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How breastfeeding moms can increase their milk supply

Posted at 10:04 AM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2023-01-04 17:20:08-05

The recent formula shortages have left parents who use formula struggling to find enough formula for their babies. Some babies are exclusively breastfed, and others are exclusively formula-fed, but often moms turn to both breastfeeding and formula feeding either simultaneously or at different times.

For moms who are breastfeeding, it’s important for them to know how to increase their milk supply, whether their baby is going through a growth spurt or if parents can’t find the formula they need in stock.

“In Utah, 92 percent of moms initiate breastfeeding according to state data from 2020, which is really good. But at six months, only 64 percent of Utah moms are breastfeeding,” said Laura Rowbury, an international board-certified lactation consultant with Intermountain American Fork Hospital.

Last week the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their recommendations for breastfeeding to acknowledge the benefits of breastfeeding beyond one year.

For years clinical research has shown that breastfeeding is linked to decreased rates of lower respiratory tract infections, severe diarrhea, ear infections and obesity. Breastfeeding is associated with lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome, as well as other protective effects.

The new recommendations re-state the recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life and add the benefits of breastfeeding beyond one year and include:

• Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. There is no need to introduce infant formula or other sources of nutrition for most infants. Beyond 6 months, breastfeeding should be maintained along with nutritious complementary foods.

• There are continued benefits from breastfeeding beyond 1 year, and up to 2 years, especially in the mother. Long-term breastfeeding is associated with protections against diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancers of the breast and ovaries.

Tips to help moms build up milk supply:

1. Practice skin to skin contact. It helps stabilize the baby’s temperature, breathing, and heart rate. They cry less. It stimulates brain development. It improves milk production, reduces postpartum complications and depression.

2. Let baby determine the feeding schedule. Nurse baby when they’re hungry. Breast milk is digested quickly and easily so babies want to nurse often. Watch for feeding cues: rooting, sucking on their hand, crying when not wet or uncomfortable. Babies have growth spurts and may need to nurse more frequently at times.

3. Breastfeeding works by supply and demand. The more baby nurses, the more milk mom’s body will produce. Low milk supply is rare. Sometimes babies will cluster feed and nurse again a short time later and then go a longer time before the next feeding. That helps build milk supply.

4. Offer both breasts at each feeding. Nurse baby on both sides at each feeding. Be patient in the beginning. As babies grow, they get faster at nursing. If needed, pump or hand express after a feeding to draw out extra milk and signal the body to make more.

5. Practice self-care. Nursing moms require more fluids and about 2,000 calories per day to maintain a good milk supply. Stay hydrated, eat enough and sleep when the baby sleeps. Learn to manage stress.

More information:
For a list of local outpatient lactation consultant services, contact a nearby hospital or visit for a free complete guide to breastfeeding booklet.

You can also visit the Intermountain Moms Facebook page for videos that answer breastfeeding questions and provide breastfeeding tips. has a virtual breastfeeding class available for expectant parents. It’s a one session, two-hour class and offered often. Cost is $15.

There is a national U.S. government program called Women, Infants and Children (WIC) that helps pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and their children who are at nutritional risk. There is a WIC Hotline that is staffed Monday-Friday from 8 am - 5 pm. They can answer breastfeeding questions over the phone. The phone number is 1-877-942-5437.