CoryLynn is a crunchy mama of four beautiful tiny humans who is passionate about all things love, mothering, nursing, and life.
As a breastfeeding mother, one of the most stressful things that you're probably going through right now is worrying about whether or not you're producing enough to feed your babe. I wish this was an article about how that worry is irrational and that 'low milk supply' was just a myth. In reality, insufficient milk supply is one of the most common reasons mothers stop breastfeeding earlier than planned. Below are seven tips that I personally found helpful for boosting your supply.
1. Pump After Nursing
My go-to way of boosting milk production is to pump after each nursing session. Once baby is finished feeding, simply pump for 10-20 minutes. Doing this will fully empty your breasts of milk and that will, in turn, signal your body that it needs to produce more. If you are pumping exclusively, you can still achieve this by pumping more often.
2. Get More Sleep
Though this may sound impossible to a mother of a nursing infant, it is a helpful solution to the problem we are facing. A good night's sleep or even a long nap can do wonders in terms of supply. When you spend every waking moment, and every moment awake, caring for your child it takes a very obvious toll on our bodies. The signs of not getting enough sleep are often written all over us- undereye bags, fatigue, yawning, and yes- low milk supply. Making sure that you are as well-rested as possible helps your body to operate at it's very best and therefore produce the best milk supply.
3. Drink More Water
When you are breastfeeding, you are hydrating both you and your baby. Breast milk is made up of about 90% water after all. So it only makes sense that dehydration can cause a severe lag in milk production. While current research shows that breastfeeding mothers do not need to consume more water than what is recommended for non-breastfeeding mothers, you should still be consuming around 128 ounces per day.
4. Remember To Eat
Just like when you were pregnant, it is important to eat well and often while breastfeeding. When you are overwhelmed by carrying out all of the tasks that come hand in hand with your new tiny human it is easy to grab whatever is convenient or even forget to eat at all. Eating a combination of wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plenty of proteins. While you don't have to maintain a perfect diet to be successful at nursing, you do need to consume an extra 300-500 calories while breastfeeding in order to maintain an adequate supply.
5. Continue Taking Your Prenatal
Many doctors recommend breastfeeding mothers to continue taking their prenatal vitamins. To prevent problems associated with iodine deficiency, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all lactating women take a supplement containing at least 150 micrograms of iodine per day, use iodized salt, and consume food rich in iodine such as seafood or dairy products.
6. Try A Galactogogue Supplement
Galactagogue is a Greek word for something that you ingest that is believed to promote or increase milk supply. It is 2019, so you best believe you can find them in a convenient pill form. Herbs like fenugreek, blessed thistle, and brewer's yeast are supplements that can help to increase your milk supply. They can be taken separately or all at once. Though fenugreek was a miracle worker for me personally, others have had mixed results when it is taken by itself. For some women, myself included, it really helped, but others have reported noticing no difference at all or even a decrease in supply for some.
7. Try Eating Galactagogue Foods
We already covered taking galactagogue supplements and also the importance of eating in general, so now it is time to discuss galactagogue foods. While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence (aka personal accounts) of certain foods increasing milk supply and production, many believe that the reported benefits from these foods are due to our brain subconsciously tricking itself into thinking they work and so they do. Placebo effect or not, many women have had success in increasing their milk supply by eating foods such as oats, garlic, barley, flaxseed, pumpkin, avocado, or certain beverages like coconut water and blue Gatorade.
I hope these seven tips are as helpful to you as they were to me when I began my breastfeeding journey with my own babes. Good luck, you got this mama!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.