If you're looking for a more in depth read on breastfeeding, I wrote a long blog post about everything I could think of related to breastfeeding HERE.
Milk production in women is not all the same. Some women just don't have a great supply from the get go and some women are blessed with producing enough to feed a herd of cattle, but chances are if you're reading this than you've already crossed that hurdle and are doing what you can to nurture and feed your growing baby.
It is important to know that you are DOING GREAT, you are feeding YOUR baby, and you should be damn PROUD for making it this far. I also want to say, don't get discouraged about what other women are doing, how much milk they are producing, or how their experience is going. Breastfeeding/pumping is not always easy. It may come easier for some moms and babies, but often times it may be a struggle to get started or maintain it and we need to be supportive. We are all just moms, trying to do our BEST for our babies and provide for them in every way that we can.
With that said, I think it can go without saying that it can be very discouraging to not produce "enough" milk and we can all use some helpful tips to try and help give our supply a boost every once in a while.
Here are F O U R easy ways to help boost your supply:
1. Supply and demand. If you don't know what I'm talking about, milk production works on a supply and demand basis. The more you stimulate/remove milk from your breast, the more milk you will signal your breast to make, meaning the more you breastfeed/pump the more you will produce. Easy as that. Adding an early morning pump session (when your supply is at its highest) or an evening pump session (when your supply is at its lowest) may also help.
2. Power pumping or "cluster pumping". In order to do this, you'll want to pump on and off in intervals for about an hour. Meaning, pump 10 minutes, rest 3, pump 15 minutes, rest 5, pump 10, rest 5.. you get the gist. This is simulating when a baby cluster feeds or goes through a growth spurt. They need more milk than what you are producing so they stay at the breast for longer periods of time, eating back to back to back hence why they call it "cluster feeding".
3. Supplements. It's undetermined if lactation supplements are effective or not. For me they seem to work. There are so many options out there now, teas, cookies, bars, smoothies, brownies.. basically anything with herbs containing fenugreek or alfalfa or ingredients such as flaxseed meal, oats, and brewers yeast seem to do the trick and help boost your supply as a natural lactation supplement. There are also many lactation pills that one can take.. I have personally not used any but I have heard great things about Legendairy Milk products.
Favorite Lactation Cookie: Miracle Milkookies
Favorite Lactation Tea/bars: Oatmama
Favorite Lactation Brownie: Boobfood
Favorite Store bought lactation drink mix: Milk Flow
4. Self Care. This goes without saying that when you are stressed, run down, or exhausted which most new moms are.. your body lags a bit. In a breastfeeding course I took a while back, the instructor (a certified lactation consultant and nurse) had said that nutrition doesn't play much of an effect on your supply, but just eating and drinking a "normal" healthy amount will maintain your supply. That means taking care of yourself. Eating good healthy foods (and occasionally giving into those breastfeeding cravings!) and drinking enough fluids throughout the day. Simply eat a balanced diet and maintain a normal fluid intake! By taking care of yourself you are also taking care of your baby!
Please note that I am not a lactation consultant, just a passionate breastfeeding mother and NICU nurse who wants nothing more than for you to be successful in your breastfeeding journey. If you are experiencing problems or have more questions, I recommend seeing a lactation consultant or specialist. If you have any other tricks or helpful suggestions that you have used to increase your supply, please leave them in the comments below for everyone to see!
Hope you enjoyed today's post, thanks for stopping by!
Much love, Mari