There comes a point in most nursing mothers’ lives that we wonder if our baby is getting enough. It is scary not knowing, wondering, and worrying if your supply will go up.
Other times a mother may wish to boost her supply is during growth spurts or for pumping when returning to work. The good news is there is many things you can do to help boost your milk supply.
Common reasons for low milk supply
There are several reasons why a breastfeeding mother may experience a low supply of breast milk. Some of the most common reasons include:
Inadequate nursing: If a baby is not nursing frequently enough or not nursing effectively, it can lead to a decrease in milk production.
Stress: High levels of stress can interfere with milk production by disrupting the hormonal balance needed for lactation. Look for simple ways to reduce stress every day.
Poor nutrition: A lack of calories, fluids, and certain nutrients can impact milk supply. Try meal prepping to make it easier to meet your nutrient needs.
Medications: Certain medications, including some allergy and decongestant medications, can decrease milk production.
Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal imbalances caused by issues such as thyroid disorders or polycystic ovary syndrome can interfere with milk production.
Illness: Illness, such as a cold or flu, can cause a temporary decrease in milk supply.
Scheduling and routines: Inconsistent feeding schedules, early introduction of solid foods or bottles, or long periods between feedings can all impact milk supply.
Breast surgery or injury: Breast surgery, including breast reduction or augmentation, can impact milk supply. With my last baby, one side produced only a small amount of milk due to scar tissue form the accident. I nursed on the other side more to boost my supply on that side and we had no issues.
Fatigue: Chronic sleep deprivation and exhaustion can interfere with milk production.
It’s important to note that many of these issues are reversible with the proper interventions, such as improving nutrition, increasing nursing frequency, or reducing stress levels. A lactation consultant or healthcare provider can provide additional support and guidance for improving milk supply.
How to boost your milk supply with simple changes.
It can seem crazy the amount of water you willingly chug while nursing. The thirst can sometimes be overwhelming. Cleaning 8 t0 10 glasses a day is easy. But, when you are trying to boost your milk supply you want to be sure you are taking in plenty of water. A random drop in milk supply can often be from drinking less water than normal.
Check your diet if you are having milk supply issues.
A well-balanced diet is key to a strong healthy milk supply. Nursing is not the time to shy away from healthy fats and carbs. Diet additions like coconut oil and oatmeal are great for boosting your milk supply and eliminating things like caffeine and high amounts of sugar can dehydrate and make your supply tank.
Continue to take your prenatal vitamins.
A strong healthy body with plenty of nutrition makes for better milk and a stronger milk supply. After baby is born keep taking your vitamins to make up for deficiencies in your diet. Even the best diet has less of the vitamins and minerals we need because of soil depletion.
Sleep can help increase your milk supply.
I hate to say it. We are all busy and in today’s society, busy is well the way you are expected to be. Sadly without enough rest, you are looking at issues with your milk supply. Your body needs time to rest and heal so sometimes milk supply can dip after a long stressful day but a glass of water and a nap can often boost things a bit
How to increase milk supply by pumping.
One way to boost your supply even if you do not need to store breastmilk is to pump on top of feedings. Pump on one side while baby eats on the other for less time-consuming pumping or you can pump after feedings to trigger your body to make more milk for the next feeding. You can even get a hands-free breast pump to allow you to pump while doing other things.
When routine changes are not enough
Natural supplements are a great option if none of the above is doing the trick for you. Even if you do not feel you have a supply issue and you just want to give your supply a little boost you may find something like Mother’s Milk Tea is the perfect way to relax and give your body a bit of a boost.
If you are not the tea type many mothers have had amazing luck with Fenugreek pills from the local health food store. These also boost your metabolism and give you a small energy boost.
Great supplement options for breastmilk supply
Fenugreek: Fenugreek is an herb that has long been used to increase milk production. It is believed to work by stimulating the milk ducts and increasing prolactin levels. It is often taken in capsule form.
Blessed thistle: Blessed thistle is another herb that is believed to increase milk production. It is often taken in combination with fenugreek.
Fennel: Fennel is an herb that has a mild estrogenic effect and is believed to increase milk production.
Brewer’s yeast: Brewer’s yeast is a type of yeast that is used to ferment beer. It is high in B vitamins and is believed to help increase milk supply.
Alfalfa: Alfalfa is a nutrient-rich herb that is believed to help increase milk supply.
Shatavari: Shatavari is an Ayurvedic herb that is believed to help increase milk production. It is often taken in capsule form.
Remember that it may take time for your supply to go up so you can breastfeed with confidence.