Before my boys were even born I was worried if I was going to have enough milk to feed two babies. I had a c-section because my baby b was breach almost my enitre pregnancy and I knew that was going to slow my milk coming in as well. When we got the boys home a few days later they seemed like they were endlessly hungry, I had no clue then that they were going threw a growth spurt. I also had to supplement per doctors orders to get them back up to birth weight. I didn’t realize then I should pump more often so my body could keep up with demand so I wouldn’t have to supplement. I was terrified I would always have to supplement or that I would loose my supply all together so I started asking friends and doing a lot of research to find out how to increase my supply.
•Skin to skin. It is important to get skin to skin with newborn as soon as possible after birth for many reasons, helps regulate babies body breathing, keeps baby warm, helps with postpartum depression, and helps produce milk. Babies that are skin to skin immediately after birth tend to nurse sooner and longer, getting mama’s milk to come in sooner.
• Drink plenty of water. Seems easy enough but you gotto drink more then you think. Best way to think of it is to drink half your weight in ounces of water. So I weight 190lb, so I drink 95 ounces of water every day. That seems like a daunting amount but I just always have my 20oz water bottle with me, and drink every time I nursel. Breast milk is about 90% water so you need to drink a lot to produce.
• Nurse, nurse, nurse! Especially in the early days you want to feed on demand, and yes when they are going threw growth spurts and are cluster feeding it feels endless, but their bodies are doing a lot of work growing and breast milk digests so quickly they need the extra food. Not only does it help them, but it will help you too because breast milk comes in at demand, so the more they nurse, the more your body will make, and the more peace of mind you can have that your little ones are getting enough to eat.
•Dont supplement. It can be tempting to give your little one some formula if you don’t feel your making enough, but by feeding on demand you are telling your body to make more. Trust your body, you are making enough, just sometimes babies need/ want more.
•Get plenty of rest. Haha, good joke right, but it really does help boost your supply. Don’t be afraid to ask for help so you can get some rest. My fiance helped in the begining by making dinner, taking care of the dogs and cat, doing the errands, doing the laundry and accepted that the house was not going to be picture perfect clean all the time.
•Relax. I know how hard it is in the very beginning, it gets so much easier after three months. My boys are 4 and half months and there are still occasional hard day. Don’t let the little things in life weight you down too much. The more you stress, the less milk your body is going to release. Let the tears out if you need, find someone you trust to talk to freely about your worries, it feels a lot better to let it out.
•Eat healthy and often.We always have granola bars and yogurt and fruit in stock. I make a few things all at once like a couple of sandwiches, overnight oatmeal, green juice, and a portion of carrots or cherries so I can just grab a snack when I get a chance because I didn’t have time or energy to make real meals just for myself. Breast feeding one baby burns about 500 calories per day, so I am burning about 1000 calories a day nusing two boys. Your body needs a little extra food so it has energy to produce milk.
•Galactagogues; a substance that helps promote milk production. My personal favorite is oatmeal, it’s quick, easy and delicious. Other supplements I’ve found effective are fenugreek, marshmallow root, alfalfa, and red raspberry leaf.
•Other foods that help increase production; flax seed meal, brewers yeast, nuts, spinach, sweet potatoes, rice ginger and garlic. My pediatrician gave me some great advice, not so much to increase supply but make milk richer, eat ice cream before bed! I loved telling my fiance I need ice cream, doctors orders!
•Pump. Adding an extra pumping session can help boost your supply. Whether your in the early days trying to get milk to come in or you have your supply established but you feel your supply is low due to stress, change in schedule or going back to work. Just adding a couple 15 to 20 minute sessions can do the trick. Another pumping choice is power pumping. Pump for 10 minutes, then rest for 10 minutes, repeat on and off for one hour.
It’s important to know that yes pumping will help increase supply but expressed milk from pumping is not equivalent to what your baby is getting while nursing. On an average pumping session a you can expect 1/2 ounce to 2 ounces total for both breasts. If you get more then that you may have an over supply or your body reacts very well to your pump.
So there it is, my list of what I’ve learned. I just want to clarify, I am not at all a health care professional, this is just a list of what worked for me and other people I’ve talked to. If you found something that worked great for you please comment and let me know. 🙂