckling your baby needs should all be at your breast. This helps to increase the milk supply, especially in the first month.
- Include More Pumping Sessions: Make sure you pump after or between each feeds. This technique plays a vital role especially when your baby is not nursing frequently enough. This helps refill your milk supply in all situations.
- Pump the Other Breast While Baby is Nursing: You should do this during the first-morning feed. Your body produces more milk during morning hours, so it’s best to do this to be able to get the most out during this session!
Read Also: What To Do With An Old Breast Pump
Empty Your Breasts During Breastfeeding:
- Ensure Baby Is Latched On Properly: If your baby is latching on the wrong way, then you should express milk to maintain milk supply while you sort out the breastfeeding problems. Several things can make your baby not latch on properly such as the use of nipple shields or some health or anatomical problems in the baby. To fix this, make sure you consult an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) as soon as possible!
- Offer Your Baby Both Breasts At Each Feed: Allow your baby to finish the first side before offering him/her the second side.
- Practice Switch Nursing: You should switch back and forth between your breasts multiple times during each feed. This plays a huge role in letting a sleepy or a baby that easily gets distracted keep nursing for a long time.
- Use Breast Massage and Compressions: Using massage and compressions can help refill your milk faster while keeping your baby feeding longer.
- Use Hand Expression: This method can help refill your milk faster when you include it in your daily routine. You can practice a quick 2-minute session before and after, or do it in between breastfeeding or pumping sessions.
Here’s a video showing how to perform hands expression
Empty Your Breasts During Pumping:
- Ensure Your Pump Is Properly Fitted And Working Well: If you want to refill your milk faster, ensure you have the right size flanges. A wrong-size flange can negatively affect your pumping output, thus affecting your milk supply. Make sure to replace valves/membranes in your pump about every 4-8 weeks and change your tubing immediately if it gets in touch with moisture.
- Keep Pumping Milk Even After The Last Drops Of Milk: If you want to refill your milk faster ensure you keep pumping your breast milk for about 2-5 minutes even after the last drops.
- Do Hands-On Pumping: Using a hands-free pumping bra and using breast compressions while pumping can help squeeze more milk out!
- Do Power Pumping To Boost Your Milk Supply: Power pump your breast by practicing a pumping “power hour.” To do this, simply pump for 10 min, then rest for 10 min. Pump for 10 min, then rests again for 10 min. Pump for 10 minutes more.
If you’re serious about refilling your milk supply the best pumps available to use are the hospital-grade double electric pumps like this one.
These pumps have been proven to be the best pumps to empty breasts most efficiently. Sometimes insurance companies will cover the rentals of these pumps.
Read Also: How To Dry Up Breast Milk
How Can I Get My Milk To Refill Faster? Other Helpful Tips
A lot of nursing moms have found that they pump more milk after consuming oatmeal. I tried this myself a few years ago and found that I pumped more than 1-2 oz of milk on the days that I ate oatmeal for breakfast.
I usually saw the effect on the next pumping session after consuming the oatmeal. You should try this! Of course, any kind of oatmeal will do the job – instant, old-fashioned, steel-cut, and so on.
It works effectively if you aim for a full serving as defined on the box or bag. I usually didn’t pay attention to plain oatmeal but found some wonderful overnight oats recipes that tasted a lot better.
2. Stay Hydrated
It’s a known fact that drinking enough water helps boost milk supply. A survey of exclusive pumpers was carried out a few years ago where nursing moms were asked what methods they thought helped them increase milk supply, interestingly, they all said drinking more water.
How much water should you drink while breastfeeding? Well, there are no evidence-based numbers to this, but I’d recommend filling up your water bottle and bringing it along with you to each pumping session. Always stay ahead of your water intake so you don’t ever feel thirsty.
Some nursing moms also swear by coconut water or Body Armor drinks! You can give any of these a try. Of course, it doesn’t always have to be water that you’ll be drinking. The target is to stay hydrated always.
Read Also: When To Start Drinking Mothers Milk Tea
3. Lactation Cookies
Lactation cookies are enriched with galactogogues, that is substances that can help boost your milk supply. Common examples of galactaogogues in lactation cookies are oats, flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast. You can purchase pre-made cookies (like this one) or you can make them yourself!
4. Skin To Skin Technique
Practicing skin-to-skin contact with your baby shortly after birth can help increase your maternal milk volume. This technique is purely one of the natural ways to increase milk supply.
All you have to do is to snuggle with your baby. While doing this, your baby should put on a diaper while you wear nothing on top. If the weather is chilly, you can cover yourself with a blanket.
5. Drink Nursing Teas
Just like eating lactation cookies, nursing teas contain galactogogues which can help boost milk supply. Some of its common ingredients are fenugreek, blessed thistle, and fennel.
The galactogogue dosages in nursing teas are usually smaller, this is why manufacturers usually recommend you have several cups per day. This should not be a problem for moms that like drinking tea!
Alternatively, if drinking tea is not your thing, you can mix it with Gatorade for a Lactation Lemonade “Lactorade.
6. Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle Capsules
Consuming herbal galactogogues can be quite effective especially when taken in capsule form.
A research that was carried out found that “nursing moms perceived herbal galactogogues, especially fenugreek, found it quite effective in boosting their breastfeeding adequacy.”
According to the study, moms who consumed fenugreek with blessed thistle found an increase in their milk production between 2-48 hours. You can find more details on fenugreek and blessed thistle including dosage here.
7. Find a Lactation Consultant
A lactation consultant is your best choice for getting a professional answer on what may be causing your low milk supply.
The lactation consultant will help ensure your baby’s latching properly, you’re in the best nursing position, and you have the right fit with your pumping parts and also provide you with general advice and encouragement.
Read Also: Foods That Make Breast Milk Taste Good
Lactogenic Foods To Help Refill Your Breast Milk Faster
Some foods can nourish your breastfeeding body better than others, and consuming some of these may even boost your milk supply and they include…
- yams, beets, carrots
- dark, leafy greens
- green papaya
- fennel/fennel seed
- oats, barley
- flax seed
- chickpeas, lentils
- raw nuts
- brewers yeast
- sesame seeds
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We hope this article has given an in-depth discussion to answer the question of how can I get my milk to refill faster.
Let us if you’ve tried any of these options to help increase your milk production fast? We would like to hear from you and know what worked for you, and what didn’t? Still, need to learn more? Learn the complete guide on how to store your breast milk