A New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding/How do I establish, maintain, and increase my milk supply?

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How do you establish, maintain, and increasing your milk supply?

Your milk supply will be established during the first few days and weeks after the birth of your baby. Nursing early (within the first half-hour), and frequently (on demand, or 8-12 times per day), allows you to nurse comfortably and efficiently. It usually takes less than one minute for an infant to stimulate the milk ejection reflex. You should feel little discomfort or pain when breast feeding appropriately.

Within 6 and 8 weeks, your milk supply will adjust to your baby's needs. Before that time, your breasts may feel either too full or too empty. Frequent, comfortable feedings will maintain your milk supply. Your milk supply will increase or decrease based on your baby's hunger and energetic sucking (milk demand or use).

Changes in your milk supply will occur within one to three days after changes in milk demand or use. Every few weeks, your baby may seem to want to eat all the time. It’s thought that this happens when he's or she’s getting ready for a growth spurt. A few days of intense nursing are his or her way of telling your breasts to increase milk production.


Davidson, M., London, M., & Ladewig, P. (2008). Newborn Nutrition. In Maura Conner (Ed.), Olds' maternal-newborn nursing & women's health across the lifespan (8th ed., Rev., pp. 890-927). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.