Today we are going to discuss breastfeeding and some ways to increase your milk supply. I had someone recently contact me and share her story. It was heart wrenching- NOT enough milk to feed her child. She is not a newbie she just had her 7th child and is trying everything she can think of. She said she drinks lots of water and eats healthy fat. She has had to resort to formula feeding and supplementing with breastmilk due to extremely slow weight gain of her infant. I mean dangerously slow weight gain. Let’s rally around this mama and think of things for her to try!
I am so sad for her because I have never struggled to have enough milk to feed any of my four children. With Eldest, my first baby, I could probably have fed 2-3 other babies. I tandem fed Eldest and Princess for a couple of months. Then completely was done breastfeeding for almost 3 years before Big Red was born. I had just weaned him and 2 months later found out I was pregnant with Lil’ Red.
Now I am on a mission, a quest. I hate to hear of a mom struggling so hard to do something she feels is right for her child. I spent most of a day researching and reading ways to increase your milk supply and thought I should share them in case others need ideas as well.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, midwife, doula, herbalist or a lactation consultant. I have not taken any formal training past a 30 minute class after I was pregnant with Big Red. I have consulted once with a lactation consultant after Eldest was born and in the NICU. I am just a mom breastfeeding her 4th nursling trying to give support and ideas to other breastfeeding moms.
Increasing Your Milk Supply:
Mom’s Overall Health– Did you gain enough weight during pregnancy? Have you been checked for anemia or other blood disorders? Do you have any chronic illnesses or diseases?
Become a human pacifier– Yes, I cringe at even typing this BUT if your baby is little without teeth this can be done to help stimulate your milk supply. It is okay to allow your baby to suckle! Think of a mama cat and her kittens. (Sorry I grew up on a farm so that analogy came to mind.)
Drink more fluids– Drink more water but throw in some lemonade, tea, or milk so you don’t get burnt out on plain water.
Get more sleep– I know don’t think I am crazy. My babies nurse while sleeping through the night. I have been known to wake up and stick a booby in their mouths so I didn’t get too full and leak. Resting even for shorter 15-20 minute spurts throughout the day might just give your body that energy boast to help increase your supply.
Herbal Supplements-There are all sorts of Lactation Tea’s, essential oils, and Lactation cookie recipes that could be tried. Fenugreek is one supplement that has lots of controversy surrounding it. Here’s a recipe for Mamma’s Milk Tea from Amanda at Natural Living Mamma.
Pump between feedings– Try hand expressing or using a pump between feedings to stimulate your breasts to increase your milk supply. I own a couple versions of Medela pumps which I was given in the hospital and LOVE IT!
Stress– How stressed are you? How many other little ones are you caring for? When is the last time you laughed till your cheeks hurt?
Things to Check your baby for:
Does your baby have a good and proper latch? If you are not sure consult with an experience mom, your nurse, or Lactation Consultant.
Does your baby have a strong suck? If not, then you need your pediatrician to make sure there’s no cleft pallet or tongue tie.
Does your baby nurse till satisfied? Does your baby nurse short and frequent OR longer and infrequent? I’ve had a baby that ate every 45 minutes to an hour and only one side at a time! I’ve had a baby that nursed every 2-3 hours completely emptying one side and that was that. If you offered the other side you were up for a fight! I’ve had a baby that could drain both sides and then just be satisfied.
Does your baby nurse all day AND night? Making sure to feed on demand will help keep your baby full and growing. Sleeping through the night isn’t really a good think for a slow growing baby. Your baby should only sleep 4 hours and then need to be nursed. Now I am NOT saying wake your baby up. Just gently nudge your baby’s mouth with your nipple and she should start to nurse- at least all of mine did, lol. I never had a baby wake up screaming due to an empty belly!
Does anyone in your family have a super high metabolism? My dad can go and go and eat and eat and not gain weight. Big Red eats pretty well and goes all day long. Rarely takes a nap and is as skinny as a rail, barely on the charts! His favorite things to eat were blueberries, diced ham, and avocado. Very lean things for a lean guy.
This post was part of the #LatchOnLinkUp Breastfeeding linky: