You’ve always heard the phrase “Breast is Best” when it comes to feeding your newborn. While that might be true, sometimes only the bottle will cut it- but, if you’re producing, it doesn’t mean you can’t give your baby breast milk. Many women opt to be “full-time” pumpers. But with pumping can come some challenges, especially with milk production. We have a few helpful tricks and tips that will keep your supply up for as long as you need it.
Pump Long. Pump Often.
In order for your body to want to produce more milk, it needs to feel empty, so it’s important to pump long enough to get as much milk as possible. Try pumping every few hours (similar to how a baby will feed) and pumping till both breasts are empty. If you feel like you’re not getting enough milk, try adding one more additional pumping session. Over the course of a few days, your production should increase.
Two additional things you can do to get the most out of your pumping session are:
- Breast Compressions: This is a light massaging of the breast. This will put pressure on the milk glands allowing for increased milk flow.
- Nipple Stimulation: By simulating nipple latch, you trick your body into thinking there is a baby ready to suckle, which will help to stimulate milk production.
“Power Pumping is the newest pumping term for what is called “cluster feeding.” Cluster feeding is when a baby is on and off the breast multiple times in order to get more milk. Many babies cluster feed at night or when they are sick when they are hard to comfort.
So, how do you simulate a cluster feed? Set up your breast pump and pump for 10-15 minutes, then wait for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this cycle 3-5 times. Over time, you’ll find that your production will increase when it feels a “power pump” session beginning.
Foods, Drinks, and Supplements
While having a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to have healthy breast milk, many women claim they have great success when they eat certain foods and take certain supplements.
- Foods: Oatmeal is the number one food found to help increase milk supply. Additional foods include apricots, garlic, spinach or other dark green leafy vegetables, and brewer’s yeast have been said to increase milk supply. Double (or even triple) up on these lactation smoothies.
- Drinks: There are any number of nursing teas on the market containing milk-boosting herbs and ingredients. Almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk when dealing with a fussy baby, and is thought to have milk-producing powers. Recently, breastfeeding/pumping women have been raving about a Starbucks “pink drink” containing coconut milk and strawberry acai refresher (though these are all anecdotal accounts). Ultimately, the best thing you can do for yourself and your supply is to drink water, water, and more water. If the water becomes boring, try adding different fruits and herbs to spice things up a bit.
- Supplements: Though there are many supplements on the market that say they promote milk production, Fenugreek has been known to be the most effective, and most prominent in supplements and teas. It is said to work as quickly as 24-72 hours. Some women claim they begin to smell like maple syrup while taking the herb. And many women find they can stop taking it when their production increases.
Please be aware that some supplements can affect any prescription medication you might be on, so consult a doctor before you begin taking anything.
Meditation and Relaxation
While breastfeeding and pumping, your body releases hormones that help to naturally relax the body. But there can be times your body needs that extra push. There are many anecdotal accounts that claim practicing meditation and mindful relaxation increases milk flow and milk production. While there may not be hard medical evidence to prove this to be true, it is known that stress will cause a decrease in milk production. So, finding new ways to relax may not only help your milk production, but it may help your mind as well.
Having trouble with breastfeeding or pumping? The professionals at Miami OBGYN are here for advice and counseling. For local support and to get in touch with other “milk mommas” contact your local La Leche League.Leave a reply →