Hello! I typed these 2 posts in another thread. I hope it helps you. I started my so called 'strategy' when my baby was 3 weeks. he is 7 weeks now. =)
How I increase my milk flow:
increase the time you pump. start with 15 minutes. even if there's no milk after 10 mins, just continue for 5 minutes more. then after there's milk for 15 minutes, increase by 5 minutes each time. it works for me. now i pump for 30 minutes at least and i get about 140-220ml in total each time. it is really possible. i started pumping and get a few drops at the beginning. i couldn't even form 1 proper layer in the bottle. pumping helps to increase supply.
another thing is, dont't look at the bottle to see how much milk. at the beginning i kept staring at the bottle and wondering why so little milk during the whole pumping duration. after that, i just surf on my laptop and chill. it works! before you know it, there will be lots of milk in the bottle. maybe it's just psychological but i think it reduces your stress level and thus, more milk!
i'm exclusively breastfeeding. but i pump all my milk out and bottle feed. i pump about 5 times a day. the drawback about this is, if i try to latch my baby direct, my flow is too fast and my milk actually spray out during let down. i dont't know if it's because i set my pump too strong. oh well, at least i've milk.
do try to pump! =)
Sometimes my boy will latch on and keep grumbling. And then his face turn red, unlatch and start crying. Then I have to offer him my nipple and he continue to suck, and grumble and face turn red then unlatch then cry and the cycle continues. Even when I give him bottle, he will still do it sometimes. Initially, I thought I have not enough milk, fast let down, etc. But he does the same thing to the bottle.. So until now I dont't know what is the cause. when he does it, i will be patient and keep trying to latch/bottlefeed him. no choice..
Pump after baby feed, both breast. make sure all the milk is out and then add 5 minutes. But I repeat my word of caution because now my flow is very strong and my let down is strong because of the pumping. My son cannot take it (cough because of the fast flow). Too much pumping I guess. I got lots of supply now, which is good for accumulating as I'm starting school next week. Stress = drop in supply so I'm preparing. I realise that my son fuss lesser with the bottle compared to breast. That was what made me pump more in the first place. I was sad when I decided not to latch him direct because of the closeness I felt with him. But I got over it soon. He feeds better, faster and less fuss with bottle.
My goal is to pump and bottle feed him without latching at all. So take my schedule with a pinch of salt if you dont't intend to do that and continue latching. Initially, I latch him on, and then pump the rest of the milk, plus 5 minutes after the milk is drained. Then once my supply start increasing, I slowly gave more bottle than breast until he is totally on bottle. Then, I pump every 4 hours, from 15 minutes milk flow + 5 minutes stimulation, 20 minutes milk flow + 5 minutes stimulation, 25 minutes milk flow + 5 minutes stimulation and so on. When I reach about 180ml in total, I stop stimulating the extra minutes as I dont't want oversupply. I chose 180 ml because my storage container maximum 180ml. Haha!! Sometimes, when I get over 180ml, I simply put the extra in the fridge and feed him when he's hungry. Right now, my pumping schedule currently is as follows. 5am, 10am, 3pm, 7pm, 12am (plus minus 1 hour). 5 times a day. I give 4-6 hours in between each pump. I do curse and swear when my alarm goes off at 5am and I need to pump with eyes half close. my total volume ranges from 140-220ml. The drawbacks of this schedule is, when I go out to run errands, I have to make it within 4-5 hours and then rush home to pump. Otherwise, my breast will be hard and leak like crazy. Hopefully I can handle this when I return to school.
Initially, I have to pump and feed the milk to my baby immediately. As my supply increases, I'm slowly able to have extra milk to store in the freezer. From zero bottles to 10 bottles of 160ml each and still increasing. I started pumping with just a few drops in the bottle I almost regret buying a pump. So just a word of encouragement, it is possible. Just persevere!
Anyway, when I had low supply, I scout the forum for what strategies others use to increase their supply especially with the help of pumping. Ultimately, it's trial and error because different mum has different bodies, different schedule, work commitment, lifestyle etc. what works for me does not work for you. So it's an experiment! Other's experience can only give you an idea, not a solution. You have to come up with your own.
I do not eat any breastfeeding supplements to boost milk supply right now. Before that, towards end of pregnancy, I drank papaya fish head soup. Thomson medical centre gave milk boosting soup during my stay. And first few weeks during confinement I drank a few of such soups. I dont't know whether it helps. I wanted to buy milk boosting tea. But all is so expensive and i'm not sure whether they are effective in the first place. I believe more in physical stimulation then eating something because I can see the effect physically. Seeing is believing. Lol!!
People who have lots of milk started with very little. I had my own frustrations and disappointment. Initially, in the hospital after giving birth, I did not have enough colostrum and baby wasn't satisfied. So the nurses ask me for permission to feed him with glucose water or formula milk. Through the nursery window, I saw the nurse cup feeding my baby with formula milk. The more he drunk, the more heart pain I felt because I want to give him the best gift a mum can give but can't. Sad when I come to think of it. Everyone who is successful in breastfeeding had to work hard. =)
Take your time. No stress. Persevere and enjoy motherhood!!!