Can I Increase Milk Supply During Pregnancy?

Kathleen Tackett's picture

QUESTION

Dear Lactation Consultant,
Hi. I was unable to breastfeed my first child for several reasons. He was given a bottle first because he was sick and I think I didn't produce enough milk. I am a month and a half pregnant and I am wondering if there is something I can do right now that will increase the milk flow when I do give birth. I will also be letting my doctor know that I had problems and will see about getting help for latching on but I wonder if I can change my diet or something now that may help. I would appreciate you letting me know of anything.

Thank you,
Leanne

ANSWER

Hi Leanne,
Unfortunately, I don't know of anything you can do during your pregnancy to increase your milk production after your baby's birth.I can assure you that many mothers have problems nursing their first baby and then have a much easier time with the second. The best way to prevent problems is to educate yourself beforehand about the basics of latch on and positioning and what to expect when the baby is born, and to have a good support system in place in the event that problems do develop.

I don't know what kind of support/advice you had before, but if you gave up on nursing because of low milk supply, then something was wrong. There is only a small percentage of mothers who can't breastfeed, and most of the time this is due to medical problems that can be corrected. Hopefully this time you won't be sick after your baby is born, and that will make a difference.

A good lactation professional will be able to work with you to discover the cause of the problem and make recommendations to remediate it early on, whether the problem is soreness or low supply or whatever.It is very important to have a good support system in place so that you will have someone to call for advice at the first sign of problems. Find out if there are any IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) in your area. These are healthcare professionals who have received extensive training in lactation, above and beyond the training that doctors or RNs receive. They are the only members of your health care team whose focus is primarily breastfeeding.

Most major hospitals have IBCLCs on staff, and some IBCLCs are in private practice.You can find an IBCLC in your area by contacting ILCA (International Lactation Consultant Association) at 312-541-1710 or by e-mail. Go to Medela's website or call 1-800-TELLYOU to find out what breastfeeding resources are available nearby. Your nearest La Leche League group can be found by calling 1-8-LALECHE or going to their website.

There are some articles on my website that might have some helpful information for you:
· Establishing Your Supply: Starting Off Right
· Increasing Your Milk Supply

I hope that everything goes smoothly for you this time, and wish you all the best.

-- Anne, IBCLC