For some moms, milk supply comes easy. Some moms start lactating before baby is even born and have so much milk, they are in pain and are constantly feeding and pumping and even donating unused milk. For other moms, it can be very difficult to sustain enough milk to not only nourish your baby but to breastfeed for as long as you’d like. Milk is treated like pure gold, and understandably so. You want more than anything to feed your baby with your own milk. So if you have a low supply, here are some tips to boost your milk supply, even before your baby is born!
As always, I recommend talking to your OB/GYN, your family physician, or your baby’s pediatrician before trying any supplements or adding anything physically or nutritionally to your diet in regards to breastfeeding. The general recommendations and suggestions below are from personal experience and a tremendous amount of research form various sources.
Be prepared! See a lactation consultant while you are still pregnant. Know what to expect and what you can do before your milk supply dwindles. Sometimes if you wait too long to get help, your milk supply is low enough where it may not come back. Contact your local Le Leche League. Le Leche League is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education, information, and support for breastfeeding moms. Visit www.llli.org for your local leader and for more information. You can also try searching for a local baby store or hospital that offers lactation groups and support.
Pump Often! As a mom, you will go to any length to keep your baby safe, fed, clean, and happy. You will do whatever it takes to make sure you feed on demand or pump when you are away from the baby. If you have to travel without your baby, are a working mom, or have a baby that cannot latch for some reason, you tote around your pump wherever you go and find any available room, office, or bathroom stall you can that has a lock so you can pump privately multiple times throughout the day. And if you are like me, you buy a car adapter for your pump and pump in the car on the go! Lactation experts recommend pumping first thing in the morning (in addition to your baby’s first feed of the day) because you produce the most milk in the morning. You can also pump right after each feed to build a higher supply. You can also pump between feeds, either 45 minutes after the feed or 60 minutes before the next feed. Most moms can maintain milk supply if they pump 6-7 times a day (approx every 2 hours when you are not with baby). If you are solely pumping, then plan to pump about 8-10 times a day. Typically the more your baby feeds and or the more you pump, the more milk your body will create.
Stock up on Snacks! There are certain foods that are known to boost your milk supply. Oatmeal is one of those foods. You can also try a tea or a supplement with fenugreek in it. Other lactation boosting foods include flax, brewer’s yeast, nuts, and sunflower seeds. You can make your own lactation cookies with most of these ingrediants or even buy some at the store. Cookies are yummy, don’t get me wrong, but what I prefer even more than cookies are lactation granola bars. I highly recommend Oatmama Lactation Granola Bars. They have a variety of flavors and are packed with ingredients that are healthy and nutritious for mom and baby. Visit oatmama.com for more information!
Drink Water! When mommy drinks, baby drinks. Most lactation consultants recommend breastfeeding moms drink 8-10 eight ounce glasses of water a day. I am not very good about drinking water, so if I need more liquids I add a little cucumber, lemon, and mint to my water and it goes down much quicker and easier!
Whether you have a high milk supply or you need a boost, make sure you are stocked up on nursing pads! I recently met the founder of The Cardiff Baby Co, Jamie Pierce, at a local baby expo and instantly fell in love with her products. I love to support small businesses, and especially small businesses that benefit moms and babies! Even more so, I love to support local small businesses. The Cardiff Baby Co is a local company that makes sustainable, natural, bamboo nursing pads that are reusable and washable! I have personally sampled these nursing pads and they are super soft and comfortable. And I love that they are made of the most natural non toxic materials. Did I mention that they are reusable and washable? As a lactating mom with a baby, that is so important. Am I right? Jamie was also very generous to give samples of her nursing pads to all the women in my weekly Behind the Bump prenatal/postpartum mom group. For more information, please visit www.cardiffbabyco.com and make sure you are following them on Instagram @cardiffbabyco
Stay tuned for a giveaway on my Instagram tomorrow with The Cardiff Baby Co! Make sure you are following me @theparentologist for all the details!