Q: Dr Ketch, I am a new mom in South Africa and struggling with breastfeeding, I am mot expressing enough milk to exclusively breastfeed my now 2 month old son. Do you have ant tips for me? Thanks
A: Congratulations on your new baby!
Breast milk is the best food for baby, generally speaking. The supply of breast milk is based on its demand. And so, if demand for it is high, supply will be high and vice versa. The more efficiently milk is removed from the breast, the more milk production is stimulated. And so, you need to make a conscious effort to get baby to suck more.
If your baby sucks, the let-down reflex ensures that your breast fills up with breast milk. Flat nipples can appear to be a challenge for breast feeding, especially for first time mothers but remember that babies are supposed to latch on to the areola (the black area surrounding the nipples) and not on to the nipples. Press on the areola with your thumb on top and fingers underneath and push back against your chest wall while pressing in with your thumb and fingers. This helps elongate the areola and so, provided you position the baby properly on the areola, breast feeding can go on with no issues.
Here are other tips that could help increase milk supply:
• Be sure that baby is attached properly and get him to suckle on the breast very often. Remember that breast milk production is a function of the breast milk let down reflex which is activated when baby sucks.
• If you can find a private space within your office where you can express milk, go for it.
• Increase the number of feeds per day. You could work with a timetable of a feed every 2 to 3 hours. In your case, as many times as is possible when you get back from the office.
• Switch breasts during a meal time. Let the first breast ‘empty’ before switching baby to the other breast. This can be repeated several times during a feed.
• Massage your breast and stroke towards the baby
• Perhaps over the weekend, room in with your baby and get him to feed as much as possible. The let down reflex will be greatly stimulated and so, you could even pump some for when you will be at work and freeze.
Personally, I found that using my hands to ‘milk’ my breasts produced sufficient amounts of breast milk for my always-hungry-can’t-seem-to-get-enough-food-baby. You may want to try that.
Have a good night, y’all 😀