Your breastmilk supply works in response to your baby’s feeding patterns.

Generally, the more you breastfeed your baby, the more breastmilk you will continue to produce. If you have concerns about too little or too much milk, the below information may be useful for you.

For some women, low milk supply can be a bit of a worry.

Low milk production is almost always connected to the way breastfeeding is managed.

If you feel you need to boost your milk supply, there are a few ways you can do this:
  • hold your baby close with lots of skin to skin will help increase your milk supply
  • responsive breastfeeding involves responding to your baby’s cues, and letting them feed as often and for as long as needed
  • make sure your baby is feeding effectively and removing milk from your breast
  • offer both sides at each feed. Let your baby finish one side first, then offer the second side
  • try not to give your baby anything other than breast milk. The more you breastfeed your baby, the more milk you’ll produce. If you want to give your baby a dummy, try to wait a few weeks – or until you are both comfortable and confident with breastfeeding
  • you could also try expressing after a feed if your baby does not adequately soften both breasts
  • don’t forget to look after you! Remember to stay hydrated and eat plenty of nutritious food to keep your energy levels up

Essentially, the more you breastfeed your baby, the more milk you will produce. If your baby is attached properly, and you’re both comfortable and feeding them when they ask for it, you will make enough milk.

There are a few things you can try to increase and maintain your breastmilk supply:
  • breastfeed your baby exclusively with your breastmilk
  • the more you feed your baby, the more milk you will make
  • respond to your baby’s feeding cues. Responsively feed your baby, letting them feed whenever and for however long they need to
  • if you feed from one breast, offer the other when your baby finishes on one side
  • lots of skin-to-skin, holding your baby nice and close
  • your milk production hormone prolactin is higher at night, making night feeds even more important to protecting and increasing your supply. Lots of cuddles and feeling relaxed will help your milk to flow
  • try not to offer anything else to your baby (such as a dummy, or bottles), as this can sometimes lead to a missed breastfeed which signals to your body less milk is needed
  • it’s important to encourage feeding your baby regularly day and night, and not leaving big gaps between feeds.
If you’re doing all these things already but still have concerns about your breastmilk supply, speak to your midwife or health professional.

For some women, the may produce more milk than their baby needs.This is called a oversupply of milk, or hyperlactation.

When your baby is about three to five days old, it’s very common for your breasts to become very full for a few days as your milk comes in.

This can cause your breasts to feel like they are uncomfortable and engorged.

If you feel engorged the majority of the time and find your milk supply is more than your baby needs, this may be an oversupply.

Sometimes a generous amount of milk can make feeding uncomfortable and stressful for you and your baby.

Usually an oversupply with settle down by about six to eight weeks if you’re feeding responsively according to your baby’s feeding cues.

There are a few things you can try to make feeding with an oversupply a bit more comfortable:

  • breastfeeding more regularly
  • try hand expressing a little before a feed, to take the edge off any discomfort you may be feeling
  • making sure your baby has a good latch. This can help them cope with a faster milk flow better
  • try and feed your baby in a laid back feeding position. It can help to slow the flow down a little if your baby finds it hard to latch
Baby breastfeeding

Experiencing any breast pain?

If you are experiencing any breast pain, it’s best to speak with your midwife, health professional or breastfeeding peer supporter who can look into the cause of the pain.