Breastfeeding: Milk Supply

How to Help Encourage Milk Production After Giving Birth:

These are 5 tips I used to help encourage my milk supply in the 1st month after giving birth.

How to Increase Milk Supply:

Note: Once your milk production has been established you may want or need to increase your milk supply. This is not mandatory for all breastfeeding moms.

Below you’ll find a list of foods & tips on how to keep your milk supply THRIVING. Also, remember mama, CONSISTENCY IS KEY. None of these things will benefit your supply if you are not consistent on this journey. Removing milk often and effectively is the number one component to your milk supply. Use this list to assist you on this journey!!

1. Eat Oatmeal Daily Along with Other Grains: Eating oats and other grains are the best for increasing milk supply and are high in Iron. Iron deficiency anemia, which is common in new moms, can definitely mess with milk supply.

2. Eat Salmon 2-3x a Week: Eating 8-12 ounces a week is safe. Known to boost lactation hormones. Also makes your milk more nutritious.

3. Add Lactation Treats to Your Diet: Do your research to find the best one for you,  with REAL ingredients that promote lactation. There are so many different products on the market-  Cookies, teas, shakes etc. My favorite is MRS. PATEL’S. Use code LACTMAMA20 for 20% off. Also, DIY and make your own treat. Mamas are pretty creative. Pinterest has great easy to follow recipes.

4. Eat “Super Foods”: Spinach, greens, kale, asparagus, and sweet potatoes are a great source of nutrients that help to stimulate hormones essential for lactation. These are just a few. Do your research. Choose super foods that you enjoy.

5. Try Fenugreek: This herb aids in boosting milk supply. Beware of allergic reaction. If you or baby are allergic to nuts or seeds this may not be an option for you. Also check with doctor for the best dosage for you. Here is a great article, Is Fenugreek right for me and my baby?

6. Add Coconut Water/ Coconut to Your Diet: Coconut is known to promote milk secretion. Also boosts baby’s immunity and has properties that protect baby from various harmful infections.

7. Stay Hydrated: Drink LOTS of water and fluids. I recommend drinking at least 80 oz a day. A gallon a day if possible. Remember, your body needs water to function properly. When you body has what it needs, it is able to do what it needs too, resulting in making MILK.

8. Have Some Tea: Mother’s milk was my favorite. It consists of a nice blend of herbs that help boost lactation. Taste pretty good and worked well to help increase my supply. Have 1-2 cups a day. Other teas that help increase milk production are Nettle Leaf, and Fennel Tea.

9. Try Certain Essential OilsEssential oils are helpful natural remedies for increasing breast milk supply. You can apply directly to the breasts, use in a diffuser as aromatherapy,  or apply to pulse points on the body. The ankles and outside the ear are great options. Lavender oil and Fennel oil are two milk increasing essential oils commonly used.

10. Have you Tried Chickpeas: Chickpeas are a great protein and eating a serving a day can help boosts supply.

11. Choose your Fats & Oils Wisely: Opt for olive oil, rice bran oil, avocado oil or any other heart healthy oil and fat. These are essential for baby’s development. Also important for producing healthy milk supply.

12. Nurse/ Pump at Certain Times: Research shows that many moms get the most milk first thing in the morning. Also, pump between feedings, either 30 mins- 60 mins after nursing or an hr before a feeding.

13. Try Eating Clean: Sticking to Non-processed foods can help with milk production. Also, aids in a healthy milk supply.

14. Have You Tried Brewers Yeast: It is a yeast that is used in bread making, wine making, and the brewing of top-fermenting beer. Brewster yeast is known to be very effective in increasing milk supply. Also contains important vitamins for baby at the same time helps with fatigue in mothers.

15. EAT EAT EAT: Don’t be afraid to eat while Breastfeeding/pumping. You need FOOD! Remember Lactating Mama, you’re burning 300-500 calories a day. Don’t forget to fuel your body! When your body is fueled, it is able to function properly resulting in MILK PRODUCTION.

16. GET HANDS ON: Don’t be afraid to massage the girls. Massaging the breasts help clear milk ducts and allows the milk to flow more freely. This helps to empty the breasts more effectively, which means that the body is told to make MORE milk… and try hand expression. Research has shown that hand expressing your milk before and after using the pump stimulates more milk resulting in higher milk production.

17. Adjust Your speed and Suction Settings During a Pump Session: This sounds a little confusing so let me break it down for you. You know how you have a set speed and suction that you use the entire time? Well during your session you would play with these. Basically increasing the speed and suction and then decreasing after 3-5 mins. Repeating this the entire session. This is similar to how a baby feeds. If you notice when your baby first starts eating, they have a nice suction going on and are eating super fast. After a while, the suction lets up and the speed starts to decrease too. Well this is what you would try to replicate by adjusting the pump settings.

18. PUMP MORE: Add pump sessions after a feeding. This is a great way to increase your supply. This tells your body, I NEED MORE MILK. This will trigger your body to produce more. To keep your supply up with this method you would have to continue to remove your milk by nursing, pumping or hand expressing your milk.

19. Add Power Pumping Session: Power pumping is not a replacement for regular breast pumping sessions. Instead, power pumping is intended to boost your progress by replacing one regular sess with this technique of pumping. Basically it works by repeatedly emptying the breast, which tells your body to make more milk, more quickly. You must be consistent. I recommend trying this for 3-4 days straight and at least 1-2x a day. Below you’ll find an example of a Power Pumping Session. Remember use this technique after your feed your LO or after a regular pump sess.

20. Try Adding a Cluster Pumping Session: This type of pumping can be time consuming, however, this way of pumping mimics natural feeding schedules and can improve your milk production greatly. This is when you pump 5-15 mins and then take a break. You repeat this for several hours. I would recommend doing this once a day for 2-3 days starting off. You can increase to 2x a day for 3-5 consecutive days if needed.

Things that can decrease milk supply: BEWARE

1. Peppermint/ Menthol: Known to dry up milk supply. Typically used when weaning.

2. Eating to much Parsley: Known to have milk suppressing properties.

3. Consuming to Much Sage: Can decrease milk supply if eaten regularly.

4. Some Tea Blends: Read ingredients. Many teas have herbs that will cause milk to dry up. e.g. Mummy Magic Weight-loss Tea says “breastfeeding SAFE” but it does decease milk supply. I experienced a drastic decrease the next day. Most likely due to the peppermint used as a major ingredient.

5. Not Eating or Drinking Enough: Not eating enough food or drinking enough water will hurt your supply. Not only will this cause a decrease in your supply, but you’ll feel terrible. Your baby is taking a lot from you while breastfeeding. You need extra nutrients to thrive. Your body needs food and hydration to function properly. Its recommended that breastfeeding moms eat 500 additional cals. When you work out you will most likely need to add more. Always make sure you stay hydrated, drinking to quench your thirst.

6. Rapid Weight Loss: Losing a pound a week is fine but losing more can cause a decrease in supply.

7. Aunt Flow: For the “lucky” mamas who get their menstrual cycle while breastfeeding/ exclusively pumping you may see a decrease in supply. Many start to see a decrease days before, when some may only experience a decrease during their cycle. Don’t worry. Breastfeeding during this time is still safe. It is recommended that mamas who do experience a decrease take a calcium/ magnesium supplement of 500 -1000 mg to help with that. Usually taken 1st day of ovulation until day 2 or 3 of cycle. Typically mamas see their supply return to “normal” once cycle has ended.

8. To Much Alcohol: The occasional glass of wine is OK. I would suggest staying away from hard alcohol until you’ve stopped breastfeeding completely.

9. Ongoing STRESS: I know right?! Research states that ongoing stress can affect let down. Always try to keep calm and remember to BREATHE through this journey.

10. Other Key Factors That Play a Role in a SUPPLY DECREASE: A change in feeding schedule, missed pump sessions, baby starts to sleep through the night, or introducing solids. I would consider these the main contributing factors to why over 50% of mamas experience a decrease in supply. The good thing is that these can easily be fixed by using the tips above on HOW TO INCREASE YOUR MILK SUPPLY.

11. Improper Use/ Care of Breast Pump & Parts: Do your research. Read your Breast Pump manuals. You would be surprised at how many machines are being used incorrectly. Tip** Mamas, don’t put your machine on full blast and have your suction on the max. This will not work. This is not a baby’s natural sucking rhythm. This can definitely cause you to see a decrease in supply easily. The key to being successful at using a Breast Pump is not necessarily having the most expensive or “BEST” brand pumping machine. It’s more about finding the speed and suction that your body responds too best. Also, pay attention to your pump parts. Tip** Replace your pump parts regularly. It is recommended that certain parts be replaced as often as every 2 weeks – 4 months depending on how often you use your pump. If any parts are worn or damaged then replace immediately to ensure that your breast pump is working at its full potential. Extra parts can be purchased through amazon. Also, many insurance companies cover extra parts, as well as Breast Pumps. You can find more information by clicking below!

Every woman is different and what works for some may not work for others. I suggest figuring out what works best for you by using the trial and error method. I had to try many things until I found what work for me. Please use these tips to see what helps you on this journey. From one Lactating Mama to another… YOU GOT THIS! The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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