Many women struggle with their supply especially when returning to work an not able to nurse their baby. Low supply does not mean you are a failure, there are actually many things in your everyday life that can affect your supply. Exercise, hydration, diet, stress, and sleep all will directly effect how much milk you body is making so with a few tips and tricks you should be able to boost it back up.
If you have any concerns regarding low supply please, please, please contact a location expert- you can find one here.
When my milk first came in I had an abundance, but one day I woke up to find that my milk had drastically decreased. Alarmed I got online and started reading every blog I could, then I finally broke down and went to the midwife to have a consult. Due to my little ones early breastfeeding troubles, a postpartum D and C, and a dip in my calorie intake my milk supply had tanked. When I returned to work I was struggling to pump what my baby needed, getting about only half of what he was eating, and the frozen supply I had was dwindling.
I was looking for a quick fix, but what I found is that to increase and maintain my supply I had to do a combination of things consistently. Here’s what I did:
Here are the supplements I currently take along with my prenatal.
Mother’s Milk Tea
While I don’t think this a huge milk booster, it definitely helps. I can tell a difference in my supple after a few days of not drinking this tea. I drink one cup in the morning and one cup at night, not only do the herbs in the tea help with a healthy supply but it keeps you hydrated as well. I put a little cream in mine to help with the flavor- I actually have grown to enjoy it.
Honest Company Postnatal Lactation Plus
I took two of these a day and after about a week I saw that my supply had almost doubled. I found these to work better then just the plain fenugreek capsules. These vitamins contains fenugreek plus milk thistle, marshmallow, fennel, and shatavari- a bonus is that it’s all organic!
Motherlove Goat’s Rue
This stuff is amazing and played a huge role in boosting my supply. I take 100ml four times a day and noticed a difference after about three days. It has a very bitter taste so I mix it with my coffee and tea- I can’t even tell it’s in there!
I try to incorporate these foods along with eating a high protein and healthy fat filled diet. Your calorie intake is very important! I tried cutting calories to help loose the baby weight and ended up almost loosing my milk. Your body burns calories when you breastfeed so instead of focusing on how many calories your eating, just try to eat less processed foods and more whole fruits, veggies, and lean meats.
Oatmeal has been shown to support milk supply. I eat oatmeal with flax every morning and also incorporate it into my snacks through lactation cookies.
As I said I put flax in my oatmeal, but I also add flax meal to yogurt and smoothies. I have found some great cookie and protein bite recipes that also help me get flax into my diet.
Carrots and Hummus
When I first read about this I thought it was a wives tale, but to my surprise I actually saw an increase when I started eating this as a daily snack.
Whenever possible I use brewers yeast in recipes as it is famous for boosting milk supply. You can also take it in capsules.
Another weird but true one- drinking 20oz of Gatorade helps keeps me hydrated and the electrolytes help keep my milk flowing.
Stress and Sleep
I also found that maintain my stress and getting enough sleep was vital to my supply. When I am stressed I literally can’t pump anything. The same goes for when I am tired- if I start to get run down I notice a dip in my supply so I try to stay well rested (at least as much as any new momma can!)
I found that pumping at consistent times throughout my work day helps to keep my supply consistent. I try to nurse my baby as frequently as I can, but when I have to pump I follow the same schedule he would be eating on. I also have heard that power pumping helps, but I have never been able to make it work with my schedule.
When I first returned to work I was having to pump for sides for 20min after each nursing session to have enough to keep up with what he was eating each day. One day I decided to only pump one side while he nursed on the other and I got double what I would normally get from pumping both sides. Now every night time feeding I nurse and pump at the same time, once he is down eating I pump the extra off the other side. Not only do I get more milk, but this also takes less time letting me get more sleep! Yay!
Like I said, it wasn’t a 24hr fix, but after a week I saw some gains and after two weeks I had gone from pumping 6oz during a work day and 4oz at night to pumping 10oz during my workday and 12oz at night. I also pump on weekends when I can to help add a little extra to my stash. I now have a 168oz freezer stash.
When I am off this summer I hope to try power-pumping and see how it increases my supply!