10 Natural Ways to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply
For a breastfeeding mom, there's nothing quite as frustrating as feeling like you're not producing enough milk. You've got a hungry baby here, what the heck do you do!? Give up?
No way! Increasing your milk production is possible, and you don't have to use some quasi-safe pills to do it. Here's a start on some safe, natural ways to boost your milk supply.
1. Pump. The experts suggest adding a few pumping sessions in between feedings, keeping the pump running for as much as 5 minutes after the last drop of milk is expressed. Putting more demand on your breasts tells the body to make more milk.
2. Switch Breasts While Nursing. Frequent switches will not only put more demand on the breast so the body knows to make more milk, but it will keep your baby from settling into comfort sucking. More active eating ensures that the breasts are actually being drained, which will allow for more milk to be produced. Switch at least two to three times during one nursing.
3. Practice Breast Compression While Nursing. Compressing the breast while baby is sucking will help stimulate the milk letdown, ensuring the breasts truly empty during a feeding.
4. Fenugreek Seeds. Ingesting the seeds of the plant used back in the day for inducing childbirth can help boost milk production. It is known to cause gas and bloating, so beware!
5. Mother's Milk Tea. Another way to get some fenugreek in your system, this tea is a hit with many moms. A few things to be aware of: some mothers report upset stomach from the tea, and it can make you smell a bit like maple syrup.
6. Lactation Cookies. There are various brands you can purchase pre-made or you can make your own. Most feature oats which -- on their own -- are touted for helping moms bump up their production.
7. Eat Healthy Foods. No magic recipes here, but many a new mom has been known to set aside her own needs because she's so focused on the baby. This is counterproductive! The body needs fuel in order to produce milk.
8. Drink a Beer. You'll want to clear this one with your doctor before trying it, but beer is considered by many to be part of a "lactogenic" diet or one that is good for lactating.
9. Reduce Stress. Easier said than done, especially when you're having trouble with breastfeeding, I know, but the stress inhibits the production of oxytocin. That's the hormone that stimulates the milk letdown.
10. Take Baby to Bed. Co-sleeping encourages nursing on demand, and the more you nurse, the more your body will make.
Have you struggled with milk production? What are you safe, natural tips for increasing your supply?
Images via Raphael Goetter/Flickr; © iStock.com/maybefalse