Got milk? Breastfeeding tips for boosting your low milk production

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Ensure that your baby’s whole body is turned towards you. (iStock)
Ensure that your baby’s whole body is turned towards you. (iStock)

So many first-time moms worry that their babies are not getting enough milk when they breastfeed, and admitted it is difficult to tell how much your baby is drinking.

Sure, it’s a valid concern, but trust that your body knows exactly how much your baby needs and your baby is not going hungry.

This is because your breast milk works on a supply-and-demand principle – basically, your baby tells your body how much milk to make when drinking.

The more he drinks, the more milk you produce. As long as your baby continues to suck, suckle, or even just lick the nipple, the milk-producing alveoli will fill with help from the hormone called prolactin that peaks during breastfeeding.

Another milk-producing hormone called oxytocin contracts the tiny muscle fibres around the milk-producing alveoli (this causes the pins and needles sensation you may feel), squeezing the milk into the ducts that lead towards the nipple.

Simply put, milk production can’t begin without the stimulation of the baby’s mouth around the mother’s nipple. This stimulation releases the hormone called prolactin into the bloodstream that jumpstarts milk production and oxytocin that sustains milk production.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t go through periods where your milk production seems a bit low in relation to how much your baby is feeding.

This is particularly common during your baby’s growth spurts, where he drinks more to sustain a period of busy growth.

You can make more milk if you’re struggling with these tips:

Make sure that your baby is correctly positioned and latched – you may need the help of a professional lactation consultant to help you learn how to do this.

Ensure that your baby’s whole body is turned towards you.

Check that your baby takes long, deep sucks.

You shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort. Check your latch if you do.

Phone a friend to help you around the house if your partner has gone back to work already so that you can spend the day in bed with your baby.

Make sure that your baby feeds as often as she needs to during this time and that you’re relaxed and recuperating.

Eat as much as you need to but make sure it’s quality food that’s nutritious and calorie packed.

Drink water, diluted juice and milk drinks like yoghurt and smoothies to avoid dehydration.

Relax and de-stress by watching a favourite show, chatting to a motivating friend, reading a book or just snoozing.


Share your stories and questions with us via email at Anonymous contributions are welcome.

Don't miss a story!

For a weekly wrap of our latest parenting news and advice sign up to our free Friday Parent24 newsletter.

Follow us, and chat, on Facebook and Twitter.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24