Even moms with the best intentions of breast feeding can run into hurdles along the way. Delayed skin-to-skin contact with baby after birth can affect breast feeding success, babies born with tongue-tie provide challenges of their own, cracked nipples can drive moms to supplement with formula and a lack of support from family and friends can make a new mom feel like giving up. Often, throughout the course of breast feeding new mamas feel as though their supply is too low and that baby isn’t getting enough milk. Instead of looking to naturally increase their supply, many mamas turn to supplementing or introducing solids earlier than necessary.
Tips for Increasing your Milk Supply
1. Nurse Often
Nurse baby as often as you can, and make breastfeeding accessible for baby. Keep baby close and watch for signs that baby is interested in nursing. Increasing the frequency of feedings is a surefire way to keep supply up! If baby is ‘lazy’ and enjoys her sleep, wake baby up for frequent night nursings.
2. Drink Mama Milk Tea
There are a few companies that make herbal tea specifically designed for breastfeeding mamas. The tea’s main ingredients are fennel seed and fenugreek seed, used in herbalism as a galactagogues (herbs that help supplement breast milk production).
3. Eat Oatmeal
There is a chance that what you choose to eat for breakfast can impact your milk supply for the day. Eating oatmeal is a common recommendation by lactation consultants and midwives to increase your milk supply. Why not start the day with a delicious bowl of soaked oatmeal with fresh berries or grab an oatmeal muffin for a mid-afternoon snack!
4. Cuddle with your Little One
If you are really concerned about your production it might be time for a nurse vacation! This means spending 2 to 3 days breastfeeding, cuddling and relaxing with your baby. Nothing sounds better! This incredible mama and baby time will not only increase your overall energy levels, but the increased time baby spends at the breast will activate the hormones that stimulate milk production.
5. Start Breast Pumping
Breast pumping between feedings can be a good way to increase supply. Start off slowly and gradually increase the number of times and length of each pumping session. It’s normal for your body to take a few days to become accustomed to the breast pump and the additional breast milk that is needed to accommodate the frequency of pumping that you add to your schedule. Be sure to store the pumped milk in the freezer for future use (up to 1 year in a chest freezer). Many hospitals will have hospital grade pumps available for rent.
6. Stay Hydrated
Nursing is a lot on a woman’s body, and it’s important that you take care of ourselves so that you can take care of baby. Drinking water replenishes lost fluids and keeps mamas hydrated to optimize milk production. Keep a bottle of filtered water with you throughout the day so that you have easy access to water at all times. Get in the habit of drinking a cup of water each time you nurse your little one (if they are drinking, you should be too)!
7. Take Herbal Fenugreek
Fenugreek typically stimulates sweat production and breasts are modified sweat glands. It is believed that Fenugreek can increase a nursing mother’s milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after first taking the herb. You can purchase fenugreek capsules that are GMO-free, preservative-free, allergen-free and made in a vegetarian capsule.
8. Try and Relax
Low milk production can be extremely stressful for you while you do your best to nourish baby. Try and remain relaxed to the best of your abilities. Stress is actually proven to decrease milk supply and baby can sense if you are unhappy. You are doing the best you can, so keep up the great work.