Even though breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, it isn’t always the easiest journey. One of the biggest challenges with breastfeeding is maintaining your milk supply.
Many first-time moms, or extended breastfeeding moms may struggle with this issue, either from inexperience or the demands of life. But boosting your milk supply is something you can train your body to do naturally.
Before trying to increase your milk supply it helps to check if you really do have a low supply issue.
Determining a low milk supply
So, how do you actually know if you have a low supply (besides physically measuring your milk output which of course isn’t always accurate)?
First, check to see if your baby is having less than 6 wet diapers per day. This is often the first sign that indicates a lack of milk production.
Next, check to see if your baby is gaining weight. You can make a quick doctor appointment for a weight check, while expressing your concerns or invest in a simple baby scale.
With so much misinformation out there, it’s also key to note what factors do NOT determine your milk supply:
- Baby seems fussy and wants to nurse all of the time? This is usually caused by cluster feeding and growth spurts. Meaning baby will want to be on the breast for extended amounts of time when going through a new development cycle.
- Pumping output? Normal pumping output after feeding your baby is .5 to 2oz. Not to mention some women do not respond well to pumping.
(If all else fails and you still have questions about your low milk supply, consult with an lactation consultant.)
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Natural Ways to Increase Your Milk Supply
Nurse, Nurse, Nurse! The absolute best way to increase your supply is by nursing your baby. Nothing is going to help your supply like your baby suckling on the breast. If possible make sure to nurse skin-to-skin.
Pump 5 to 10 times per day. I know this sounds like a lot of pumping but sometimes women see a decrease in their milk supply because their baby is not emptying their breasts. After baby nurses, try pumping for 10 to 20 minutes. You can also try power pumping which would entail spending one hour hooked up to the pump. You’ll pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes and then pump for 10 minutes. Doing a power pumping session mimics your baby cluster feeding. (If you’re looking for pump recommendations, this is one of the best to buy!)
Drink water throughout the day to help boost your milk production. You can even drink 2 to 3 cups of Mother’s Milk Tea per day. Mother’s Milk Tea has fennel, fenugreek and a variety of other herbs that help with production.
Eat natural oats.
Eat a bowl of oatmeal every day. Oatmeal is said to increase a mother’s milk supply. However, you should avoid those instant packets of oatmeal. You want to opt for old-fashion oatmeal that you cook on the stove. Add some brewer’s yeast or flax seed for an extra boost!
Try using supplements to help with milk production. There are so many supplements to help boost milk production. One that gets excellent reviews from other moms is the Motherlove More Milk Special Blend. You do have to take this supplement four times per day and it doesn’t taste great but it’s worth seeing if it works for you.
A few other supplements that you might want to consider are:
If you’re wondering where to find these supplements try your local pharmacy or buy online.
With these simple breastfeeding tips, you will most certainly see a greater output in your milk production over time. Breastfeeding is not always easy, but with perseverance you can manage it and begin to nourish your new bundle of joy as you choose!
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.