Boost Your Milk Supply
This blog contains generic advice not specific to your personal circumstance. If you suspect your baby is dehydrated and not getting enough milk, please see your doctor immediately as dehydration in newborns and infants can be very serious.
HELP! I'M NOT MAKING ENOUGH MILK!
You're not alone. So many new Mums have this worry. It often kicks in after a few weeks when baby has their first growth spurt and is constantly wanting to feed. All. Freaking. Day.
Most babies will have regular growth spurts, and during those growth spurts they will want to feed more regularly and ingest more volume of milk.
Always feed a hungry baby.
There is no such thing as a "too fat" baby.
So even if they just fed,
if they are still hungry,
feed them some more.
Most of the time our bodies will keep up with our baby's needs, the hungrier they get, the more you feed and the more milk your body will make to keep the pace with your baby.
Sometimes we want to find ways to help our bodies keep up the pace with our growing baby, and that is what the tips in this blog are going to cover.
Recovering from childbirth is hard work and getting the milk machine up and running is also hard work. If you spend your days racing around "getting things done" and your nights are spent up with baby, there is not much time for your body to focus on healing and producing milk. Get what sleep you can, when you can - and put your phone on "Do Not Disturb" mode so texts and calls don't wake you.
Keeping your own fluids up will aide in keeping baby's fluids available. After all, if you're not putting hydration into your body, how can you produce it for your baby? Keep a few bottles of water in your most common breast-feeding spots so that when you sit down, it is there waiting. Beside your bed, on a bench in baby's room and at the edge of the couch are some common spots.
BREAST-FEEDING TIPS Feeding from both sides at each feed will help keep both of the milk production lines busy producing milk all the time. If you feed one side each feed and there's a discrepancy in feeding times you could "overload" one of the tanks and the factory could slow down production.
Try to empty each side each feed, if milk sits in the pipelines for too long it may raise the chance of blocking up inside a duct and causing mastitis.
If you suspect you have mastitis: Get to your doctor sooner rather than later as it can make you feel really awful, really quickly. Mastitis symptoms include hard, painful bumps anywhere from nipple to underarm, fever/chills, and headaches.
PUMP AFTER FEEDS
If you are mix feeding or expressing for bottles, you can pump for an extra 5-10 minutes each side after each feed. Even if very little (or no) milk comes out it can encourage your body to produce more milk. It kind of tricks our body into thinking your baby is more hungry so it will increase supply for the demand.
You can store the bottle of collected milk from each day in the fridge and use it a few hours later during the evening when supply is often lower or freeze it for later use.
MILK BOOSTING FOODS
There are some foods that can help increase milk supply called galactagogues. They don't work as an instant boost of milk supply, but are another cog in the machine as part of a long term daily lifestyle.
Foods that can help improve supply of breast milk:
One of the more popular foods that comes up often is lactation cookies. I can't speak for the taste as I have never tried them but here is a recipe if you want to have a go yourself:
Another popular option is lactation tea. You can purchase pre-made tea, just google "Lactation Tea" and you will find loads of options, or you could try this recipe at home with a few seeds from the spice aisle at Woolies. Once again, I can't vouch for the taste, but if you're inclined to whip up a batch let me know how it goes!
They say the fenugreek is warming and the fennel is cooling which creates an interesting balance. You can drink this tea from birth to 8 weeks. Apparently if you over-do it your baby can start to smell of fenugreek!
Mix two parts whole fennel seeds with one part whole fenugreek seeds.
Store in a small airtight jar.
Add half a teaspoon of tea to one litre of boiling water and sip warm throughout the day. If you don’t have a large thermos then just add a quarter of a teaspoon in a teapot and cover with two cups of boiling water and drink whilst still warm.
Ideally, make the tea in a thermos in the morning and keep it by your feeding chair for up to six hours.
DEHYDRATION IN BABIES
As I touched on at the top of this post, dehydration in babies can be very serious. If you suspect your baby is dehydrated please seek urgent medical advice. Symptoms of dehydration include crying without tears, a dry or sticky mouth, few or no tears when crying, eyes that look sunken, the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head looks sunken, peeing less or fewer wet diapers than usual, dry, cool skin, irritability, drowsiness or dizziness.
For information on identifying and treating dehydration in babies and children click here.
You can also check out the Australian Breastfeeding Association website
which has tons of wonderful resources
For personal assistance in breastfeeding and latching issues,
contact your local lactation consultant