How Can I Establish a Good Milk Supply?
Baby is on the way, and you're eager to start feeding up that bundle of adorableness. Are there measures you can take to produce enough milk from the get-go? Short answer: yes! The first week of breastfeeding is essential for establishing an adequate milk supply (Kent et al., 2012).
Following birth, immediate skin-to-skin contact between momma and baby has been shown to "increase the success rate and duration of the first lactation" (Karimi et al., 2019). Following the first lactation, mommas should continue to feed baby frequently. Frequent breastfeeding (~13 times per day) in the first week has positive correlations with passage of meconium in the first 24 hours of life, weight gain by day 7, and less time to achieve milk let-down (Okechukwu et al., 2006). While breastfeeding, it's important to eat enough calories. "During breastfeeding the mother needs to eat a sufficient and nutrient-rich diet to provide enough energy and nutrients to support milk production" (Theobald, 2007). This is because "the energy required to produce [breast] milk is about 630 kcal per day, [..] a quarter of the total energy intake of a lactating woman (2400 kcal/day)"(Kent, 2007). In addition to calories consumed, fat reserves deposited during pregnancy are reabsorbed to support lactation - good for baby and your figure!
In conclusion, to help establish your milk supply you should eat, baby should eat, and you two should enjoy close skin-to-skin snuggles!
Kent JC, Prime DK, Garbin CP. Principles for maintaining or increasing breast milk production. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2012 Jan-Feb;41(1):114-121.
Karimi FZ, Sadeghi R, Maleki-Saghooni N, Khadivzadeh T. The effect of mother-infant skin to skin contact on success and duration of first breastfeeding: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Jan;58(1):1-9.
Okechukwu AA, Okolo AA. Exclusive breastfeeding frequency during the first seven days of life in term neonates. Niger Postgrad Med J. 2006 Dec;13(4):309-12.
Kent JC. How breastfeeding works. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2007 Nov-Dec;52(6):564-70.
Theobald HE. Eating for pregnancy and breast-feeding. J Fam Health Care. 2007;17(2):45-9.