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Q&A: Increasing Your Milk Supply

Elizabeth Keefe


Q I am the mother of a three-month-old and am not happy with the amount of milk she is getting. Breastfeeding never really got off to a good start with me. I tried without using the formula for 11 days, but finally had to give in as my baby simply was not getting enough. I still feed her but formula is what satisfies her. Is there anything I can do to increase my supply?

A The best way to increase your milk supply is to nurse more frequently. Start this by gradually increasing the number of times you nurse your baby. For example, if you nurse every 2 hours, try nursing every 1 1/2 hours. Be sure to write down when you nurse and how long each feeding lasts. Breastfed babies usually nurse for fifteen minutes on each breast.

It much easier to see exactly how much milk you are giving when you express your milk using an electric breastpump. If you are getting at least 4 ounces in 15 minutes of using and electric breastpump (pumping milk manually usually takes longer than it takes for a baby to express it), you can be assured that your baby is getting enough milk.

Then let your partner feed the baby with the expressed bottle of milk. When you see how long it takes for your baby to drink the bottle, you can have some idea of how much he is getting at each feeding. For example, if he drinks the 4 oz. bottle in fifteen minutes, then you can guess that when he breastfeeds.He is getting somewhere around 8 ounces of breastmilk at each half hour feeding, which is plenty.

You must be aware that breastfeeding and bottlefeeding are completely different forms of feeding your baby. Milk comes out easier in a bottle than a breast. You also must take into consideration position and attachment. If your baby is not positioned correctly at the breast he may not be able to get the amount of milk that he needs. Please read Positioning and Attachment.

Unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from having enough milk, you should have no problem increasing your milk supply and enjoying a remarkable bond with your new baby. Good luck!

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