milk supply 101

building supply in the early days

How milk supply actually works

1. At first, milk supply is hormone-driven

Your body makes colostrum (thick, protein- & antibody-rich early milk) during pregnancy

Once placenta is delivered, the hormone prolactin kicks in

Prolactin signals it's time to make larger amounts of milk

2. Once baby starts nursing, supply is demand-driven

Baby's suckling each time they breastfeed signals your brain to release prolactin & oxytocin

These hormones prompt body to release milk and make more

The more your baby drinks from you, the more your body makes

Tips for building supply

Breastfeed on demand

Nurse when baby asks; ~8-12X/24 hrs

Each session ~20-40 mins; baby will get more efficient as times goes on

Most babies need both sides for full feeding (doesn't have to be equal amounts); switch sides when baby starts to get sleepy and less active

Cluster feeding is hard but builds supply

Cluster feeding (feedings spaced very close together) is common; babies prompt this on their own

Often happens 2nd night after birth; can again in following weeks

Baby is helping you bring in mature milk faster and build supply

Special foods not needed, but do stay hydrated

Little evidence supports claims that specific foods affect supply

Water also doesn't boost supply, but do stay well-hydrated (breastmilk is >85% water)

Keep water nearby and drink as much as you're thirsty for

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