Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How to Increase your Milk Supply While Breastfeeding

stand up deep freezer full of bags of frozen breast milk

How to Increase your Milk Supply While Breastfeeding

In this second installment of the breastfeeding series I will be talking about how to Increase your milk supply while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can come with many struggles one of those being low supply. At times during my breastfeeding journey I have found myself struggling to produce enough milk. I am going to include in this guide some of the things that have worked for me and some ideas on how to increase your milk supply while breastfeeding.

How to Increase your Milk Supply While Breastfeeding: Supply and Demand

The most important thing to remember is that breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. The more you breastfeed the more milk you will make. Our bodies are extremely smart and for the most part are able to increase supply when needed. The number one key to low supply when in doubt is nurse nurse nurse.

Is your Supply Really Low

It is common for moms to think that their supply is low when in reality it may not be. A mom might think this if they find their baby nursing more frequently. You may have heard of the term cluster feeding. This is when a baby will feed more frequently than usual. Cluster feeding is common during growth spurts however baby will soon resume normal feedings and this not a cause for concern.

Another reason why a mom might think they are not producing enough milk is because they are not as full or find they are no longer leaking as they have in the past. Your milk will self regulate and you may find with time that you may not leak or be as engorged.

The best way to tell if your production is reduced is through the babies weight gain and diapers. Be sure to keep track of how many diapers they have daily and talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned. I am linking a great article on how many diapers you should be changing daily from one month to one year here .

Pumping and Nursing

If you are a nursing mom that is not pumping you want to bring the baby to the breast frequently. The key here is frequency, not necessarily duration. Be sure to take the time to nurse every one to two hours including both breasts. Even if its just for a short period of time you are still stimulating your breasts to make more milk.

If you are a pumping mom be sure you have a high quality pump as this will help you to express more milk. Here is the link to the pump I used. Pull out that pump after each breastfeeding session. Even if you find you are not producing any milk you are still stimulating your breasts to make more milk.

It has been proven that a lactating mom will produce more milk in the morning. Add in an additional pumping session and take advantage of that window when your hormones for milk production are high. I would feed my baby and then add in an additional pumping session every morning. I would then stock pile the milk for a rainy day. I continued to do this until she was a year old and we were no longer donating.

How to Increase your Milk Supply While Breastfeeding: Power Pumping:

If you have not heard of power pumping you need to give it a try. When I started back at work I noticed a decrease in my milk production. I Power Pump on my way home at least weekly. You need an hour of time to do this and your pump in addition to a clock or timer. Please do this responsibility if you are driving, or save this until you are catching up on your favorite show on Netflix.

If you have not picked up your hands free cups or car adapter for your pump check out my previous breastfeeding post for the links.

Power Pumping:

  1. Attach your pump to both breasts and set your timer for 20 minutes
  2. Stop pumping but leave your cups on and rest for 10 minutes
  3. Pump for 10 minutes
  4. Rest for 10 minutes
  5. Finally Pump for 10 minutes, and then your done

The more frequently you can do this the better. You may not get any milk or you may find you achieve multiple letdowns that is fine keep trying and hopefully you will see an improvement soon.

How to Increase your Milk Supply While Breastfeeding: Supplementation

Supplementation can be helpful to some with a low milk supply. You should always talk to your doctor before supplementing. Also if you happen to donate milk please be sure to check with the donation company. It is important to be transparent and make sure you don’t need to withhold milk if you decide to go ahead with supplementation.

Fenugreek is a common supplement that some women swear by. I have used it since I have no longer been donating with success. I am linking the one I use below.

You can also use a mothers milk and lactation tea like the ones listed below. Traditional Medicinals and pink stork are great companies and their teas have awesome reviews via Amazon.

Another solution that some women swear by is fennel essential oil. It is applied to the breast and washed off before nursing. I have not used this myself but have heard great things from others who have. Be sure to use a good quality oil. Young Living and Doterra are a few of my favorites.

As your breastfeeding journey continues you may find that your menstrual cycle may cause you to struggle with milk production. I have found that a calcium and magnesium supplement can be very helpful see the item linked below.

How to Incorporate Galactogogue Foods

A Galactogue food is a food that helps to increase milk supply. I am listing some of the most common foods and how you can incorporate them into your diet.

  • Oats: the most well known Galactogue that is frequently used in lactation cookies.  You can purchase these cookies or make your own recipe.  Here is a link to a gluten free lactation cookie recipe from Nora of A clean Bake.  If you have Celiac disease please be sure to get certified gluten free oats as they are commonly cross contaminated with gluten.
  • Garlic: a common Galactogue and can be added to almost any dish.  Garlic has many benefits and adds great depths of flavor to your dishes. Be sure to increase it in your diet often for maximum benefits.
  • Brewers Yeast: this is a Galactogue that is frequently made with gluten. If you are able to tolerate gluten many people swear by a good beer. If not there are some non gluten sources of Brewers Yeast.
  • Fennel: Just like the essential oil this spice is also great for milk production.  It is added to many lactation teas but can be added to your food for great flavor. Think breakfast sausage or Thanksgiving dinner.

Fed is Best

Mama I see you out there struggling. Remember to do the best you can and don’t stress the rest. Stress is one factor that can definitely reduce your milk supply. Relax take a bath, and be sure to try skin to skin while nursing. As a new mom I was so focused on breastfeeding that I frequently had anxiety around it. I was scared to death that one day my milk would just stop flowing. I have had times where I struggled to produce milk but through it all I have been able to continue to feed my little one.

If you are unable to produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed don’t beat yourself up. I do encourage you to continue to breastfeed if you are able and supplement in addition. Your baby will still get the many benefits of breastfeeding even if it is not the sole source of nutrition. If you are unable to continue breastfeeding know you are also making the right choice for your baby. Above all the noise fed is always best.

Whats Up on this Wednesday

Anyone else over summer and ready for fall? This week has been so hot in our neck of the woods. I am hoping to get some more organization going within the house. I have been following fly lady and her routines. If you have never checked her out you need to! She is a great source for keeping your house in order! Stay tuned for Fridays post as I will be featuring a recipe that uses everyone’s favorite kitchen gadget the instant pot. This recipes is chocked full of veggies and its one that will be great for a fall night.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, I may earn a commission if you complete a purchase after following the link .

Lifestyle

Breastfeeding Essentials

Infant baby girl wrapped in white sheet with pink bow in hair.

My Breastfeeding Journey

Today I am going to tell all you breastfeeding mamas about my must have breastfeeding essentials. This is going to be a multi part series about breastfeeding as I have been breastfeeding for just shy of 18 months. I have spent countless hours researching and have compiled a lot of good advice that I plan to share with you. This journey has had many ups and downs, tears and smiles. Breastfeeding might be one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it is definitely one of the most rewarding and biggest accomplishments of my life. I will go into my struggles and what helped me in future posts but this one is dedicated to my must haves so be sure to stay tuned.

Breastfeeding Essentials Pump and Pump Parts

Having a good quality pump is a very important breastfeeding essential. I received a Medela Pump in Style Advanced pump for my baby shower and have absolutely loved it. This pump is such great quality and that is key when choosing a pump. It is specifically designed to help with more breast milk expression. Be sure to get a good pump that is electric as manual pumps do not pull as much milk. Many insurance companies will pay for all or a portion of your pump. Heck get two if you are a working mom because lugging this thing around can be such a pain in the the butt! Below I am providing a link to my pump and a few others I have heard are good.

Pump Links

Medela Pump in Style Advanced
https://amzn.to/2lqsBTF
Spectra Pump
https://amzn.to/2lpCQri
Willow Breast Pump
https://shop.willowpump.com/pages/buy?kme=Google+Ad+Visit&km_Google+Ad+Id=340509355898&km_Google+Ad+Position=1o5&km_Google+Ad+Keyword=&km_Google+Ad+Matchtype=&km_Google+Ad+Network=g&km_Google+Ad+Device=c&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwpavpBRDQARIsAPfTwizF5nK8pCGGiP1NtztNW0zUVsWbqDAVCwzTbFwWZiEvg75jtlVLTVQaAouiEALw_wcB

This is a very useful tool used to collect excess milk on the opposite breast while feeding. It is especially useful before your milk is regulated when you tend to leak often.

Breastfeeding Essentials Pump Accessories

The right accessories for your pump can make all the difference. When you spend so much time attached to your pump you will find it helpful to make the process as painless as possible.

You have to purchase this car adapter for your pump. The Medela comes with a battery pack but you will burn through those batteries in no time. If you are like me and don’t have a good place to pump or travel frequently this is a LIFESAVER! It works with several pumps but be sure to check to make sure it works with yours.

If you are struggling with pain you need to give these a try. Its made of soft silicone and definitely provide a softer feel while pumping.

Freemie cups are a must have! You can insert these into your bra without having to have a special bra and can pump completely hands free. I used these daily. They are a lifesaver and an absolute must!

These two pillows are the most popular. I did not have much success with the Boppy. I believe that my breast friend would have worked better for me. However some women swear by and really love these pillows.

https://amzn.to/2Sh7uiU

These nursing covers can be used as a car seat cover and a nursing cover. They are stretchy and are super comfy.

These are my favorite bags for storing milk in. I also used the up and up brand from target. I used an extra flange as a funnel for pouring the milk in to keep it from spilling.

This is another one of my favorite ways to freeze milk in 1 oz portions so you can be more precise as well as minimize your plastic. I freeze these then combine them all in one big zip lock or food safe cloth bag.

Breastfeeding Essentials Increasing/Decreasing Milk Supply

I am going to go into some ways to increase/ decrease your milk supply and let down in a future post but here are my must have items you need to purchase.

Fenugreek is great for increasing your milk supply and I have had great success with this. Please be sure to get the okay from your doctor before use.

Fennel is a great essential oil to use when increasing your milk supply. You can apply directly to the breast avoiding the nipple area and not during feedings. As usual please ask your doctor before use.

Peppermint tea can be helpful if you have an oversupply. Be cautious as to not decrease your supply to much and as always check with your physician.

Breastfeeding Essentials Breast Care

Stock photo

There are tons of different nipple balms and creams out there but my favorite is good old fashioned coconut oil. This is edible and there is no need to remove it before breastfeeding. It can provide lubrication to your nipple during pumping if you find it painful and is a great overall moisturizer. We grab ours in bulk from Costco.

You are definitely going to need some nursing pads. I love reusable ones as you can wash them, they are also safer for the environment and easier on your skin.

This massage tool is great for those who struggle with lumps and it helps to improve the flow of milk. I wish I had this at the beginning as I consistently had lumps and a lot of pain that was hard to work through.

Donation

I was able to donate over 500 ounces to those in need and I encourage you to look into this if you have an abundance of milk. I chose the Austin Milk Bank and will go into this at a further date.

Feeding Toddlers

Check out my previous post on what I feed my toddler for more information on providing sound meals and first foods in a thoughtful and healthful way.

Pink kids divided plate filled with cubed cheese, ham, and grapes

Breastfeeding Essentials Give Away

I am partnering with a mom of four including 5 month old twins in this giveaway. We will be giving away some nursing pads because you can never have enough. In order to be entered into the giveaway follow me on Instagram as well as her account on Instagram. Tag some mamas who need these nursing pads and a bonus entry is by following my blog. Give away ends Sunday night July 21, 2019 and the winner will be announced via Instagram on Monday July 22, 2019. Good luck to you all and I hope you enjoyed my Breastfeeding essentials.Breastfeeding essentials

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, I may earn a commission if you complete a purchase after following the link .