If you’re reading this article, chances are:
- you’ve just had a baby and your breast milk isn’t coming in fast enough,
- you’re pregnant and want to know how to prepare for breastfeeding before baby arrives, or
- You’re a new mom who is struggling to produce enough milk for her baby.
Whatever brought you here, congrats on that sweet baby!! You’re in the right place!
Help! My breast milk isn’t coming in!
With my first two babies, I planned to exclusively breastfeed. My first baby was an unplanned C-section and my breast milk took FOREVER to come in. I mean, I was starting to lose all hope. My milk didn’t come in until day FOUR.
With my second baby, I had a repeat C-section and a little experience under my belt. I was sure my milk would come in right away. After all, I’d done this before! Surely my body knew what to do, right?! Nope. It was the end of day THREE before my milk came in.
While preparing for the birth of baby number three, I started to research things I could do to make my milk come in faster.
With my first two babies, I ended up exclusively pumping for them, and this time I was determined to nurse my daughter.
So I began researching “how to make your breast milk come in sooner.”
And ya know what? All my research paid off! After my third baby was born (also by C-section – you can read about how to have a gentle cesarean and also a birth story here), my milk came in at under 48 hours! That’s a full day sooner than with my middle child!
7 Tips For How To Make Your Breast Milk Come In Faster
Here are the exact steps I took to help my breast milk come in 24 hours sooner.
1. Immediate skin-to-skin
Before my C-section, I talked to my doctor about how important skin-to-skin was to me. He was totally on board with my birth preferences, and I was able to have skin-to-skin contact with my baby girl as soon as her cord was cut. (We did delayed cord clamping and banked the rest of her cord blood with CBR.)
I stayed skin-to-skin with her from the time she was born until about 20 minutes later when my husband wanted his turn to hold her. After we moved to the recovery room, we stayed skin-to-skin pretty much the rest of the day.
If you’ve already had your baby, be sure to get lots of skin-to-skin contact with him or her. Regardless of whether you had immediate skin-to-skin immediately after the birth, spending time skin-to-skin now will help your breast milk come in and give your milk supply a boost.
2. Nursing within the first hour of birth
To be honest, I could have nursed her on the operating table. But I didn’t. I’m so clumsy and the thought of trying to latch her flat on my back made me nervous. But I did latch her on the moment we got to the recovery room. She was latched on within the first hour of her birth.
The first hour after birth is called “the golden hour.” This is when your oxytocin levels are at its highest. Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin within the first hour promotes the mother-child bond and also gives your chances of successful breastfeeding a boost. Also, the very first milk that your baby gets is called colostrum and it is a natural antibiotic that can protect your baby from all kinds of diseases.
This is the time when you get to know your baby better. You as a mom can feel if something is not right with the baby, like for example, if they have a high temperature or if they don’t have the power to suck properly. Every change with your baby is something you need to inform the pediatrician about. Everything can be solved if you react in time.
3. Breastfeeding basically 24/7
As a first time mom, I had no idea that babies wanted to breastfeed literally 24/7. I thought something was wrong and started to panic! (I also had her on a schedule and only fed her every two-three hours.) With my third baby, I knew that frequent nursing was totally normal and would only help my milk come in faster.
The night after she was born, my daughter literally nursed all night. For real, as soon as I thought she was done, 15 minutes later she was crying again.
I was on a birth high and I loved gazing at her perfect little face. Reminding myself not to get overwhelmed when she wanted to nurse again, I just went with the flow and let her nurse on demand.
Nursing super-frequently is called “cluster feeding” and is totally normal. I know you’re tired. I know people are telling you, “That baby’s starving!” But take a deep breath, mama.
Nursing frequently isn’t unusual. It will HELP your supply. You got this!
4. Drinking pineapple juice
This one may seem crazy, but I read an article somewhere (I tried to find it and link to it, but this was almost 3 years ago, so I don’t remember which one it was!) that said you should bring pineapple juice to the hospital to help with breast milk coming in.
Pineapple juice is an anti-inflammatory and can help to prevent/treat clogged ducts. I figured it was worth a shot, so I brought a few bottles of pineapple juice to the hospital and drank 1-2 per day (even after I got home) for the first few days after birth. This helped me a lot and my breast milk came fast. Another great tip that I got in the hospital is to pay attention to signs of dehydration. You need to drink a lot of water (or tea) because you’re breastfeeding or pumping all the time. You need to take care of yourself so you’ll have enough energy to take care of your little one as well.
5. Eating homemade lactation cookies
The day before my scheduled C-section, I baked a double batch of my famous oatmeal raisin lactation bars. (They are addictively good! Click here for the recipe.)
I taste-tested one (or two… or three) the day before surgery and packed a few to take with me to the hospital. As soon as I was “allowed” to eat solid foods again, I started eating these lactation bars.
Once I got home from the hospital, I continued eating one (or two – haha!) a day until I ran out. The catch with these lactation cookies is that they increase milk production faster. Plus, some of them are pretty yummy, so you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing yourself for anything.
When my son was born, the lactation consultants were surprised that my milk wasn’t coming in because he also nursed around the clock. (He weighed almost 10 pounds, so he came out hungry!)
The lactation consultant gave me a breast massage (awkward!) and encouraged me to do it myself while he was nursing and in between nursing sessions.
I remember this helped SO much, so I did it again after my third baby was born. This is a great tip for first-time mothers and the best thing is that there are so many YouTube videos that can show you how to do it properly. It’s not hard at all!
7. Early hospital discharge
Wanna know something strange? With each of my three babies, my milk has come in almost the moment I walked in the door of my own house. I stayed three nights at the hospital with my first baby, two nights with my second, and one night with my third.
Normally with a C-section, you’re required to stay two nights, but my midwife had mercy on my germaphobic, hospital-hating self and let me go 24 hours earlier than normal.
There’s just something about being in the comfort of your own home… something relaxing about being in your own environment! I think that had a lot to do with why my milk always came in instantly after walking through the door.
(Note: I 100% don’t recommend coming home the day after a C-section. That was brutal and I wouldn’t do it again if I had another baby. Lesson learned!)
If you’re stuck at the hospital (either voluntarily or involuntarily), be sure to rest and do some deep breathing to help your body relax and release any tension you may be carrying.
8. Find a good lactation consultant
A lactation consultant can help you a lot with better milk production, especially if you’re a first-time mom. You don’t have a clue about anything and you need a specialist to answer your questions and help you go through the whole process easier. If you don’t know where to find one, you can ask your gynecologist to recommend someone to you. When you explain to them that you’re a first-time mom, they’ll know how to calm you down and show you the best way for breast milk to come in.
Also, it depends if you’ll give birth vaginally or by C-section. Women who have a vaginal birth get their milk much faster. But those, like me, who give birth by C-section can wait up to 4 days for milk to come in. But with a professional who’ll tell you what you need to do, you can get your milk much faster, even if you had a cesarean section.
9. Use a breast pump
When you’re not breastfeeding, you can pump your milk so your baby has enough for the next feeding. Breast milk production will be better if you pump after breastfeeding. In the first week after giving birth, you’ll feel like all you’re ever doing is just feeding your baby or pumping, but it’s a process you need to go through.
Most board-certified lactation consultants will advise using this tactic for better milk production if you have low milk supply. New mothers who can’t express milk for their babies need some sort of breastfeeding support, whether it be a lactation consultant or maybe your mom who’ll show you how to breastfeed properly.
The first month is always the hardest to get a good latch, but if you’re persistent, anything is possible. When you feel you can’t do it anymore, that’s the moment you need to push the hardest. Trust me, it will pay off!
10. Try hand expressing
One of the best tips for breast milk to come in is hand expressing. If you have problems with milk let down due to C-section or some other problems, you can try gentle massage and using your hands to get more milk. Also, in the process, you need to pay attention to your baby’s birth weight. If your baby is getting bigger and bigger, if they are satisfied and not cranky, if they look healthy and react well, there is nothing to worry about. New moms sometimes think that they don’t have enough milk while breastfeeding, but that is not true. Maybe your baby likes to breastfeed at a slow pace and you can’t feel all the vibrations. If a baby is healthy and gets what they need, there is no need to worry about your milk supply. A hungry baby will always let you know if they’re missing something.
11. Drink water
Besides all the ingredients and juices you should take in to get a better milk supply, the most important thing is to drink a lot of water. Because you need a liquid inside your body if you want to produce milk – and what’s better than the good old water? It is recommended to drink 2 liters of water every day, but if you’re pumping more milk, you should be drinking more too.
It will also help your skin to be more elastic and water will prevent you from having those bad headaches. You’ll realize how much just a glass of water more helps your breasts produce more milk. Also, you won’t experience any signs of dehydration when taking enough water. So, just like a baby needs milk to grow, you also need water and other liquids to produce that milk.
12. Take time for pumping or breastfeeding
The worst thing you can do is to pump milk when you don’t have enough time. Always make sure that you’re relaxed when doing it and give yourself enough time. When you decide to do it, find your spot and make sure your baby is sleeping. That way, you’ll be able to focus on getting more milk and not be stressed out about anything else.
The same rule goes for breastfeeding. New moms need some time to create a deeper bond with their babies, so the best way to do it is to be alone with them. When you’re breastfeeding, go to your room or someplace where nobody will interrupt you. That will help you to relax and spend some quality time with your baby. Forget all about the housework or guests that are planning to pop in for a visit. The only thing that’s important now is you and your baby, and the incredible bond between the two of you that grows deeper every day.
I hope these tips were helpful for you! Hang in there, mama! You got this!
PS: If you’re a new pumping mom who needs extra support…
I’ve created an online course called Pumping Mom Academy designed to teach you all you need to know about pumping MORE milk with LESS stress!
P.S. Don’t forget to pin this article for later!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure for more info.