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A number of things influence how much milk you produce (your milk supply). The two most important things are how often you breastfeed and how well your breast is emptied. The hormone that regulates milk production (prolactin) is stimulated by breastfeeding. So the more frequently you feed your baby and empty your breasts, the more milk your body produces.
Breast milk changes over time with a baby's nutritional needs. The first milk produced is colostrum, a sticky, yellowish liquid that contains protein, minerals, vitamins, and antibodies. Colostrum is produced during pregnancy and the first few days after delivery. The transitional milk comes in after the colostrum, followed by mature milk about 10 to 15 days after you deliver your baby.
Follow these tips to help build and maintain your milk supply:
Many women are concerned that they are not producing enough milk. True milk insufficiency, or low milk supply, is rare. But it takes time to establish your milk supply. If you've tried feeding your baby more often and you still don't think your baby is getting enough milk, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant. He or she can help you determine whether you have a problem with your milk supply and help you solve it.
Cautions about alternative remedies for low milk supply
Some women are advised to try herbal remedies to increase milk supply, such as fenugreek, fennel, or various herbal teas. But do not use any of these remedies without first consulting your health professional. The effect of herbal remedies on milk supply has not been well studied. Some medicines are available that may help increase a woman's milk supply. Talk to your doctor if you are worried about your milk supply.
Although domperidone is available in some countries to treat gastric disorders, it is a medicine that is not approved for any use in the United States. Still, some breastfeeding women obtain this medicine and take it to increase their milk supply. This medicine increases milk supply by stimulating the production of the hormone prolactin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings for breastfeeding women to not take domperidone because of its potential dangerous side effects (such as irregular heartbeat and sudden death). Also, the drug has unknown effects on the breastfeeding infant.footnote 1
U.S Food and Drug Administration (2004). FDA warns against women using unapproved drug, domperidone, to increase milk production. FDA Talk Paper T04-17. Available online: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/ucm173886.htm.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah A. Marshall, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology
Current as ofNovember 21, 2017
Current as of:
November 21, 2017
Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology
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