Nearly all breastfeeding mothers worry about their milk supply and whether or not their baby is getting enough. Statistics tells us that one of the main reasons for early weaning is a mother’s fear of insufficient supply. It is very rare for a mother to not be able to produce milk for her baby at all, although there are circumstances where we may want to give our milk supply a little boost, and here are some ideas to do that!
Understand how it all works
The best way to think about making milk, is the idea of supply and demand. The more you take (your baby eats, or you pump,) the more your body makes. Keeping in mind that it can take 3 to 5 days of “demand” to see a difference in the “supply.”
Nurse on demand, frequently throughout the day
Allow your baby to guide the feeding rather than the clock. It is normal for breastfed babies to nurse anywhere from every 90 minutes to 3 hours. Allowing your baby access to feedings will help to put in the order for an abundant supply.
Massage the breast tissue during your breastfeeding session
This will help move more milk into your baby simply with the pressure you are putting on the breasts. Massaging while your baby nurses can also keep them active and interested in continuing to suck, therefore drinking more milk.
Check your baby’s latch
Especially in the early week of breastfeeding. If you are feeling major pain or are unsure that your baby is swallowing, check out a local support group, call the Little Lovage Club Feeding Hotline or have a visit with a Lactation Consultant.
Avoid (when possible) supplementing with expressed milk or formula
Use your best judgement on this one. If your baby is having issues gaining weight, then a supplement is certainly appropriate and necessary, however if your baby is having plenty of wet and soiled diapers, is seemingly growing well and otherwise healthy, try to exhaust other soothing options before feeling the need to supplement. A lot of times babies can be tired after a feeding and fussy because they are fighting sleep.
Pump for 5 to 10 minutes after several of your nursing sessions throughout the day. Not to collect milk, but to stimulate above and beyond what your baby is drinking.
Food and Supplements
While most herbal supplements and specific foods have not been scientifically reviewed, traditional and ancient medicines suggest that there are some safe and effective edibles that may give your body a bit of a boost…so why not give them a try!
Herbs: Fenugreek, fennel seeds, milk thistle, blessed thistle, goats rue and muringa oleifara, just to name a few.
Foods: Oats, Flax seeds, Nutritional (brewers) Yeast, etc.
If you feel that you are struggling with breastfeeding and establishing and/or maintaining your milk supply, it may be a good idea to reach out to a lactation consultant to set up a more specific plan for you and your baby to reach your feeding goals. Any amount of breastmilk that your baby consumes offers them amazing benefits both in nutrition and immunity. You’re amazing, mama!
(DISCLAIMER: Any information contained in this email is not intended to be medical advice, nor does it replace care given by your health care provider.)