Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful things, but it can also be exhausting and overwhelming. This can especially be true if you are struggling with your milk supply. Since stress has a huge impact on overall milk supply, stressing about it can actually make it worse! It’s a double-edged sword.
Although Bessie’s treats are a nutritious option full of galactagogues – or, milk-boosting ingredients – to snack on, this is just one option to help you boost your milk supply. Our Certified Lactation Counselor and Customer Care Coordinator, Lyn Statler, has provided you with five helpful tips to help you increase your milk supply while breastfeeding.
1. Nurse baby as frequently as possible. Non-nutritive sucking is important! Don’t be fooled when you hear, ‘They’re just using you as a pacifier.’ That isn’t the case. Not only is baby ‘ordering’ ahead for their next meal, you are exchanging meaningful quality time together. Offer both breasts every time and encourage baby to nurse a total of 15 minutes on each breast. (This may look like 5 minutes on left, 5 minutes on right, 5 minutes on left, 5 minutes on right, leading down to those last 10 minutes to be non-nutritive or even sleepy baby dream nursing)
2. Pumping. It’s all hands on deck when pumping to achieve maximum output, so try to go hands-free! While the pump is getting down to work, there is a lot you can do also. Use your hands to massage your breasts. Remember we have milk ducts the whole way up into our armpits! Start there and massage towards the nipple. Continue this pattern all around the breast, always towards the nipple. Other things to consider: that pump will never be as adorable as your baby and the places you’ll need to pump may not be as comfortable as home. Looking at photos or videos can help the brain release signals of the milk making hormones prolactin and oxytocin. Diverting your attention away from watching the output while pumping can also help. Not finding time to read? Now’s the time! Bonus CLC tip: That bra you hate? Cut holes in it and convert it into a pumping bra or try some of the beautiful and functional bras from Davin & Adley.
3. Skin to skin. Baby spent all those months on the inside, safe and comfortable with you. The outside is scary and unknown! You and your baby are uniquely connected, the more time spent sends those milk-making signals to your body. Studies have shown that as little as 20 minutes of skin-to-skin a day can cause a positive increase in milk supply.
4. Hydration! You can’t pour from an empty cup! Always have a bottle of water handy while nursing. The more hydrated you are, the easier it is for your body to make milk.
5. Galactagogues. Our bodies make milk catered specifically to our baby’s needs. While our health doesn’t necessarily need to be at the highest peak to successfully nurse, we still need to remember our importance. This is where galactagogues come in. Galactagogues are foods such as whole grains (especially oatmeal), dark, leafy greens (such as alfalfa, kale, spinach, and broccoli), fennel, garlic, chickpeas, nuts, and seeds (especially almonds), ginger, papaya, and spices like cumin seeds, anise seeds, fennel seeds, turmeric to just name few. Reading these foods one other thing stands out: Nutrition! All of these are also highly nutritious fuel for our bodies AND have a bonus because they can help increase your breast milk supply. Surely a win-win for both parent and baby.
We truly understand the frustrations, extra sleepless nights, and stress that comes with milk supply concerns. Want to ask our CLC a question? Email Lyn at email@example.com.