The first four to six weeks of breastfeeding are critical for breastfeeding success, especially if you’re a first-time mom. It’s when you and your baby are figuring it all out and finding a routine. It’s also the time when you’re establishing a strong and healthy supply of breast milk.
If you’re like many new moms, you might be worried about making enough breast milk for your baby even after the first few weeks. While this is a common fear, there are only a small number of mothers who truly aren’t able to make enough breast milk. If your supply of breast milk is low, it can usually be increased naturally by taking a few easy steps.
Breastfeeding provides plenty of benefits for you and your baby. Breast milk meets all of your baby’s nutritional needs, provides antibodies to help defend against infection, and protects against allergies, asthma, and obesity as he gets older. Breastfeeding can also help you shed pregnancy weight more rapidly and protect you against breast or ovarian cancer later in life.
But breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy and creating enough breast milk can be a problem. The most common causes of low supply are inadequate food and fluid intake, fatigue, high stress levels, and feeding the baby too infrequently or for only short periods of time.
Not sure if you’re making enough milk to feed your baby? Try these tips to maximize your breast milk production naturally.
There are several things that you’ll need to do to build and maintain a healthy breast milk supply.
Confirming your breastfeeding technique and breastfeeding more often are the two most important actions necessary to establish and maintain a healthy supply of breast milk.
Breastfeeding seems like it should be the most natural thing in the world, but it’s not always so cut and dried. Every woman is different and our bodies all have different needs and capabilities. Introduce a tiny baby who also has his or her own unique needs and abilities into that equation, and it can make for a roller coaster ride.
For some moms, breastfeeding comes easily and always goes smoothly. For others, it can be a bumpy ride of oversupply, undersupply, latching issues, and questions. One of the most important things moms worry about is if they’re making enough milk. and while it may seem like it is totally out of a mom’s control, there are a few things that can be done to boost that supply.
According to a 2013 study in Pediatrics, as many as 60 percent of women give up on breastfeeding earlier than they want to. The most cited reason for quitting? Not producing enough breast milk. Supply issues are a major source of anxiety for many moms and can lead women to supplement with formula when they don’t want to, and to change their plans for how they feed their babies. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The methods for boosting milk supply naturally and safely are plenty. There are a vast number of herbs and supplements, tips, tricks, and delicious lactation recipes that moms can use to keep their body producing breast milk efficiently.
The hardest part is knowing which ones to choose. Here, we’ve narrowed down 20 natural ways to boost supply that have been recommended by international board certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs), dietitians, trusted resources, and other moms themselves.
Before you throw in the towel, try these tips to boost your breast milk supply.
1. Eat a Healthy Anti-Inflammatory Diet
This healthy diet plan is heavy on fruits and vegetables, whole grains like brown rice, foods rice in omega-3s like salmon and flaxseeds, and vegetable proteins. Aim for about 2,500 calories per day.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Your body can’t make milk if you’re dehydrated. And you need more water than you probably think in addition to the doctor-recommended eight glasses per day, you should add another four glasses in.
3. Sleep Whenever Possible
Get restorative nightly sleep as often as you can and nap during the day when the baby is sleeping. (That saying about sleeping when the baby sleeps is not an old wives tale!)
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4. Find Ways to Stress Less
Regularly practice healthy stress-reduction techniques such as breath work.
5. Delegate What You Can
Ask family and friends for help with household duties so you can focus on feeding your baby and getting some rest.
6. Breastfeed Often
The more often and the longer your baby latches on to suck, the more milk you’ll produce. A lactation consultant can teach you the best techniques and positions to help you and your baby get the most out of breastfeeding.
7. Check Out Some Natural Breastfeeding Helpers
A bowl of oatmeal a day is a traditional milk booster that’s also good for you. Some natural health practitioners also swear by herbal remedies such as fenugreek and wild asparagus to boost milk production.
While there is a rich history of use for these agents, there have been only a few human studies on their safety and effectiveness.