Breastfeeding Blips: 3 Ways to Increase Milk Production

Breastfeeding Blips

“Breastfeeding Blips: 3 Ways to Increase Milk Production”| mymindbodybaby

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Breastfeeding (for many), isn’t THAT easy!

It never occurred to me that something so “natural” would become the biggest source of stress and discomfort my first few months postpartum. I mean, aren’t we just innately meant to know how to do this?

The short answer, nope.

After giving birth, I had a revolving door of nurses and lactation consultants help teach me how to create the “perfect latch” – well turns out, not only could myself and daughter not initially find our breastfeeding groove, but my milk supply was slow to come in AND then once it did, it was low. Give me a break already! Like, come on – I just pushed out a watermelon!

So after much sleep deprived Googling, multiple lactation appointments, lactation supplements and a tongue tie release, I’ve narrowed down 3 key recommendations (that worked for me) to help increase your supply.

But first…

What Causes Low Breastfeeding Milk Supply?

There are many different reasons for this, which include, stress, starting to breastfeed late or not feeding often enough, smoking, premature birth, poorly controlled diabetes and certain medications. In my case, I can only guess that stress might have been the issue since none of the other reasons applied to me.

Unfortunately if you are one of the unlucky ones who struggle with supply, breastfeeding can be a very frustrating and upsetting time.

I felt like my body was betraying me, like I SHOULD be able to provide for my baby and WHY was this happening?!

I remember girlfriends telling me about all this extra milk they had and how they got to store this liquid gold in the freezer! I even registered for milk storage bags in anticipation of this plentiful supply I was sure to have. In my early days of pumping, I remember getting a lousy 20oz (after an ENTIRE day of pumping) and feeling jealousy and anger that my body wasn’t responding how I imagined it would. I cried A LOT at the beginning.

As a result of this, I had to supplement with formula. For a very health conscious nutritionist, you can bet this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It just wasn’t in my plan.

And I wasn’t alone, Michele Power, mommy blogger and friend, had similar issues, she says:

“I never had the uncomfortable full feeling that everyone talked about.  My daughter continued to be fussy and never appeared satisfied after feeding. “I guess this is just how newborns are” I thought. But in my mind I also knew, this couldn’t be right.  She was hungry and I couldn’t feed her!”

So I get it.

It sucks girl.

What Can Be Done?

Before I go any further, keep in mind that what works for one, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for another. You might have to try a few different techniques/products until you find the right combination…and even then, you still might not get the supply. This unfortunately is a reality for some.

Even to this day, I’m still not producing anything extra. In fact, my daughter’s last feeding of the day is an organic goat milk formula. In a perfect world I would prefer her to get exclusively breast milk, but this just isn’t possible. But, the good news, my supply has gone up DRASTICALLY since her arrival, due to (what I believe) are the following.

1. Load up on Liquids

Specifically water (lots of it) and lactation teas.  As a nutritionist I always push water. It helps with digestion, flushing toxins, the bowel system…the list goes on. Unfortunately everyone has their struggles when it comes to good health and water is mine. I eat SUPER clean and do everything I can do reduce toxin exposure in my life, keep stress low, sleep a lot and move my body. But water, for some reason, has always been a struggle. But, I’ve had to make this happen – WHAT ELSE IS MY BODY GOING TO MAKE MILK FROM?

The tea. I’m using one called Mothers Helper Nursing Tea. You can get this tea all over the place and I highly suggest minimum 8oz per day. There doesn’t seem to be much evidence based studies proving this works, it’s more anecdotal, but hey, if it works, I say run with it!

Common herbs found in these teas include fennel, nettle, oat straw and fenugreek. Make sure you always check with your primary care provider before ingesting anything to be sure it’s safe for you. In my case it is and so I’ve been enjoying a glass or two of this daily.

Currently I’m drinking:

2.5 L+ of water per day

16 oz of Mothers Milk Lactation Tea

Note: I also enjoy the odd beer and each morning have ¼ cup juice with 8oz water (so it’s not too sweet) to help take my supplements (more on this later).

2. The Power of Pumping

Pump your heart out girl! Seriously. The more you can do this, the more milk your body thinks it needs to feed your little one. Initially I wasn’t getting much at all and finally over time this increased. Phew! A really great tip I got from Lyndsey was to pump after your first morning feed. During sleep, we produce larger levels of a hormone called prolactin – this is the main hormone involved in milk production. Generally we have fuller breasts in the morning due to higher prolactin levels. So after your baby nurses, pump out any remaining milk you have, even if it’s only a little- it adds up over the day! Another trick, you’ve heard the saying, sleep when your baby does – consider this a great way to also increase your milk production through the daytime.

3. Galacta- what?!

I’m sure you’ve Googled enough by now to have seen this word. Galactagogue is a natural substance found in some plants that can help to increase lactation. Among others, these include fennel, oatmeal and alfalfa. Specifically for me, I used a product called Moringa which is also considered a galactagogue, and this helped immensely. This product comes mostly in a tincture or capsule form and can be used daily to help increase milk production safely.

*Note: there are some pharmaceutical drugs that act as galactagogues, such as Domperidon but I am specifically speaking about plant based options.

I also made and LOVED these Coconut Pumpkin Lactation Muffins. I hope you do too!

Increasing milk supply can be tricky but it CAN improve over time. For me, it actually took until about the 3 month mark to really see a decent supply. I knew I would never give up trying, but some days it became quite frustrating. If you struggle with low supply and want to breastfeed, don’t give up, keep trying different combinations of strategies! Good luck!

If this article was helpful, please pass along so other mama’s can learn as well!



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