Dear Judy, I am looking for information on how one would increase their milk supply. My sister’s milk came in, but she has low supply. She has tried fenugreek, mother’s milk tea, and marathon pumping. She had her baby two weeks ago and the most she gets out is 20mls when she pumps. She can’t nurse him directly yet because he was premature and needs the warmth of the incubator….he is just 28 wks…2lbs…she is trying so hard! Any advice you can pass along would be appreciated.
Congratulations to your sister on her new baby. The first thing that you should tell her is that she is going a GREAT job! Her baby is very tiny and the 20 mls that she is pumping is probably a pretty normal amount for a baby of his size. Remember that a baby’s stomach is only as large as his/her little fist – so when they are first born, they won’t drink very much – and if they are premature, they will need even less in terms of volume. The great news is that the human body is AMAZING! Our bodies know when we are feeding a pre-mature baby and the milk that we produce for a premature baby is different than the milk that we would produce for a full-term baby. It is exactly what her baby needs!
Please tell your sister to pump consistently. Pumping at the same time every day will help her supply to develop and will give her body a schedule on which it will start to produce milk. She will also need to pump often. A baby of that size is probably going to need to eat every 1-2 hours. So she will want to pump as often as the baby eats. This will also help her supply.
For supplements, tell her to keep taking the fenugreek and to make sure that she is taking enough of it. Her skin will smell like maple syrup when she is taking enough.
Once she is able to, tell her to nurse the baby directly as often as possible. Her baby will be much more efficient than her pump at getting out her milk and the skin-to-skin contact will be good for both her baby’s development as well as your sister’s milk supply.
For additional pumping tips, please refer your sister to our “pumping tips” website where there are lots of tips and tricks for increasing your supply.
Did you have a premature baby? Please leave a comment on this post to offer additional tips for this new mom!