5 Ways To Encourage & Boost Your Milk Supply
Fuel Your Body Right
There’s a reason that so many mothers feel like a bottomless pit (where hunger never has a full stop) and/or lose a significant amount of weight while breastfeeding. It takes up a lot of energy, robs you of many nutrients if you aren’t replenishing them, and can leave you feeling depleted! While breastfeeding, you’re literally your baby’s life source. Your body needs ample of the right nutrients and a sustainable amount of food, rich in fats and proteins in particular, to keep the milk coming and ensure that it’s enriched with all the nutrients your bub needs.
For the most part, getting the nutrients you and your baby need can be surprisingly intuitive. However, aim to eat a varied diet of healthy whole foods, prioritising foods rich in amino acids such as good quality animal protein. Women often do not consume enough protein, and a general rule (especially whilst breastfeeding) is to ensure protein is with every single meal, and if you’re still hungry, it’s your queue to eat more protein! Don’t forget that breastmilk is also exceptionally rich in fat, so ensure you are consuming dietary fats including animal fats, omega fatty acids from fatty fish, activated nuts, seeds, and pure cold pressed oils. Galactagogues such as oats (preferably soured/fermented/cultured as tradition has taught us), dark leafy greens, fennel, flaxseeds, and more are also known to encourage a healthy supply of milk. A herbalist, naturopath or renowned companies have beautiful blends of galactagogue herbs that you can make the most of if you are in need of additional support beyond your diet.
To cover all of your nutritional bases, such as iodine and iron that is often depleted in breastfeeding mumma’s, The Mothers Blend is a supplement containing a blend of real and fermented foods rich in probiotics made with pregnant and breastfeeding women in mind. It contains some of the worlds most nutrient-dense foods that will nourish you and your baby while breastfeeding.
Learn As Much As You Can About Breastfeeding
Before feeling like you need to be increasing your milk supply, you need to know how much milk is normal at each stage of the breastfeeding journey. The best thing you can do to ensure everything is going smoothly is to be informed about breastfeeding in general.
Many mums aren’t told by their health professionals that it can take up to four days for any milk to come in. It’s perfectly normal and nourishing for your baby to only have colostrum during those initial days. Unrealistic or misinformed expectations can oftentimes be the biggest factor stopping mums from continuing to breastfeed.
There is no doubt that breastfeeding can be challenging. What makes it even harder is not knowing what is normal and putting too much pressure on yourself to produce a bountiful flow of milk from day one.
Feed, feed, feed your baby, regularly & fully
To produce more milk, your body needs a signal. Something that indicates more milk is required. The best way to send this signal is to feed often and drain the breast as much as possible with each feed.
The easiest way to do this is to simply react to your baby’s needs rather than keeping a tight feeding schedule. Give them milk on demand and don’t panic if they want to feed more often than you expected. Newborns have tiny tummies that don’t hold much milk but can digest what they do consume quickly. Frequent feeding allows them to consume a higher volume of milk throughout the day, telling your body to boost breast milk production.
It’s also a good idea to encourage each feed to last as long as possible. Constantly draining the breast signals that more milk is needed, often resulting in a healthy supply. If your baby likes to suckle after they have finished drinking, let them. This also lets the body know that more milk is needed.
Master The Latch
If your baby is feeding regularly but your milk supply isn’t increasing, it could be a poor latch issue. If your baby is struggling to latch on or latch effectively, it likely means that they aren’t getting as much milk as they could be and as a result aren’t draining the breast.
The best way to address this issue is to get help from a lactation consultant. If you can, do this from the very start of your breastfeeding journey. This will ensure that you pick up on any issues early and can address them before they turn into habits that are difficult to reverse.
Be Kind To Yourself
Stress can be a major inhibitor when it comes to breast milk supply. Any new mum will, of course, experience new levels of stress while caring for a newborn. The key is to learn to manage, reduce external stressors (such as learning to say no, or asking for help!) as much as possible and prioritise caring for yourself. Through personal and client experience, whilst feeding, a slow, big and deep breaths in your belly, a long exhale, and then repeat can in itself can help bring on a successful let down. So in amongst stress or chaos, try this, and it can help calm you down and nourish your baby.
Practice self-care and be kind to yourself. The breastfeeding journey isn’t something that can ever be perfect or seamless because it is a reactive process between you and your baby that changes constantly. Know that these changes are normal and take any excess pressure off your shoulders.
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