5 Ways To Boost Your Milk Supply
Do I have sufficient milk supply? Should I be supplementing? Is my baby getting enough? How do I increase my milk supply?
Breastfeeding concerns affect most first time moms, especially when it comes to milk supply. A lot of moms want to know how to boost their supply as they feel they do not have enough to begin with. So I have done some research to address this and compiled 5 ways most experts agree upon to help you increase your milk supply.
- Power Pumping & Stimulation
Pump each breast for 5 minutes every 15 minutes for one hour. Do this once a day until you are satisfied with your results. Some begin seeing a difference with the first week. Also, stimulate your breast by pumping right after each feeding for at least 5 minutes.It tells your body you need to produce more milk. Be sure to pump both breasts and have baby nurse on each side as equal as possible. If baby begins to favor one breast over the other, then it will significantly affect supply on the one that is left out. If you notice your supply decreases in a certain period of time during the day, get your pump out and start pumping girl!!
Breastfeeding burns about 300-500 calories so do not try to diet, especially in the early postpartum months. You need strength which you receive from your healthy, nutritious (and organic I hope) diet. You should include super-foods in your diet as well and maintain a bare minimum of 1800 calories a day to maintain a full milk supply for your growing baby.
My mom flew in from Toronto to help me with everything from labor and delivery to nursing and postpartum care. I vividly remember her either standing in my kitchen prepping my meals or driving to Wholefoods to get more ingredients. Before she left, she made sure I had two months worth of supply in my freezer. She emphasized so much on my diet and it's role in not only my recovery but also in the production of my milk. I followed her strict guidelines (as if I had a choice in her presence) and I am a firm believer that it helped my milk supply the most. Some of my meals were lamb broth, lamb and vegetable soup, chicken soup and ate a lot of fresh organic watermelon and I drank a lot of milk. And no, I did not have a liquid diet. I focused on healthy food choices.
Drink a lot of water. Keep yourself hydrated. I normally drink a lot of water, it has so many benefits. But when I started breastfeeding, I thought I could drink the ocean dry. Now, be careful you do not over hydrate yourself, you know your body best. Drink just the right amount, listen to your body.
Here are some superfoods to add to your diet:
- Whole Grains
- Legumes and Beans
- Lactation Cookies
There are so many emerging brands making lactation cookies nowadays so it is not hard to find but it can get a little expensive. So if you don't mind in investing in them especially if it works for you then by all means do it. But I find most of these cookies on the market are made with junk such as refined sugars and gluten or soybean oil. In the States, there are three main ingredients that most lactation cookies, homemade or from your local grocery store include: Brewer's yeast, oatmeal and flax. You can easily make these cookies yourself and add your own preferred flavor. Or just go to WholeFoods and buy a healthy one such as MilkMakers
- Skin to Skin Contact
It is so important to give your baby skin to skin contact at the earliest you can after birth. Some benefits include healthy weight gain, boosts baby's mental development and reduces stress and pain. But it also happens to help milk production. You might wonder how? Skin to skin promotes a nourishing breastfeeding environment and triggers hormones to produce more milk. It is these hormones that balance out lactation so be sure to give a lot of skin to skin.
Galactagogues is referred to a food or drug that promotes the flow of a mother's milk supply. There are a few decent products that contain galactagogues in their ingredients that some moms swear by. These three have received a lot of attention and have good ratings,however I support the first two but I do not recommend the third.
Fenugreek: This is the most popular herb in increasing milk supply. It can be taken in a form of tea, liquid extract or dried powder in a capsule. It has a long history of use without serious side effects. You can find Fenugreek in most milk supply supplements.
Motherlove supplements: These are very popular among mothers who have taken these and have seen a positive difference in their supply. The taste may not be the most appetizing but if it does the job then it is absolutely a sacrifice worth making.
DO NOT RECOMMEND: Essential Oils: I have seen essential oils, especially basil fennel being marketed for milk supply ridiculously throughout the internet. I see reviews and testimonies and I just question how legitimate those are. It may help with milk supply but I am not sure how safe it is for you and for baby. Robbert Tisserand, an expert in aromatherapy discusses this in his book Essential Oil Safety. He analyzes the risks and hazards of essential oils. Both fennel nor basil are listed safe. In fact fennel can be carcinogenic and should not be used during pregnancy and by breastfeeding mamas and for children under 5.
I hope these ways help you in your journey to milk production. I know it can be overwhelming but I advice you to not go under peer pressure, take your time, speak to your lactation nurse, and have a support system.
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