As much as a magical and exciting time it is, being a new mum comes with its challenges. Breastfeeding is one of the earliest one of them. Having trouble with breast milk supply is alarming for a lot of new moms. However, it is very common.
Hence, whether you face this problem right now or are afraid you might encounter it later, you needn’t worry about it. Stay calm, read the guide below, and find out everything about how to increase breast milk supply.
What are the possible reasons for the inadequate breast milk supply?
Before you start looking for remedies and treatments, understand why you are having problems with milk supply. There are plenty of reasons that could be the cause. Go through them, do some self-evaluation, and figure out which reason is yours. Once you do this, it will be much easier to manage the situation.
Cannot get the hang of it!
If you are a fresh, new mom or are about to be one, understand that this is an entirely new experience. It doesn’t matter where you search or how often you read about it; you can never adequately prepare yourself for it. Hence, some mothers have a hard time understanding how to breastfeed, and that’s okay. Relax, and keep on trying.
History of breast surgery
Breast cancer and other diseases require surgery. This procedure, along with the disease itself, can cause some reversible and irreversible damages in the area. If you have a history of breast cancer or breast surgery, there is a high chance that you will not be able to produce enough milk during breastfeeding.
If not surgery, certain medications for these diseases can also have adverse effects on the body. These effects also include a decreased amount of milk supply.
Apart from breast cancer, other diseases can also have long term effects on women’s breastfeeding abilities. These diseases include high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and obesity. Women who have these diseases usually undergo proper management or treatment before delivery to minimize the disease’s effects. However, chronic diseases can sometimes have irreversible damage to the body’s milk-producing abilities.
Waited too long
Even though every mother and child has a unique lifestyle and routine, and there is no specific time for everyone, there is a thing such as waiting too long. If you and your baby have become habitual of other ways of feeding, and your body has gone past the phase where it was ready for breastfeeding, the chances are that the milk supply will not be as adequate as it would’ve been. So, take your time, but don’t take too long.
Premature birth means that a baby’s body was not completely ready yet. However, it also means that the mother’s body was not fully prepared either. If this is so, you have some problems producing enough milk, and that is entirely normal.
Stress or postpartum depression
We all know how stress, anxiety, and depression can have physical effects on our body systems. The same happens after delivery. The new mother is under a lot of hormonal imbalance and emotional pressure, which is why postpartum depression and anxiety are surprisingly common, affecting the milk supply of the mother.
Having alcohol is a no-no when you are trying to breastfeed. It has a serious adverse effect on your body, as well as your baby’s. Plus, it can drastically lower your ability to maintain an adequate breast milk supply.
Menthol, parsley, and peppermint
If you are consuming these ingredients abundantly in your routine, stop immediately. Experts believe that each of these ingredients has a negative impact on your breastfeeding abilities if ingested in large quantities or daily. While you might think that this is not probable, remember that peppermint is present in many teas and candies, parsley is a part of almost every salad recipe. Menthol is also a common ingredient in many everyday use products. Keep track of everything that you are consuming in a routine.
How can you fix these problems and increase breast milk supply?
Nurse whenever the baby demands it.
You have probably heard of this often. All nurses and professionals advise you to try nursing as soon as the baby demands it. The logic behind this is that breast milk supply works on a supply-and-demand mechanism. The more you nurse the baby, the more milk your body will produce. Eventually, over the course of a few tries, your milk supply will improve.
Offer both sides.
Remember that your baby is also learning with you. If it seems like the baby won’t latch, try offering the other side. While there is no significant scientific proof to support this idea, several mothers and professionals advise you to do this.
You are probably naive about this new concept, but there is such a thing called lactation cookies. There are various recipes present on the Internet, and you can even ask older mums and grandmas to give you one. The reason these cookies work is that they have galactagogues, which stimulates milk production. Other powerful ingredients in these cookies include flax seeds, wheat germ, and whole oats.
Power pumping for 2 to 3 days consecutively can help you improve your breast milk supply. Preferably do this for 10 to 20 minutes after each nursing session. Your body senses that the breasts are empty and need to make more milk, thereby improving milk production and supply.
Replace the pumping parts.
If pumping is not working, you need to look at whether you need to replace the pumping parts. If you frequently pump, replacing these parts every month is a good idea.
This one may sound cliche, but it is an essential part of breastfeeding. Staying hydrated is vital for your physical health and also to maintain milk production in the body. If you are dehydrated, it is common sense that your body will not produce a lot of fluids. Hence, keep a water bottle nearby you at all times and drink fluids regularly.
Rest more and more.
New mothers need this the most. Delivering a baby takes all the strength you have, and even more when you have to take care of it. Your body stays in physical and emotional stress for a very long time after delivery, so ensure that you give yourself the maximum amount of rest. A relaxed and healthy body will complete its functions more smoothly and efficiently, such as producing milk.
Consult a professional.
If nothing seems to work, or you want expert opinion and peace of mind, talk to a lactation consultant as soon as possible. Communicate with them openly and express how you feel. Take their advice and act on it.
Other ways of increasing breast milk supply
Home-remedies to increase breast milk supply
Home remedies and DIYs have been a common way to manage and treat breastfeeding issues. While many have their doubts about these solutions, quite many women see positive results from these methods.
One of the ridiculously popular and effective home remedies to improve milk supply in a new mother is consuming fennel seeds. The basic reason behind this idea is that it consists of phytoestrogens. This substance is similar to the hormone, estrogen, and helps in the production of milk. You have the opportunity to consume these in the form of tea or chew them as roasted seeds.
Milk is a herb that supposedly removes toxins from your body and acts as a detox for the liver. But for new mothers, it helps improve lactation because of its estrogen content. You can ingest milk thistle capsules as recommended by your doctor or add them in your tea.
We all know what this is. Cinnamon is a common everyday ingredient in our kitchen, and its benefits start from its beautiful fragrance to reducing the risk of heart disease. However, it also impacts milk supply, and having adequate cinnamon consumption in your daily routine can help improve lactation. Simply mix a pinch of powder cinnamon in warm water. It will take a couple of months to show noticeable results.
If you come from an Asian family, I guess you are fully aware of what cumin seeds are. This particular ingredient is a part of almost every Pakistani and Indian recipe out there because one: it smells so lovely, and two: it has plenty of health benefits. One of these is helping increase the breast milk supply. If you are using cumin seeds for this particular purpose, take some milk and sugar before you go to bed. You can also consume them in everyday dishes such as curries and salads etc.
Surprised? Don’t be. Garlic has always been famous for its health benefits apart from how it amps up any recipe you make. In the case of breastfeeding, it increases the production of breastmilk, but it also improves its flavor. Daily consumption in the form of everyday dishes can be good enough. Add one to three raw cloves to your meal every day.
Of course, there’s ginger on the list if there’s garlic. Ginger has reasonable amounts of galactagogue in it, which makes it beneficial for breastfeeding mothers. You can add ginger to your everyday tea or in your everyday dishes with garlic. If not, you can also dry up some ginger, make its powder, and add it to your food and tea.
Disclaimer: Before you try any home remedies on your own, you must consult an expert. Consuming anything without professional supervision can prove dangerous and sometimes even fatal. Before you try any of these edible materials, make sure that you are not allergic to anything. Also, be aware of the quantities you are taking, since large amounts can lead to toxicity and the results can be fatal. Plus, try and only purchase from brands that have a good reputation and reviews. Stay away from sketchy products and companies.
Exercises that increase breast milk supply
It is a common exercise to massage the breast or compress it during nursing. Doing this helps push more milk out and, in turn, improves milk production. You can also do this while pumping to help speed up the process.
Along with its mind and body relaxation benefits, experts say that yoga is also an excellent option for breastfeeding mothers. One of the many valid reasons why this is a good idea is that it induces overall relaxation in the body. As a result, it takes physical and psychological stress off of you. As a result, it helps the body improve its functionality and produce more milk. However, different yoga poses and techniques are suitable for breastfeeding moms. It is highly recommended that you consult and follow a yoga trainer instead of doing it independently.
Postpartum Pilates is a great way to reduce the tension in your shoulders and improve your posture. This particular exercise takes a lot of load off of you and helps manage your back pain. Similar to yoga, when your body is in a better position, it feels more relaxed. As a result, it improves the mill supply.
It is common practice that experts recommend water aerobics to pregnant women as well as after their delivery. The reason behind this is that low-impact exercises get your blood pumping and your heart going. This healthy boost of energy and blood in the body helps amp up all the systems, including lactation.
Foods that increase breast milk supply
Not many people know this, but sweet potato is an excellent source of potassium. This potassium is essential for breastfeeding mothers. Along with K, sweet potatoes also have high contents of vitamin c and B complex and magnesium. Experts recommend having sweet potatoes with a low-fiber diet. You can mix and blend it in your fruit smoothie or a pudding, and consume it in combination with other fruits and vegetables.
Oats are one of the most popular food items when it comes to health benefits. So, seeing this particular ingredient on the list should not be surprising at all. Oatmeal controls post-pregnancy diabetes contains a high content of energy, and it is effortless to prepare. Overall, it has a positive impact on breast milk supply. So, having a bowl of oats during breakfast will do a great job. You can add nuts, syrups, and fruits as you’d like.
I know not everyone is fond of barley, but hear me out! This particular ingredient will keep you hydrated and boost breast milk production, unlike anything else. You can boil it and drink the water throughout the day. If not, you can add whole barley to salads as well.
Almonds are amazing! They have a surprisingly high content of vitamin E and omega-3 fats. Thus, they are a piece of popular advice for post-pregnancy stretch marks and lactation issues. The omega 3 boosts the level of hormones that produce milk and eventually help improve lactation. You can crush them with milk or add them to your oatmeal. Almonds are one of the most versatile food items there ever were.
Beets contain iron, folic acid, and calcium, all of which are beneficial for pregnant and postpartum mothers. Females who are having problems with inadequate milk production should also consume red beet and beet leaves. You can consume these as parts of soup or in a salad.
Apricots can be a delicious part of your post-pregnancy routine. You can eat them in salads or as a part of your oatmeal diet. Their richness in fiber and calcium helps boost lactation and improve the balance of hormones in your body. Overall, apricots help bring your body to stability during postpartum.
Delicious and beneficial, asparagus is high in fiber as well as vitamins A and K. All of these elements are extremely helpful for breastfeeding women since they stimulate favorable hormones. These hormones, in turn, improve breast milk supply. Chop up some fresh, beautiful asparagus and add it to your everyday meal. Or, you could boil it with milk, strain it, and drink throughout the day.
Carrot juice every day with breakfast can do wonders for lactating mothers. The Vitamin A component of a carrot helps boost the quality and frequency of lactation. You can have these raw, sauté, steamed, or as soup.
According to research and studies, brown rice is one of the latest confirmed parts of this list. This type of rice improves breast milk production as it stimulates the hormones associated with improved lactation. Furthermore, it also boosts the mother’s appetite and ensures extra energy. You can soak some brown rice for approximately half an hour and then pressure cook it to eat it with vegetables.
This fish, like any other, is rich in omega-3 and essential fatty acids (EFA). These elements are highly beneficial for lactating mothers because they boost the levels of lactation hormones in your blood. Lactation experts usually recommend adding it to your meals as boiled, steamed, or grilled salmon. It will not only improve lactation but also makes the milk higher nutrition.
Supplements that increase breast milk supply
Best naturals Fenugreek capsules
Suppose you need more of a targeted supplement, fenugreek seed capsules for the best way to go. They help boost milk production and are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin B, and vitamin C. The product does not involve any potential allergens, artificial flavors, or hazardous ingredients. They are also free of sweeteners, preservatives, sugar, starch, egg, lactose, gluten, wheat, yeast, fish, and even sodium. Plus, these capsules help maintain blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels as well. Overall, they help maintain and improve postnatal health and stimulate healthy lactation. Each capsule contains about 610 milligrams of fenugreek seed powder, and these supplements b are high-quality GMP certified. You need to consume about 4 to 6 tablets every day after particular periods. However, if you are having trouble with your stomach, you might want to discuss it with a doctor before taking these supplements.
Pink Stork True Milk
This supplement is an All-in-One. It is made of 100% organic herbs with minimum risk for you and your baby’s health. All of these herbs combine to help improve the quality and amount of milk supply. These herbs include fenugreek seed powder, milk thistle extract, blessed thistle powder, fennel seed powder, goats rue powder and anise seed powder. Along with improving milk production, it also helps enhance the flavor of the milk. If your baby is having trouble or is not being cooperative, give a chance to this supplement to increase milk supply. In addition to these pros, you must know that you will have to take two pills everyday and these supplements are relatively expensive.
Maxi Health Nursing
This particular dietary supplement enhances the production of milk without any synthetic products or drugs. Its production involves modern research and vegetarian manufacturing. Herbs involved in its making include barley grass, alfalfa, fennel, fenugreek, nettle leaf, red raspberry, spirulina, anise, and marshmallow root. These supplements are gluten-free, do not contain any colorings or preservatives, and have no artificial flavors. For even greater peace of mind, the supplements are certified by Kosher and declared safe and effective. Each tablet is a combination of vitamins and herbs of high-quality and, evidently, beneficial for lactation. Furthermore, they don’t even leave a bad aftertaste, so that’s a bonus.
However, know that you might be a little uncomfortable ingesting these if you have problems with swallowing capsules. Plus, you need to take about nine pills every day, and you must take them in divided doses multiple times a day.
While a decreased level of milk production may seem like an intimidating problem, there are many ways to manage and solve it. There are various foods to increase milk supply, as well as different supplements to increase milk supply. Other popular methods also include exercise and several other home remedies, as you have probably read above. The point is, motherhood comes with a lot of challenges, and this is just one of them. Don’t be intimated, stay calm, take a deep breath, and go through these challenges one at a time. Good luck!