We want to begin this article by saying all of us here at The Stork Bag feel very strongly that “fed is bed” and we completely understand that not every new mom can or even wants to breastfeed. This blog post is in no way meant to imply anything except that we know so many new moms struggle with breastfeeding and we want to try and help if we can! If you are struggling with breastfeeding, check out our list below for some tips that might help and if you get nothing else from this post, know that you are not alone and that no matter what you decide, you are supported and loved!
- Supply and Demand- This idea is not exclusive to economics. Basically, the more milk that gets used, the more your body is going to make. Some good recommendations would be to try and use a breast pump between feedings to increase the amount of milk that your body thinks is being used. Try not to completely deplete your supplies in case baby needs to eat unexpectedly but this method is good for “tricking” your body into producing more milk.
- Take care of yourself- This is a very important piece to the breastfeeding puzzle. First, staying hydrated by drinking a minimum of 8-8 ounces glasses of water is critical. Second, taking care of your diet is also very important. On average, breastfeeding requires about an extra 500 calories per day but try to be smart about what kind of extra calories you are taking in- protein and whole grains are at the top of the list for recommendations. Taking vitamins is also strongly recommended and many doctors might suggest a postnatal vitamin that is geared towards meeting the needs of a nursing mom.
- Lactation Assistance – It’s always ok to ask for help and this especially applies to breastfeeding. For new moms especially, meeting with a lactation consultant can really help with the process of learning the ins and out of nursing. This can both be done in the hospital right after birth or down the road at some point. The point is, this is a huge resource and should be utilized if needed.
- Galactagogues Supplements – This is just a fancy way of describing a food, herb or drug that promotes or increases the flow of a mother’s milk. Let’s start with foods first. Foods that could help increase milk production are barley, oats, fennel, flaxseed, brewers’ yeast, whole grains and papaya. Incorporating these into your diet can not only help increase your milk supply but can maintain it as well. Herbs that could help include fenugreek and blessed thistle- look for lactation cookies and teas that are made specifically with these ingredients (fun fact- we also include some of these items in our Post-Bump Stork Bag!)
- What to Avoid- For every list of things that help, there is another list of things that don’t. Alcohol, sage, parsley, peppermint and menthol are all items that, if consumed regularly, could have a negative impact on you milk supply. Other things to avoid? Being too hard on yourself, putting too much pressure on yourself and stressing about it too much. Be gentle with yourself and avoid negativity.
Were you able to use any of the tips above to help improve your milk supply while breastfeeding? Did we leave anything off our list? We would love to hear about it in the comments below.
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