Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition

Making milk is easy — 10 steps to make plenty of milk. (long version)

  1. Frequent feeds, not formula.The more often you feed, the more milk you make. If you give formula, your baby will feel too full to nurse frequently, so you’ll make less milk. The average newborn nurses 10 times a day.
  2. All you need is breastmilk! The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians both recommend that your baby have a diet of purely breastmilk for the first 6 months –no other food or drink is needed. After that, solids can be added, with continued breastfeeding for a year or more.
    Why? Introducing formula too early in a baby’s life is linked with increased risk of diseases such as diarrhea and type 1 diabetes. Plus, the longer you breastfeed, the lower your risk of breast cancer.
  3. Feed early and often. Nurse as soon as possible after birth. Feed at the earliest signs of hunger: if baby’s awake, sucking on hands, moving his mouth or eyes, or stretching.
  4. If he didn’t swallow, he didn’t eat. Listening for the sound of swallowing will help you know if your baby’s getting enough. It’s normal for all babies to lose a little weight before your milk comes in – 7-10%. Get your baby weighed about 2 days after you go home. As your milk comes in, your baby should have at least 3 yellow stools a day.
  5. Say “No” to pacifiers and bottles. If pacifiers and bottles are used when your baby is hungry, you may not be nursing often enough to make plenty of milk. Nursing for comfort also helps you make more milk.
  6. Sleep near your baby and nurse lying down. You can rest or sleep while you feed your baby! There are several lying-down positions to practice. If you share a bed with your baby, make sure you’re away from a wall and there’s plenty of room. Never sleep on a couch with your baby.
  7. Have baby’s mouth open wide like a shout, with lips flipped out.The tip of your nipple should be in the back of his throat. He should be directly facing you, chest-to-chest, chin-to-breast. Proper positioning prevents sore nipples.
  8. Watch the baby, not the clock. Feed your baby when she’s hungry, and switch sides when swallowing slows down or she takes herself off the breast.
  9. Go everywhere! Plan to take your newborn everywhere with you for the first several weeks. You can nurse discreetly by covering up with a small blanket, and lifting your shirt up from the bottom – most people won’t know what you’re doing. You can start going out without your baby after the first few weeks, when someone else can introduce a bottle of breastmilk. You can even breastfeed after you go back to work.
  10. Don’t wait to ask for help, if you need it. Learning any new skill can require patience and extra advice. If you wait too long to get the help you need, it may be harder to breastfeed. Stick with it – it’s worth it!