I remember when I first got pregnant, my husband and I discussed formula feeding versus breastfeeding. We both decided for a multitude of reasons (health benefits, finances) that I was going to breastfeed. Rather, I was going to try to breastfeed. It’s not always guaranteed. My research was full of magical breastfeeding stories that gave me hope, as well as some soul-crushing ones where the mother wasn’t able to produce enough milk and the journey ended before it could even begin. I already knew I’d be on the internet searching for ways to increase my breast milk supply before I even started my nursing journey.
As a new mom, or even a second or third-time mom, I can guarantee if you’re breastfeeding the thought of “Do I make enough milk?” or “How can I increase my breast milk supply to ensure I make enough?” has probably crossed your mind. You may have even reached out to Google or your Mom groups. It’s most certainly why you’re here reading this now.
Increase the Demand, Increase Your Breast Milk Supply
It’s all about supply and demand. The nurse in the hospital told me that the first two weeks are important in getting your supply to where it needs to be. I’m not entirely sure how true that is, because there are mothers all over my Facebook groups who are 3 months, 7 months in and looking for ways to increase their supply. And many succeed! So just because you are out of the two-week window, don’t think
that you are doomed to a low supply.
Although for the most part, it is all about supply and demand. There are some medical conditions that make production difficult, for example hypoplasia or insufficient glandular tissue (IGT). Additionally, a poor latch and difficulty breastfeeding in the beginning can also derail a mother’s breastfeeding dream.
The Real Reason You’re Reading This
This article is meant to help those who are looking to increase their breast milk supply. It’s not meant to be the holy grail of answers. I’m not a doctor. I’m just a Mom who was so anxious about her supply that she did everything to increase and keep it up, to the point that I ended up with an oversupply…. but that is a whole different story.
So, let’s get down to why you’re here.
Lindsay’s Tips, Tricks, & Advice for Increasing your Milk Supply
Also known as: things Lindsay has done that worked, things Lindsay has read online, or things that Lindsay has heard from other Moms, and is now pretending is her own sound advice. Here are my personal tried and true methods:
- Increase the frequency in which you offer your breast – Frequency and removal are key to establishing supply. Which takes us to the 2nd recommendation….
- Pump after you nurse – Babies are really shitty about eating a lot in the beginning because they just want to sleep. It’s important for your supply and their health that they eat. If your baby takes a few sucks and falls asleep that won’t help your supply and demand. I always made it a point to pump afterward and empty my breasts. Especially since my daughter would drink from one and fall asleep, pumping really helped keep my breasts even.
- Drink a ton of water. Like an ungodly (but safe) amount. You’re already dehydrated from producing breast milk. Don’t overdo it, though. You can become sick or even die from water intoxication. Health authorities commonly recommend eight 8 ounce glasses of water so use that as a guideline. I typically drink about a gallon a day over the course of 8-10 hours. (Again, I am NOT a doctor. Do not overdo it with the water).
- Don’t try to diet and cut calories to lose the baby weight, you need calories to make milk. I found a steady diet of Cheese Pizza and Twix bars really helped me, but also I gained about 10 lbs during my maternity leave. Use this information as you will. (I currently can’t eat Twix bars anymore. I really overdid it.)
Galactogogues (well, that sounds terrifying)
If you’re on the internet you’ll see the word galactogogues thrown out a lot when in reference to increasing breast milk supply. That’s just a big fancy word for a substance used to increase milk supply. Here are a few galactogogues that myself and other Moms have used. Comment below on other items that you’ve tried or that have worked for you!
- Fenugreek – I’ve seen it recommended on a lot of my nursing groups, though I have never tried it. Apparently, it makes you smell like maple syrup, which can’t be a bad thing. Especially when you’re a new mom who hasn’t showered in a week.
- Brewer’s Yeast – Tastes disgusting, but I used it. I would sprinkle some in my Greek yogurt but it’s also an ingredient in the lactation balls I used to make. Purchased at GNC or online via Amazon.
- Oatmeal – I would eat oatmeal for breakfast when my supply would start to dip during the week before my period. Purchased at your local supermarket.
- Mother’s Milk Tea – Tastes like black licorice. Gross. But I drank it. Given to me by a friend, but you can purchase it online.
- Flax Seed – I used to put it in my smoothies, salads, and Greek yogurt. Purchased at your local supermarket.
Additional Suggestions that Seem Pretty Random
Some people swear by Blue Gatorade. Not the pink Gatorade, not the yellow Gatorade. They all say the blue Gatorade is where it’s at. I just like Gatorade so I was down to drink it, but I like the purple one. Not sure if it helps or not, but it’s delicious and it’s got electrolytes, so there’s that.
Additionally, you’ll hear “dark beers can help milk production” – This typically has to do with the yeast in the beer. But, I took this as an option to enjoy a lot of delicious dark beers from Total Wine. I had a lot of Stouts and Porters …. milk stouts, oatmeal stouts…. (Find me on Untappd to see what I’ve been drinking. Spoiler: a lot.)
Now, The Fun & Delicious Options: Lactation Balls & Lactation Cookies!
My favorite go to when I wanted to increase my breast milk supply was that I used to make no bake lactation balls with chunky peanut butter, steel oats, flax seed, brewer’s yeast, vanilla, and honey. I would sometimes add chocolate chips or craisins (So good!) and then roll them in coconut flakes. You can do it however you please if the oats, flax seed, and brewer’s yeast are in there. Those are the main components that help with production.
The Baker Mama is a fantastic website that I got my lactation cookies and lactation ball recipes from.
Go check them out:
So, In Conclusion……
If you’re reading this, you’re either my friend on Facebook and are reading it because I posted that I wrote another blog article (thank you!) …. Or you’re a new mom who is hoping to increase your breast milk supply (thank you!) …. Or both?
Go ahead and give the above a shot and if it’s not working don’t fret. Fed is best. It doesn’t matter if your baby is getting breastmilk or formula. Repeat after me. IT DOES NOT MATTER. FED IS BEST. Don’t feel shame in what you’re doing. We’re all doing our best out here and no matter what you’re a bad ass Mom who loves her children and you’ve got my support for how you’re feeding and raising them. Keep on being a rock star mama, you’re doing great.
Featured Image |Used by the author with her permission
In Post Images | Used by the author with her permission