If you are a nursing mother, you may be looking for ways to increase your milk supply. This can be a challenge, but it is not impossible. There are many natural methods that you can try to boost your milk production.
If you have low milk supply if can be very frustrating for both you and your baby. However, you can produce enough breast milk with a little help from these tips. It’s hard to tell exactly how many ounces you might produce in each baby feed, unless you are exclusively pumping. But if your baby is growing and has plenty of wet diapers then despite what you think, you might be producing enough.
Natural Ways to Establish a Healthy Milk Supply
The first step in increasing your milk supply is to relax, take an audit of your diet and lifestyle and see what could be causing the issues. Perhaps its as simple as drinking more will help more breast milk be produced. When I speak to moms who think they don’t have enough milk, they often jump to supplementing with formula, which is the worst thing you can do.
Your body responds to how much baby feeds and will produce breast milk accordingly. SO to increase breast milk supply naturally the first thing to do is to keep on feeding and letting baby nurse whenever they want. This is all part of the breastfeeding journey, and working out exactly how much milk your baby needs is done by nature, if you help it.
Once you have ensured baby nurses frequently, then we can look at how to boost milk supply by other means such as diet, extra pumping sessions and you sleeping when baby sleeps.
This can be done by ensuring that you are eating a nutritious diet, getting plenty of rest, and staying hydrated. These three things are essential for any nursing mother, but they are especially important if you are trying to increase your milk production.
In addition to these basic needs, there are a few other things that you can do to establish a healthy milk supply. One of these is to avoid stress. This can be difficult, but it is important to remember that stress can have a negative impact on your milk production. If you are feeling stressed, try to find ways to relax, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time with friends and family.
Finally, it is important to remember that establishing a healthy milk supply takes time. It is not something that will happen overnight. Be patient and trust the process. You will eventually see an increase in your milk production if you stick with it.
Make healthy lifestyle changes
Making healthy lifestyle changes is one of the most effective ways to increase milk supply. These changes can include eating a nutritious diet, getting plenty of rest, and staying hydrated.
As we discussed earlier, these three things are essential for any nursing mother. But they are especially important if you are trying to boost your milk production.
In addition to these basic lifestyle changes, there are a few other things that you can do to increase your milk supply. One of these is to take lactation supplements. These supplements can help to increase milk production and can be found at most health food stores.
It is also important to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight can have a negative impact on milk production. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor. They can offer guidance and support.
Ensuring that you maintain a healthy diet, full of healthy snacks and dinners is essential when nursing. If you want to boost supply then ensure your go to snacks are ones which will help increase your breast milk. There are many natural remedies and foods which are essentially for you to take when you exclusively breastfeed your little one.
Get a Breast Pump
Another way to increase milk supply is to pump regularly. This will not only help to boost milk production, but it will also help to increase the amount of milk that you are able to store. Breast pumps can be rented or purchased from most baby stores.
In one feeding session its vital to feed from both breasts. Do the first breast then swap over to the other breast to ensure you are making milk in both. If you have a sleepy baby then tickle them to keep them awake whilst feeding. Many moms find this really helps to get their supply established in the first few weeks.
Talk to a Lactation Consultant
If you are having trouble increasing your milk supply, it may be helpful to talk to a lactation consultant asap. These professionals can offer guidance and support. They can also provide you with information about how to increase milk production.
If you don’t want to speak to a consultant then join a breastfeeding support group and talk to other breastfeeding women. Most nursing moms are happy to sit and talk and help get your breast feeding established.
Drink plenty of fluids
It is important to stay hydrated when you are trying to increase milk supply. This means that you should drink plenty of fluids, such as water, milk, and herbal teas. You should also avoid caffeine, as it can dehydrate your body and lead to decreased milk production. Lactation teas are also great to keep in your water bottle and drink during the nursing session.
Eat the right foods
Eating a nutritious diet is one of the most important things that you can do to increase milk supply. There are a few foods that are especially beneficial for nursing mothers. These include oatmeal, dark leafy greens, brewer’s yeast, brown rice and fenugreek. Eating oatmeal is great and you will find this as an ingredient in most lactation cookie recipes.
Remember you may lose weight naturally but now is not the time to cut your calorie intake. Whilst losing weight might be a good thing if you are over weight, maintaining enough calories in your diet is vital to ensure that you produce enough liquid gold.
Rest when you can
Getting plenty of rest is essential for any nursing mother. But it is especially important if you are trying to increase milk supply. When you are well-rested, your body is able to produce more milk. So make sure to get plenty of rest when you can.
Stimulate your breasts
One way to increase milk production is to stimulate your breasts.
This can be done by massaging your breasts or using a breast pump. Stimulating your breasts or doing breast compression will signal your body to produce more milk.
As we discussed earlier, stress can have a negative impact on milk production. So it is important to find ways to relax and de-stress. This can include yoga, meditation, or spending time with friends and family.
Make Lactation Cookies
Lactation cookies are a great way to increase milk supply. These cookies are made with ingredients that help to boost milk production. They can be found at most health food stores or you can easily make your own. Our favorite lactaction cookies recipes are:
- · ½ cup butter, softened
- · ¾ cup brown sugar
- · ¼ cup white sugar
- · ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- · ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- · ½ teaspoon baking powder baking soda will also work in a pinch! Just add an extra ¼ teaspoon
- · ½ teaspoon salt
- · ¾ cup rolled oats
- · ⅓ cup flaxseed meal
- · ⅔ cup chocolate chips, we like mini chips for this recipe
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add this to the wet ingredients until well blended.
Stir in the oats, flaxseed meal, and chocolate chips.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned.
Drink Mother’s Milk Tea
Mother’s milk tea is a great way to increase milk supply. This tea is made with ingredients that help to boost milk production. It can be found at most health food stores or you can easily make your own. Our favorite recipe for mother’s milk tea is:
· ¼ cup organic dried nettles
· ¼ cup organic red raspberry leaf
· ¼ cup organic fennel seeds
· ¼ cup organic blessed thistle
Add all ingredients to a large pot or teapot.
Pour boiling water over herbs, cover and steep for 20-30 minutes.
Strain and drink.
You can drink up to three cups of tea per day.
Galactagogues are foods that help to increase milk supply. These foods are often high in protein and nutrients. Some examples of galactagogues include: oatmeal, dark leafy greens, fenugreek, and flaxseed. You can find these foods at most health food stores. These will help you increase milk supply naturally, and most the time you can just add these into your regular meals and not notice any difference.
Evaluate your Your Baby’s Latch
Making sure your baby has a good latch is important for both you and your baby. A good latch will help to increase milk supply and will also prevent pain while nursing. If you are having trouble with latch, talk to a lactation consultant. They can offer guidance and support.
Whilst bottle feeding might seem like an easy answer, a few simple changes can make the world of difference to a low milk supply.
Pump or Hand Express Milk
Pumping or hand expressing milk is a great way to increase milk supply. This can be done in addition to nursing or if you are unable to nurse. Pumping or hand expressing milk will signal your body to produce more milk.
Hold off on the Pacifier
Pacifiers can interfere with milk production. If you are able to, try to hold off on giving your baby a pacifier. This will help to increase milk supply.
Another important factor in establishing a healthy milk supply is to avoid using artificial nipples. This includes pacifiers and bottles.
Artificial nipples can cause nipple confusion, which can lead to decreased milk production. If you must use artificial nipples, try to only use them when absolutely necessary.
Nurse More Often
Nursing more often is a great way to increase milk supply. This signals your body to produce more milk. If you are able to, try to nurse every two to three hours. The more you nurse the more you will produce milk. Increasing milk supply often just starts with this basic task!
Boost Skin-to-Skin Contact
Skin-to-skin contact is important for both you and your baby. This type of contact can help to increase milk supply. It also helps to bond with your baby and can provide comfort.
Use Power Pumping To Stimulate Breast Milk Production
Power pumping is a great way to increase breast milk supply. This involves pumping for short periods of time throughout the day. Power pumping can be done in addition to nursing or if you are unable to nurse. Read our full guide to how a power pump to boost your milk supply here
Take Away on Increasing your Breast Milk Supply
In this article, you learned about the natural ways to increase milk supply for nursing mothers. Whether it’s boosting your breast milk production through power pumping or increasing intake of galactagogues, there are a number of options that may work depending on each individual’s situation. Talk to your lactation consultant about what might work best for you. If you found this article helpful, please share it with other nursing mothers!
If you are struggling with a low milk supply, know that you are not alone. Many women face this issue. There are a number of things that you can do to increase your milk supply. Try some of the tips above and see what works best for you. With a little persistence, you will be able to increase your milk supply and provide your baby with the nourishment they need.
This article was written by Sandra Baker – full time writer and the mother of four amazing kids (including twins!)
She’s also a breastfeeding counselor and has spent years helping new parents learn how to care for their children. When she’s not writing or caring for her children, Sandra likes to spend time reading and taking walks with her husband.