6 Secrets Boosting Milk Supply
Hi Friends! When I was pregnant, one thing (among many) I was so excited about was breastfeeding. I couldn’t wait to have that bond with my baby and it was so fascinating to me that my body could sustain my baby even outside of the womb! I heard that some people have trouble breastfeeding altogether, but when Layla came, she latched right away and I thought we were golden. I quickly realized it wasn’t as simple as that… Along with the pain, cracking nipples, and constant feedings, on Layla’s follow up, we discovered she wasn’t getting enough to eat. How could she not be getting enough?! She was always eating!! Well, I guess she was always eating because she was never satisfied. She lost too much weight (not all weight loss is too much btw, check with your doctor if you have questions). This news crushed me. I felt like I was working so hard at breastfeeding and there was nothing I could do better. Its so discouraging when you lose the ability or opportunity to provide for your baby in that way. Our doctor gave us a “24-hour plan” to supplement with formula while waiting for my supply to come in. Well that 24 hours turned into 3 months and my supply still didn’t catch up with my sweet little ones demands. She was having full formula feedings instead of supplementing each feeding with formula. I felt like I was falling further and further behind because she was bottle feeding so much and my body didn’t get a chance to even learn what she would need. I prayed, I pumped and prayed and pumped some more!
Well guess what?? Now our little lovey is 7 months old and she is exclusively breast feeding. I am working full time and she’s been off formula totally since 3 months old!
Here is what has helped me on my breastfeeding journey:
1. Eat More!
500 more calories than when you were pregnant. Not that I ever count calories, but hearing this from my doctor really encouraged me not to hold back. Do not be concerned about your baby weight! It was so hard for me to find time to eat that first month after Layla was born and I’ll admit, I was hoping that lack of food would help me to start losing the baby weight right away but that was not helpful. It was actually a part of the problem for me. I’m not talking about indulging in anything and everything you want. A healthy balanced diet is important. Now I keep snacks like nuts, kind bars and fruit on hand in my nightstand, in the diaper bag, in my pump bag and at my desk at work along with a ton of water. My friends laugh because I carry a smoothie, a cup of coffee and a huge water bottle to work every morning.
Your body is still in transition. This whole mommy thing is tough, not only are you having to produce food from your body you’re up half the night and stressed about your new responsibilities. This is normal but you do need to rest. Everyone says it “sleep while your baby sleeps” and I didn’t listen but now I know I should have listened from the beginning. Make rest a priority. Don’t worry about that pile of laundry or emptying out the dishwasher. Rest. Just do it, okay?
3. The Magic Lactation Smoothie
It’s magic. I could tell it worked because I was pumping at work and normally I’d get 2-3 oz per pump and after I tried this the first time I got 5 oz! I use a combo of flax seed, brewers yeast and oatmeal as my “magic” ingredients and add banana, milk, cocoa powder and peanut butter, but there are other great lactation recipes. Test them out and see what helps you when it comes to breastfeeding. You’ll find a lot on Pinterest.
4. Check in with yourself
Mommas it is so easy to get hyper focused on your baby that you totally forget about your own needs. Is the way your living working for you and your family? Go on a date with your husband. Go for a walk by yourself. Take a nap. Have some time with God. Go out for a lunch with a friend. Be you vs. mommy and see how you’re doing Your baby will be fine for a couple of hours without you.
5. Supplement with Formula
I know, I know, the goal is to increase milk supply so you don’t have to use formula. I just remember I would get so disappointed with every ounce of formula we had to give our baby. I was keeping track of how much formula she had yesterday and compare it to the extra ounce she’s had today and its only 2pm and I’m freaking out because my husband is giving her more formula instead of letting me try to nurse first and on and on. And I was just a mess. That’s never helpful. After time (after I learned to check in on myself) I realized she is so healthy and happy and its okay that she has some formula. Being “okay” with it helped me relax. Plus, I was secretly relieved (but couldn’t admit it with my mommy guilt) when he gave her formula because that gave me a break and gave my nipples a break then the next time she was hungry I could have a good full feeding session with her and we both enjoyed it and my body learned what a full “meal” was for her.
6. Believe it will work out:
There is something powerful about faith. Having a faithful mindset about something totally works. It also helps you relax. There is no proof to this, but that’s the whole point of faith 😉
I had a goal to exclusively breastfeed my baby. This was something I deeply desired. I understand that it’s not everyone’s preference and it doesn’t work for every family or every lifestyle. I never want to push my parenting preferences on anyone or make any mom feel judged or less than adequate. This whole momming thing is tough and my heart is to help and remind moms to support and encourage one another. If you’re a mom, you’re a rockstar in my eyes!