When I hear the phrase, "it's no use crying over spilt milk" I literally cringe. Any breastfeeding mom will tell you whether struggling with supply or not that those ounces of breastmilk are precious gold you do not want to lose. I myself have been blessed to not have many issues with a low supply but it doesn't stop me from still using these methods to ensure it stays that way. Having a low milk supply can be an extremely stressful situation and unfortunately being stressed can make matters worse. So if you are struggling, try some of these tips I will provide but also reach out to a lactation consultant near you. Hospitals will give you resources when you leave. Don't hesitate to use them! It could simply be a bad latch, tongue or lip tie or another easy fix that they are trained to help you with.
Here are a few of the things I use to help boost my milk supply. Hope you find them helpful!
You need fluids in order to produce milk for your baby. Keep water with you at all times as a reminder. Drink a minimum of 64oz a day but I've also read to drink half your body weight in ounces. For instance if you are 180lbs, drink 90oz of water per day. If you are drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee (uh, yes please) be sure to increase your water intake even more as coffee is a diuretic. Also, when you begin working out you will need to increase your water intake to make up for water loss through perspiration.
I eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast now. I'm talking the real deal too, not the instant packets. Don't fret, it's just as easy as the instant packets. I do 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats plus 1 cup of milk, microwave for 3 minutes and add a spoonful of brown sugar or a little cinnamon. It's really good and super easy! Tip: make sure you have a big enough bowl. It can boil over in the microwave to create a big mess.
Fenugreek supplements are shown to increase your milk production and are recommended by many lactation consultants. I personally take 2 capsules a day and call it good. You can find these at the grocery store or stores like Target or Walmart. You can also find fenugreek and other milk boosting herbs in Mother's Milk Tea or I have a postpartum tea from Desert Sage Herbs, a local tea shop in Chandler. Tip: I'm not a huge fan of tea so I add a little honey and Lemon essential oil to help improve the taste and pour over ice.
It may seem obvious but when you have a newborn you can sometimes forget to eat. I didn't think this would ever be possible for me but I sometimes realize at 2pm that I haven't eaten since I had my bowl of oatmeal at 8am. Not good. We need around 300-500 additional calories when we are breastfeeding. Not empty calories but good nutritious foods. Some foods that are said to aid in milk production are asparagus, quinoa, fennel, flax, spinach, cows milk, oatmeal and basil leaves. Eat foods high in protein. I'm not a huge meat eater so I like to snack on cottage cheese with fruit, eggs, cheese and crackers or make my boobie smoothie you will see below.
Nurse on Demand
Milk production is based on supply and demand so if your baby wants to nurse by all means, nurse that baby! Even if you know that your baby nursed an hour ago but is asking for more again, let them have it. Even if you know they are only using you as a human pacifier, let them have it. The more your baby is at the breast (especially using skin-to-skin contact) the more your body will signal to produce milk.
If your supply is low it can be very beneficial to pump whenever possible. One method is to pump the other side while your baby is nursing. Although this can be a bit tricky to maneuver at first. Or you can pump right after you nurse for 10 minutes. The more you empty your breasts, the more your body will know to produce.
Oh my favorite part! Here is my go-to recipe. The magic ingredients in these cookies are the oats, flaxseed meal and Brewer's yeast. They are delicious and effective. I eat 2 a day, most days. It makes a large batch so freeze at least half of them. Brewer's yeast can also be mixed into smoothies or over your oatmeal or cereal.
This is a difficult one, especially if you have other kiddos or heading back to work but try hard to rest when you can. This will help your body work more efficiently in producing milk for your baby. The house will not be perfect, cooking may look like crock-pot only meals or take-out, laundry my pile up but that's okay. It will one day come back together again. If people offer to help, take them up on it and allow yourself some time to make up on lost sleep. Remember, its not only for you, it's for your baby!
My Boobie Smoothie
Sometimes blending up a meal is just way easier. Here is my go-to boobie smoothie as I call it :)
1 cup - milk or almond milk
1 scoop - protein powder (we love Syntha-6 by BSN)
1 Tbsp - flaxseed meal
1 Tbsp - Brewer's yeast
1 spoonful - peanut butter
Handful of spinach
1/2 frozen banana
Can add ice if you prefer.