HOW TO QUICKLY BOOST YOUR MILK SUPPLY
I want to begin this post by saying when it comes to our choice of how our babies are fed, I fully support the “Fed is Best” perspective. I have been very fortunate with the ability to successfully breastfeed both of my babies without any significant struggles. However, I support, recognize and fully respect the challenges that many mothers face with breastfeeding. No mother should ever feel guilty for how their babies are fed. As long as they are getting what they need to thrive, WHO CARES!
Edited-After five months of breastfeeding my second baby, I was forced to stop due to her sever reflux and food allergies. We tried EVERYTHING to continue breastfeeding however her doctor felt it would be best to put her on a special formula.
I continued to pump in order to save her milk in case she would eventually be able to drink it. By six months, I had over 1000 ounces of milk stored.
Disclaimer- I am not an expert nor a lactation consultant. You can take my opinions with a grain of salt but this outlines what has helped me produce 400 ounces of EXTRA milk in my first four weeks postpartum
When your milk first comes in after delivery, there is typically an oversupply until it begins to regulate based on your babies needs.
Milk production is based on supply and demand.
When my milk first came in, the supply was much greater than what my daughter was consuming. In order to keep my supply high from the beginning, I started pumping the extra milk immediately which helped trick my body into thinking that it needed to continue producing more milk to meet the high demand.
My second baby was a big eater, much more than my first baby.
Lets be honest, pumping and breastfeeding is NOT easy. It can feel overwhelming and exhausting on top of everything else we juggle in motherhood. However, I promise, once you establish a good routine (I cannot survive without routines!) it will become much easier and the hard work will pay off. These tips can be done for a couple days to increase supply or followed for a couple of weeks depending on your goal.
The SUPPLEMENTS that helped keep my supply high
1.Gatorade (G2) or Powerade Zero:
This is my absolute number one must have for helping with milk supply.
I tell everyone who is breastfeeding to try it when they are feeling a drop in their supply. I discovered this best kept secret with with my first baby and now I swear by it.
The electrolytes are especially important if you are working out to help stay hydrated. Plus, it’s nice to have something to breakup the endless amounts of water you need to be drinking.
As a fit mom, I recommend choosing the low calorie versions such as G2 or Powerade Zero to avoid extra calories, sugar and weight gain.
Staying hydrated is absolutely imperative to producing milk. Breastmilk is made up of 88% water.
Every single time I nurse or pump, I instantly feel dehydrated.
To ensure I stay on top of my water intake, I always make sure to drink a large glass of water during every pumping or nursing session. If you think you are drinking enough water, my advice, drink MORE!
I always notice a dip in my supply immediately if I’m not getting enough fluids.
Find a water bottle that you love, and bring it with you everywhere you go. This will help remind you to stay hydrated.
I love my 32 oz Hydroflask because it keeps my water ice cold. I am not a fan of room temperature water.
My goal is to drink two of these flasks a day.
I am also picky and love my water ice cold and this keeps it the perfect temperature all day.
If you are exercising, drinking enough fluids is even more crucial to maintaining your breastmilk supply.
Fenugreek is the most common herb used in boosting milk production.
It is considered safe for most breastfeeding mamas but be sure to start with a low dose. It does pass through the mothers breastmilk and can cause diarrhea or gas in babies or mothers if too high of a dose is taken at first.
However, pills seem to be a little easier for me personally.
4. Brewers Yeast
Have you ever been told to drink a beer in order to boost your milk supply?
The yeast in the beer is said to help boost your supply. However, if drinking a beer does not appeal to you, brewers yeast can help instead.
It typically comes in powder or pill form and can be added to your favorite lactation cookie recipe, sprinkled on food, added to smoothies or shakes.
I personally prefer to add 1-2 Tablespoons of powder to my protein shake in the morning.
Brewers Yeast is safe to consume while breastfeeding however should be noted that it can cause some infants to develop colic like symptoms.
If you notice your baby has more gas or diarrhea than normal, you should decrease your intake or discontinue use all together.
This is the one I have been using since I started breastfeeding two years ago.
I first came across the use of fennel to help relieve some tummy troubles my newborn was having. A nursing mother can drink a fennel tea which will pass through the breastmilk and could possibly relieve some symptoms of colic or upset tummy. I am still on the fence of whether this is effective or not. However, I did also learn that fennel can help increase milk production. WIN WIN! This is how to make the tea:
-Crush 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds per 8oz of water.
-Boil the water and the crushed fennel seeds
– Allow to sit for about 10 minutes
-Strain out the seeds and drink the tea.
The tea can be consumed 2-3 times a day. However, drinking too much could have the opposite affect and cause a decrease in breastmilk production so be sure to monitor the affects it has on your supply.
Nurse, Pump, Nurse, Pump…
This is where the real work comes in.
I typically only nurse my baby on one side during each feeding. This allows her to empty the breast completely which triggers my body to continue making more milk.
It is also recommended that the breast is emptied completely before switching sides in order for the baby to get both foremilk and hind milk.
If one side does not produce enough milk for your baby, be sure to switch sides during the feeding to ensure they are getting enough milk.
Once I have finished feeding, I will immediately pump on the opposite side.
To increase your supply, also pump for about 5 minutes on the side that your baby nursed, even if nothing comes out.
This can help “trick” your body into thinking it needs to make more milk and eventually you should see an increase.
Following this routine should help you see a significant increase in milk within a couple of days.
I am able to pump about 5 ounces per side. If I start to see a slight decrease, I add a few more pumping sessions into my routine and will see an increase almost immediately.
Here are my favorite pumping supplies:
+Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breastpump Starter Set.
I was able to get mine free through our insurance. Be sure to check your insurance company to see if they cover breast pumps.
5-10 Medela Breastshield valves and membranes (depending on how often you wash bottles and parts)
For the first three weeks after my daughter was born, I stayed very committed to pumping after every feeding, even in the middle of the night.
I even pumped between feedings if I knew she was going to sleep a long time before her next session.
It was exhausting, time consuming and at times and may feel like a full time job.
However, I began producing so much milk that if I did not pump in the middle of the night, I would become engorged and lose sleep from the discomfort.
Early mornings seem to be when my milk supply is the highest so this is the one time I will not miss a pumping session.
Wake up, grab a cup of coffee and get to pumping. (Note-please be aware that some babies may be sensitive to coffee).
No two mamas are the same. So please be patient and embrace the process! I cannot promise what has worked for me, will work for you. However, I hope you are willing to give it a try and let me know your experiences!
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