3 Tips for increasing baby’s weight gain while breastfeeding

I work with Moms all the time in my consultations and classes who are concerned about their baby’s weight gain.  First off I’d like to mention that weight gain is just one piece of the well-baby puzzle.  There are several other indicators of wellness that include head and length growth, skin and muscle tone, ability to be active and vigorous, good diaper output, etc.  As an IBCLC, I try to assess each of these factors and not just the weight gain as the sole indicator for a baby’s overall wellness.  Additionally, if a baby is doing well in every other area, I think breastfeeding management between the breastfeeding dyad (mom and baby), the healthcare provider, and an IBCLC is a very reasonable approach.  Today I wanted to share a few tips on how to get baby more calories overall and encourage weight gain.


1 – Use hand expression during and between feeds

Hand expression can help in a few ways.  It can encourage efficient breast emptying when used while baby is latched on.

mom breastfeeding baby in the hospital
It can also be used in-between feeds to remove milk and deliver some extra calories.  A lot of times we think either breastfeeding or pumping.  Hand expression is a low-tech but highly efficient way to keep your milk supply up, and offer supplementation with your own breastmilk.  Once you express your breastmilk, you can offer it to your baby on a spoon or medicine cup.

baby being fed breast milk

You can learn about how to do hand expression in my video breastfeeding classes.

2 – Allow baby to go back to the same breast

When an infant self-detaches from the breast and comes up for a break, instead of switching sides, consider returning to the same breast.  This will increase the chances that baby has access to the fattier hind milk; hindmilk comes when the breast is drained more efficiently.

lactation consultant, mom and baby
{Nursing pillow by Ergobaby}

3 – Frequent feedings equal higher fat content

Don’t be alarmed at frequent feedings.  As long as baby is latching well and transferring breastmilk, there is no problem.  Babies are born with a strong desire to suck!  When you breastfeed frequently, the breastmilk tends to contain more fat.

mom holding her baby

I love to see babies happy and content in their mama’s arms!

lactation consultant talking to a mom

I hope this helps!  I have a few in-person breastfeeding classes coming up in Utah (2/20, 3/12, and 4/9).  I also have an in-person class in Seattle, WA on 3/19.  Space is limited so be sure to register today.  We will have some great sponsors and giveaways in those classes too!  My video breastfeeding classes are available here and are such a great resource to learn on your own time, at your own pace.  The video classes come with a notes outline and can be watched again and again – they never expire!  I also do personal consultations via econsult or in-person appts.  Email me to arrange those.  Come say hi on instagram today – I love hearing your experiences and answering your questions!

I’ve created this great e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.


Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Lindsey Headshot white with grey