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I’m I making enough breastmilk for my baby? Is my baby well-fed? How can I increase my milk supply?
If you keep asking yourself these questions, worry not, you are not alone. Many breastfeeding mothers often deal with self-doubt.
Breastfeeding, as satisfying and rewarding as it is, can be very frustrating, especially if you have a low milk supply.
The good news is that there are different ways you, as a new mommy, can use to produce more milk.
Before we look at the tips to increase milk production, it is essential first to know if your milk supply is really low.
Milk supply is more of a demand and supply kind of situation and if your baby sleeps well or does not cry often, then maybe you have no cause to worry.
How do you know you have a low milk supply or it’s just all in your mind?
Well, I’ll help you figure that out with only these few questions you need to ask yourself.
How much milk should you be producing?
Find out if your little one is getting enough milk by watching their weight gain, monitoring the diaper changes, and keeping an eye on their mood.
If all is good, then you have no cause for alarm.
Do you have false expectations?
This is mostly a challenge with new mothers.
If your baby seems to be hungrier than usual, the chances are that they are going through a growth spurt.
Is there a medical condition affecting your milk supply?
Hormonal imbalances, birth control pills, and other circumstances like previous breast surgeries can affect the production of milk.
Is your baby the challenge?
Sometimes it is never your fault.
If your baby has problems such as latching, tongue-tie, or breastfeeding jaundice, they might not breastfeed well, and this will affect the supply.
You might want to consult your pediatrician, especially if your baby has breastfeeding jaundice.
How To Increase Milk Supply Naturally
Here are some very natural ways that can help increase your milk supply.
Eat the Right Food
If you want to increase your milk supply, you need to feed on lactogenic foods. Make an effort to take these foods daily:
- Fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, berries, and garlic
- Nuts and seeds: Eat at least two tablespoons a day of walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, or sesame seeds.
- Dark leafy greens like cabbage, spinach, and kale
- Oats, quinoa, potatoes, dark chocolate, and buckwheat
Some foods may change the flavor of your breast milk, and your baby might not like it.
Should this happen, find what food it is and remove it from your diet.
Increase your Fluid Intake
Breast milk is 88% water. Therefore, proper hydration ensures you produce sufficient milk.
If you are not drinking enough water, you will be dehydrated, tired, and suffer a low milk supply.
Breastfeeding moms should take at least 100 ounces of water every day.
If you are like me and the taste of water is repulsive, there are smart ways of getting well hydrated so that your milk supply is not affected.
First, you can take coconut water. I started taking coconut water while pregnant and I cannot rave enough about the excellent benefits.
Coconut water contains electrolytes that are highly beneficial to a breastfeeding mom.
Or, you can also take the body armor sports drink. Not only will it increase your fluid intake, but this drink will also boost your milk supply.
Remember only to drink your liquids to thirst. Do not force.
Keep your consumption of caffeinated drinks to a minimum as they are depressants and can affect your baby’s sleep.
Eat a Well-Balanced Meal
After nine months of eating and gaining weight, lots of moms are quick to try and get back in shape and can start dieting immediately.
While this can be good for your body figure, it is terrible for your baby.
You need to eat well-balanced meals and good portions while at it.
Breastfeeding moms require 300-500 extra calories a day above what was required while pregnant.
If you are checking on your weight, take a banana or peanut butter sandwich to ensure you get enough calories.
Feed the Baby Fully On Each Breast
If your are breastfeeding your baby often you will produce more milk.
When your breasts are empty, your brain gets the go-ahead to start producing milk.
Your baby will also get the foremilk and hindmilk when they feed well which is good for their development.
Therefore, anytime you have to nurse your baby, let them do it for as long as they want to.
Latch The Baby Properly
Your baby cannot feed well if they do not latch correctly.
A poor latch could be the reason you have a low milk supply, while a good latch can considerably increase your milk production.
A correct latch is where the baby has a large portion of the areola in their mouth and not just the nipple only.
Proper positioning also helps your baby get enough breast in their mouth and also ensures you and the baby are comfortable.
If there are any issues like an inverted nipple, lip, or tongue tie, address them well. These issues can be corrected, and if this is the case, see a lactation consultant or your physician.
I highly recommend The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class.
Every new mom must get this awesome course. You will get so many tips for latching your baby properly.
Avoid Feeding Bottles as Much as You Can
If you have chosen to breastfeed your baby, you should avoid using bottles and formula milk.
Breast milk is always the best, so stick to it, unless you are not able to breastfeed your little one.
Bottles are easy to use compared to getting milk from the breasts and will make your baby lazy.
They will not want to struggle with your breasts if gravity can give them milk easily.
However, if you have to use bottles, especially the working moms, get one that is not gravity fed.
For example the nanobebe breastmilk baby bottle. With these bottles, your baby will have to use their effort to get milk.
The Skin to Skin Method
When breastfeeding your baby, strip them down to their diaper and take your shirt off so that they can feel your skin on theirs.
The skin to skin contact stimulates milk flow, and it also helps to regulate their breathing and heart rates.
This is your time to bond with your baby. Do not forget to smile and look them in the eyes.
When lactating, your breast pump is probably the other thing that you spend most of your time with. It is your new best friend.
Like we mentioned early, empty breasts mean more milk supply.
Whether you are using a manual breast pump or an electric one, you need to have a pumping routine to get the milk flowing.
For example, wait about an hour after your baby has fed, pump for 20 minutes, rest for 5 minutes and pump again. Get a routine and stick to it.
Do not forget to store your milk in marked milk bags in the freezer.
Fun tip: Try to pump close to your baby; it will help you stay focused and encourage milk production. Read more about power pumping here.
Be Careful with your Hormones
Hormonal imbalances affect the flow of your milk. They can reduce your milk supply considerably.
You might not be able to do anything about low milk supply when going through ovulation and during your period, but you can do everything about the birth control method that you use.
Avoid using any hormonal birth control plans with estrogen.
Instead, talk to your doctor about progestin-only methods so that your milk supply is not affected in any way.
Keep an Eye Contact
The easiest way to increase your breastmilk supply is to focus on your baby.
For this to be effective, make sure your baby stays awake when feeding.
The smell, sound, feel, and the sight of your baby all contribute to helping you produce more milk.
You will also love nursing your baby while they are awake as you can encourage them to feed more.
Turn off the television, put your phone down, let your sole focus be the baby on your arms.
Nurse your Baby at Night
I know…you are tired, the day has been long, and all you want is sleep and more sleep.
The last thing you want to do is to wake up several times to nurse your baby.
Sadly, motherhood is a full-time job, and with a newborn, you might have to give up on that dream of sleeping throughout the night for a while.
Here is why you should nurse at night: prolactin, which is the primary hormone responsible for making milk, exists at high levels at night.
Therefore, pumping or nursing at night, even if it’s only once, will significantly increase the amount of milk you make.
Massage your Breasts
When your milk ducts clog, they restrict the flow of milk, and your baby doesn’t feed well. Clogged milk ducts affect your milk production.
Massaging your breasts clears the clogs, allowing milk to flow through the ducts easily. Clogs also cause infections, which may lead to mastitis.
Try to massage your breasts daily, and use firm pressure. If it is painful, then you are doing it the wrong way.
Take it Easy
A mom has one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. However, it can be challenging, especially when you have to do it alone.
If you can get help from family, friends, or baby daddy, take full advantage of it.
You need time to relax, maybe get a massage, go for a walk, sleep, or exercise. The goal is to get some time for yourself.
A relaxed mom is a happy mom, and this will help with increasing your milk production.
Breastfeeding online classes
The right breastfeeding class will guide you in all matters of breastfeeding. From learning how to latch properly, to guiding you on how to boost your milk production, these courses are a MUST HAVE for any mom who is in doubt about her milk production.
Not only that, you are able to connect with other breastfeeding mamas giving you the breastfeeding support you need.
I highly recommend these two courses. Trust me, you will learn how to breastfeed PROPERLY and increase your milk supply in a matter of hours. And the best thing, if you buy them NOW, you will enjoy amazing DISCOUNTS.
Drinking Dark Beer: Does This Work?
For several years, women have been told that drinking beer (especially dark beer) can increase milk production.
The yeast in beer and especially dark beers has galactagogue, a substance that helps to increase breast milk supply.
Alcohol also helps mothers relax so that they can make more milk quickly.
However, beer is a depressant, meaning it will not only inhibit your ability to produce milk, but it will also get you and your baby intoxicated.
Alcohol is also harmful to children; their livers are not mature enough to handle it. To keep your baby safe, stay away from alcohol while breastfeeding.
Supplements to Increase Milk Supply
When trying to know how to increase breast milk supply, there are several safe options to consider.
Some supplements may help boost milk production. They include;
This herbal supplement is quite common among breastfeeding mothers. It is affordable and convenient.
Start slow with the dosage and only increase the dosage if need be.
Check out nature’s way fenugreek available in capsule form.
Let There Be Milk
This is an all-natural supplement that also helps to increase milk production.
It’s vegetarian with its main ingredients being fenugreek and red raspberry.
Pink Stork Lactation Tea
While there are a few other teas that you can take to get more milk, this tea is one of the best.
Pink Stork Lactation Tea is a caffeine-free herbal supplement with many positive reviews from breastfeeding moms who have used it.
Bake some lactation cookies with this yeast. You can even add it to your lactation smoothies.
It is a healthy supplement full of iron, vitamin B, and proteins. It is all-natural and is used to increase milk supply.
RELATED: 7 Best Lactation Smoothies Recipes For Nursing Moms
Mamas Select Goats Rue
Everyone responds differently to herbs.
Having a supplement with a blend of different herbs is an excellent way to know which herb is the best for you.
Get the pump princess and take it as instructed to boost your supply.
These supplements are natural, affordable and are all available on Amazon. They stimulate milk production and are safe for you and your baby.
We hope we have covered most of the useful tips that can help you know how to increase milk supply.
If, even after trying the tips we have shared above, you feel your baby is not getting enough breastmilk, it is important to talk to a lactation consultant or your doctor.
Do not feel like you have failed your baby if you cannot produce enough milk. Always remember fed is best. Whether its breast milk or its formula.
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