Being a mother is a beautiful journey filled with countless joys and challenges. One aspect that many moms who breastfeed face is maintaining an adequate milk supply, especially when the stressors of motherhood take over. Below are some suggestions and considerations to help you navigate the journey of breastfeeding and ensure a healthy milk supply for your little one. It's important to understand that every mother's body is unique, and what works for one may not work for another.
1. Breastmilk works mainly on SUPPLY & DEMAND: Breastfeed and Pump More
The key principle to remember is supply and demand. The more frequently your baby nurses or you pump, the more signals your body receives to produce milk. Breastfeed your baby on demand and try to incorporate pumping sessions between feedings (only if your are certain your supply is low, over pumping can cause an over supply or result in mastitis). This additional stimulation will encourage your body to produce more milk over time. Additionally, you may want to invest in a haakaa and use it while nursing your baby on the opposite breast. You can see my "how to" video here and show the Haakaa here.
2. "Empty" the Breast or Pump After Feedings
While it may seem impossible to completely empty your breasts, the act of breastfeeding or pumping after feedings can help stimulate your body to produce more milk by telling it "baby wants more". Even though pumping may give the illusion of emptying the breasts, your baby's sucking action plays a significant role in milk production. So, try to nurse your baby as often as possible and follow it up with a pumping session to maximize milk production. I recently tried a manual pump for the first time to help boost my supply and it was extremely effective and helpful. I used it for 4 days right before I went to bed for 3-5 minutes total.
3. Relax and Reduce Stress
Stress can have a negative impact on your milk supply. As a busy mom myself, I know first hand it's crucial yet hard to find ways to relax and reduce stress levels. Take breaks, practice deep breathing exercises, engage in activities that bring you joy, and seek support from loved ones when possible. Remember, a relaxed mind and body can contribute to a healthier milk supply and your overall health of course.
4. Maintain a Proper Diet and Hydration
A nutritious diet is essential for both you and your baby's well-being. Focus on consuming a well-balanced diet that includes healthy fats (avocado, nuts), lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Incorporate lactation-friendly foods known to boost milk supply such as oatmeal, almonds, spinach, grapes, fennel, rice, sesame seeds, and tahini. Additionally, drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, as dehydration can impact milk production.
5. Utilize Pumping Strategies
Pumping can be a valuable tool to increase milk supply and build a stash for times of need. Take advantage of the period between 12 am and 7 am when milk supply is typically at its highest. During pumping sessions, try massaging your breasts to help stimulate milk flow and maximize results or use heat pads on your breast. Additionally, consider power pumping, which involves pumping for 20 minutes, resting for 10 minutes, pumping for 10 minutes, resting for 10 minutes, and finally pumping for the last 10 minutes. This mimics the concept of cluster feeding and can make a noticeable difference in your milk supply when done consistently for about a week. For best results try this once a day for 3 days.
6. Explore Milk-Boosting Supplements
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may need an extra boost. Consider using a lactation supplement like Legendairy Milk, which is specifically designed to support milk production. These supplements contain ingredients known to enhance lactation and can be a helpful addition to your breastfeeding journey. Additionally, you can find some other helpful supplements on my amazon shop here.
7. Hydrating Drinks for Milk Supply
In addition to water, you can incorporate hydrating drinks that can boost your milk supply. Coconut water, especially the fresh or organic refrigerated kind, provides essential electrolytes that support hydration and milk production. Additionally, you can try electrolytes from brands like Redmond real salt or needed (code: MAMAGUIDE for both) to replenish your body's mineral levels and support milk production.
Maintaining a healthy milk supply is an ongoing process that oftentimes requires dedication, patience, and self-care. Yes, some women may overproduce without needing any help, is thats not you its perfectly fine! Remember, what works for one mom may not work for another, so it's important to explore different strategies.
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