It is not uncommon for moms to experience times of low milk supply and it can usually be resolved by methods such as correcting the latch, nursing more frequently or for longer periods of time, and with additional pumping.
While these and other methods work for many women, some mothers do not see an increase in milk supply with these measures alone. For these moms there are several ways that you can naturally help increase your milk supply. These might not work for everyone so experiment with different options and combinations to see what works best for you.
1. Avoid Certain Medications
Some medications, like certain cold medicines, have been known to decrease breast milk supply dramatically. Check out The KellyMom website it has a great list of medications with safety information and alternative methods for relief when you are sick.
2. Make & Eat Lactation Cookies
These are a delicious and nutritious way to increase your milk supply. Ingredients are items like oats, fenugreek, and brewer’s yeast all known to increase milk supply. Here is a yummy recipe you can try!. You can even by mixes online or pre baked cookies and have them shipped to you! Lactation cookie mix can be baked and frozen for up to 6 months. It’s totally safe for your family to eat the cookies and no it will NOT make your husband lactate.
3. Stress Mana gement
Did you know that stress can block the letdown reflex and reduce milk flow. Extreme stress and you may not be able to pump or nurse even though the milk is in your breast. Some tips to help relieve stress : meditate, find a few minutes for just yourself to calm down and refocus, do something to pamper yourself, chat with a friend, get outside and re ground yourself.
4. Stop Taking or Change Birth Control Pill
Many women report milk supply ceasing while taking birth control pills. Contraceptives that contain only progestin are compatible with breastfeeding. Contraceptives that contain both estrogen and progestin can cause you to produce less milk. This applies to all methods that contain both, including the patch and vaginal ring. The mini pill, birth control shots, implants, and IUD are all breastfeeding friendly.
Sleep sleep sleep! I know it seems impossible with a newborn and/or other children in the house. However, get it in whenever you can. Your body has to rest!
6. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is very important. You goal is half your body weight in water. Example: if you weigh 130 pounds you should drink 65 ounces a day. Keeping a water bottle close by at all times makes this goal much easier. Coconut water comes highly recommended by lactation consultants. An added perk is that it provides a lot of health benefits which are awesome for your postpartum body.
7. Nurse Your Baby Naked
Skin to skin contact increases milk supply. Undress your baby and lay them on your bare breasts. It helps maintain their physiological stability, regulate respiration, increase blood oxygenation levels, and stabilize body temperature. This is calming for both mother and baby. Also one-sided breastfeeding is often not enough while you are attempting to increase your breast milk supply. The more frequently both breasts are emptied the better.
8. Massage Breasts
Massaging your breasts will clear milk ducts and get the milk flowing more freely, this will empty the breasts and increase milk production. Use some coconut oil or lotion for massage. In a circular motion, massage your lymph glands in your armpits. This will get the blood and toxins flowing. Continue down to your breast by pressing with your thumb down. Don’t be too hard or your could damage your glandular tissue. Breast massages should be done daily.
Oatmeal is a key ingredient in lactation cookies. Some prefer rolled oats over steel cut oats. Steel cut oats make more milk. If you’re making cookies please use rolled oats. You’re not limited to of a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. You can try adding some dry oats in a smoothie. An added benefit here is that oatmeal is good for weight loss and heart health.
10. Power pumping
What I mean by this is pumping in cycles. After you nurse immediately pump for 10 minutes. This mimics cluster feeding and will get any extra milk out that the baby didn’t need during that session. Another way is to pump for about 10 minutes. Take a 15 minute break then pump for another 10 minutes. Do this for a couple of cycles. The way it works has to do with supply and demand. Your body produces more if you tell it to.
There are no scientific studies that show that certain herbs will make you produce more milk. However, some mothers and lactation consultants believe that certain herbs can increase the production of breast milk.
Fenugreek Is a dietary supplement that comes in pill form. You can buy this just about anywhere. Dosage will vary dependent on the brand you buy. Please follow the directions specific to the brand purchased. You can also find Fenugreek as a tea. Most mom’s have reported noticing a change in 24-72 hours. You’ll know it’s working once your urine starts to smell like maple syrup….. yes you read that right maple syrup. Your may notice your sweat may smell like syrup also.
12. Brewers yeast
This is another key ingredient in those delicious cookies I mentioned earlier.An awesome way to get Brewers Yeast into your diet is to put it in a smoothie. It is also sold in pill form. You can buy it at most health food stores or order online. Some other herbals herbal suggestions include…Blessed Thistle, Alfalfa, Fennel, And Raspberry Leaf
IMPORTANT: As there can be considerable variations in quality and strength of herbal remedies, I recommend that you speak to a qualified herbalist personally before using any herbal remedies.
The best advice that I have to give to you would be to make sure you reach out for help as soon as you can. Don’t struggle in silence or give up on yourself. Breastfeeding troubles can quickly spiral out of control and result in a dash to the supermarket for some formula. No matter if you call a breastfeeding helpline, source a lactation consultant or purchase some good breastfeeding books know that help is available and make yourself familiar with them in case the need arises. Just some good old fashioned advice and support may be all you need! If breastfeeding ends up not being in the cards for you it’s ok. Do not feel bad in any way. Fed is best and however that lookd for your family is whats right for your family.