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How to Improve Milk Production for a Nursing Baby

by Susan Revermann

The nutrient-rich milk that your body produces for your baby is the best food source you can offer her. Although your breast milk supply will naturally fluctuate throughout your breastfeeding experience, you can help improve your milk production and keep it up with some nursing and daily lifestyle changes. The more proactive and aware you about boosting your milk supply, the better your results will be.

Nurse your baby frequently. Your body produces breast milk on a supply and demand basis. The more your baby nurses or the more you express yourself, the more you will make. Try to nurse or pump every two hours during the day. Try to never miss a feeding or pumping session, if you can help it.

Switch sides during each feeding. Either let baby finish one breast and offer the other or switch sides at least three or four times during each nursing session.

Pump breast milk after your baby has finished nursing. This will remove any leftover milk and will signal to your body to produce more milk. Store the expressed milk for later use.

Feed your baby breast milk from your breast or a bottle and avoid feeding her formula and juice if you can. When you are the sole supplier of milk for your baby, you will be nursing more frequently than you would if you offer both breast milk and formula.

Drink lots of water throughout the day. Your body needs plenty of liquids to produce breast milk. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends 13 cups of water and other hydrating liquids each day for a lactating woman. Avoid coffee, soda and alcohol, which can dehydrate you and may temporarily reduce your milk production.

Reduce your daily stress, whenever possible, eat healthy foods and take care of your body. Stress, illness and some medications can affect your milk production temporarily, according to KidsHealth.

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