This topic took a couple months for me to truly hit the nail on head. I have had one son. So I have had one experience with breastfeeding, and for the most part, it has been a positive one. But in the beginning, while your boobs are trying to figure out just how much milk they need to be producing to sustain your hungry child, it can be rather challenging to understand exactly what needs to be done in your diet to ensure you never run low on milk… baby’s feeding schedules can be fickle, and it’s important to be prepared. I’ve read pages and pages of advice on how to increase my milk supply, but in the end, these three things worked the best for both my sister and I.
These are the three things I do, and have done for 8 months, to increase my milk supply:
1. Drink LOTS of Water
If you decide to do any of these three things, this one should be your choice. The more water you drink, the more your milk will increase, and the more you will learn to incorporate all those breast pads you have into your everyday attire (milk stains don’t make for a trendy fashion accessory).
2. Eat Oatmeal
It doesn’t matter how you choose to do this: eat it for breakfast, make oatmeal cookies, add it to your smoothie – I’ve done it all, and it all works. The exact reason for this miracle milk production food isn’t well known, but I had a great response to it, as well as do several women. I ate a half cup of oatmeal every morning with water and some dried cherries for the first 4 or 5 months of Kaden’s life, and I attribute a lot of my production to this. Both Kaytee and I purchase an organic, non-gmo oatmeal from Amazon – it’s cost efficient, and the bag lasts for a lot longer than others we have bought in the grocery stores.
A known and very popular herb, fenugreek has long been used in the production of breast milk in nursing mamas. Personally, I think options 1 and 2 work better for increasing milk supply (at least they do in my own experience), but when I know I will be pumping more frequently for future bottles, or I haven’t been drinking enough water, I often turn to these easy supplements to help me turn out more milk. The Medela website states that fenugreek “can have effects such as lowering blood sugar, and may cause allergy in some sensitive people with a history of asthma. Diabetic or asthmatic or allergic mothers should consult health care providers before using Fenugreek. Use of this herb may cause diarrhea. The FDA generally regards fenugreek as safe, but should not be used by pregnant mothers.” I also really enjoy this UpSpring Fenugreek and Milk Thistle drink mix – perfect for adding to the water you should already be drinking.
Remember to speak with your lactation consultant or your OB if you are experiencing any problems with breastfeeding… large or small. These people are here for you no matter what the circumstance, and whatever issues you may be experiencing, know that you are not the only mama out there who has experienced them.
Hope this helps all your breastfeeding and pumping mommies out there! Happy Nursing!