I had great difficulty in breastfeeding my first child, Jasper, and eventually I ended up bottle feeding him formula. If you want to know more about my experience, you can do so here. So, now that I am a few weeks away from giving birth to our second child I’ve been researching ways to boost my milk production and supply. Before I go on I would just like to say that I’m not a medical professional, and before you try anything that may impact you or your baby you should always consult your healthcare professional. I have consulted the NHS website, La Leche League, etc. I will also be speaking to my midwife about this at my next appointment.
If you’re worried about your milk supply it’s important that you consult your midwife for advice, however it’s important that you know that the more your baby nurses, the more milk your body produces. Think of it as supply and demand. Also, you should keep in mind that many mums think they have a low milk supply when in fact it’s absolutely fine. Just remember that as long as your baby is alert, active, and regularly soiling and wetting nappies – they are getting exactly what they need from you. If your milk still hasn’t come in, fear not, it can sometimes take a few days for it to do so – in the meantime your baby will be getting Colostrum. This is the first stage of breast milk, it’s thick and very rich in nutrients.
There are three really vital aspects that can have an affect on your milk production and supply and also on the feed itself.
- Sleep: Or lack thereof, can really impact your supply and production. So what better excuse to sit back, relax, rest, eat and nurse your baby? Obviously, this is going to be a lot easier with your first baby, when you don’t have an older child that is also in need of your attention and care.
- Stress: This doesn’t have a direct effect on your milk production and supply, however it can mess with your let-down reflex (the release of milk into your milk ducts) and can make it harder for your baby to get what they need. You also should keep in mind that your baby will absorb some of your stress – a stressed out baby will be less likely to take to the breast. Try to relax, take good care of yourself and ask your partner, family, or friends to give you a hand with other things. As for overnight guests – ask them to wait a few weeks whilst the family settles. A baby is a big change, especially if you have an older child. This can be a really unsettling and confusing experience, so there needs to be some real family bonding time. Of course, if you have an overnight helper don’t turn them away if you are comfortable and at ease with them around. Grandmothers, especially, can be of great assistance when it comes to older siblings and keeping the housework under control.
- Support: If you have other mummy friends who are also breastfeeding you can lean on each other for support. There are breastfeeding clubs you can join, or, you can ask your own mother, grandmother or any siblings who have breastfed for tips and advice. You should however, avoid over critical people, people that don’t support you breastfeeding or simply make it harder for you to do so around them.
There are also some dietary ways of boosting your milk supply, as long as they are part of a healthy balanced diet they could really give you that helping hand you’re after. A diet rich in fruit, veg and wholegrain will really give you a great starting platform, you should also be mindful that whilst you’re breastfeeding you should up your daily calorie intake by 300-500 calories. A big no no is alcohol, some people believe the old wives tale that beer can increase your milk supply. It’s not the beer itself that does that, as studies have shown that alcohol actually lowers your milk production.
So, hear are a some dietary additions that could help you out:
- Water: Dehydration can actually mean that your body makes less milk. So keep your fluids up as much as you can. Some people swear by keeping a bottle handy whilst their baby id feeding as their thirst is increased.
- Fenugreek: Recommended by midwives. It is often used in cooking in seed form, however you can also use the capsules. You can buy them online
and in most health food stores. Fenugreek should really avoided during pregnancy as it can cause uterine contractions.
- Oats and Porridge
- Fennel Seeds: They are said to not only increase milk supply, but they also prevent gas and colic in babies.
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
- Cumin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Dill seeds
- Pulses and lentils
- Nuts and dried fruit
- Chickpeas or hummus
- Brown rice
- Sweet potato
- Brewer’s Yeast: You can purchase this online and in health food stores. I’m not sure whether or not the supplement form will work, but amazon sell the actual powdered yeast. You can find it here.
Belly Belly have a great lactation cookie recipe that many mums have sworn by. You can find the recipe here. I will be baking these and doing a post on them – once Phoebe is born!
*Featured image courtesy of www.modvive.com