5 tips to increase your milk supply (that doesn't include fenugreek)
Did you know that last week was World Breast Feeding Week?
Breastfeeding is one of my favorite things about having an infant. At times it can be difficult, time consuming and frustrating, but for me the good by far surpasses any negatives. With Nora now mobile and army crawling everywhere, sometimes I feel like it is the only time she is still when she is awake. I love that when I nurse her she reaches up and gently touches my face, the little suckling noises she makes and the fact that I am forced to just sit and be still while holding my baby girl multiple times each day. Nora is our fourth baby and likely the last infant I will breastfeed, so I am trying to savor every moment and am in no rush to wean her.
About a month ago I noticed a huge decrease in my milk supply. In the past with my other three, I had trained hard while breastfeeding and never had any supply issues. I drink well over a gallon of water each day and eat a nutrient dense high caloric diet, so running and training in the heat was my best guess as to the cause of the problem. I also noticed that Nora seemed constipated, which began to stress me out! She was likely constipated because she wasn’t getting enough fluids. She refused water through a bottle or a sippy cup, until I figured out that I just needed to warm the water (little diva!).
I have a Medela electric pump that is ancient and stopped working well, so I had been using a Medela hand pump, which had been working well, until now. Being that Nora is almost 9 months old I really didn’t want to buy a new pricey pump for the last few month (tears!). I have a friend who is a Lactation consultant through my insurance provider and she reminded me that I can rent a hospital grade pump free of charge! I immediately called my insurance and they were so great and even delivered one to my door at 10pm that same night. I was impressed!
So, for the past few weeks I significantly cut back on my running mileage and have been pumping several times each day, and voila, my milk game is strong!
Tips to increase milk supply:
1. Pump after feedings
Pumping after feedings stimulates your breast to produce more milk (supply and demand). Also, I noticed that since Nora became mobile, she gets so distracted and doesn’t fully drain my breast, therefore my body didn’t think it needed to make more milk.
Think about how many ounces of milk your little one is drinking in a day and just remember that you need to drink plenty of water to supply that AND properly hydrate your own body. I could have just drank ten cups of water, but as soon as I sit down to nurse I suddenly feel like I am drying of dehydration (anyone else?).
Fuel your body with nutrient dense foods. Eat plenty of protein, veggies and fruits, as well as healthy fats, avocado, coconut oil, nuts and seeds. It is pretty incredible that our bodies were created to supply premium nutrients for our little ones, so take care of your body and fuel it right.
4. Dream feed
Let your little one latch on and nurse while sleeping. We co-sleep (if you have any negative comments, please keep them to yourself), so if Nora wakes up in the night I let her nurse while we both are sleeping.
5. Sleep and de-stress
Getting enough sleep is important for so many reasons, but not getting enough sleep may have a negative effect on your milk supply. Aim for seven to eight hours each night! (Wayyyy easier said than done, I get it; I have four kids under age seven!). Stress can also play a role in not producing enough milk. Do your best to eliminate stressors and find ways to relax and de-stress when possible.
I want to know what has worked for you so comment below and let me know!