Are you a lactating mother? Are you worried that your milk supply is low and this could affect your child? If so, you are not alone.
Learning how to produce more breast milk is an important step towards ensuring your baby’s early development.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for six months after birth. With increased awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding, more mothers now follow this recommendation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 in 10 mothers (81.1 percent) begin breastfeeding their babies at birth. However, the same study shows 51.8 percent will stop breastfeeding before the recommended six months
Among the reasons given for stopping breastfeeding is low milk supply. In a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 43.5% of mothers said breast milk alone did not satisfy their baby.
Breastfeeding offers a myriad of benefits to your child. For this reason, you have to address the issue of low milk supply early enough.
If you don’t notice any gains in baby weight, your breasts might not be producing enough milk. This guide explores the natural and safe ways of boosting your milk supply to ensure your baby’s health.
Why Learn How to Produce More Breast Milk?
It is important to appreciate the crucial benefits of breastfeeding for you and your new child. Breastfeeding offers:
- Ideal nutrition for babies: All the nutrients a baby needs are in breast milk.
- Boost immunity of the child: Breast milk comes loaded with antibodies to enable baby’s body to fight viruses and bacteria.
- Reduces disease risk: Breast milk fights off illnesses, including middle ear infections, respiratory tract infections, colds, and infections, among others.
- Promotes healthy weight gain: It prevents childhood obesity.
- Helps in brain development
- Offers benefits for the mother: These include weight loss, involution (uterus contraction) and reducing risk of postpartum depression
As research on breastfeeding continues, more benefits will emerge. It’s thus important not to give up on this practice even when you experience low milk supply.
Possible Causes of Low Milk Supply
As a breastfeeding mother, it’s important to understand what can cause low milk supply. These factors include:
- High-stress levels
- Insufficient glandular tissue
- Anatomical problems with the baby
- Previous breast surgery
- Inadequate food and fluid intake
- Hormonal or endocrine problems
- Taking certain medications or herbs
- Using hormonal birth control
- Infrequent baby feeding/or scheduling
Tips to Increase Breast Milk Supply
Now that you know the importance of breastfeeding, it’s imperative that you learn how to produce more breast milk.
Many mothers panic when they experience this problem. Others give up easily and start looking for quick-fix solutions which can affect their health and that of the baby.
It’s advisable only to use safe solutions to tackle low breast milk production.
Below are some effective tips that you should apply:
Eat a Balanced Diet
Your breastfeeding diet should contain a lot of calories, which necessitates more food intake. You have to start taking a balanced diet, focusing on foods that give you more energy. Protein-rich foods such as smoothies or yogurt, veggies, and eggs are good to include in your diet.
Other recommended foods for lactating mothers include barley, barley malt, fennel and fenugreek seeds, oats, whole grains, and papaya. These are galactagogues and promote breast milk production.
When breastfeeding, you should take at least eight glasses of water per day. Fluid intake varies per mother, but you should keep your body hydrated all the time.
Water is crucial for milk production. By replenishing regularly, you’ll help the body continue producing more milk.
Stress and worry are some of the major causes of low milk supply for your baby. Most breastfeeding mothers complain of tiredness throughout the day and night.
Sleeping is a great way to overcome these two problems. There’s an old belief that breastfeeding mothers should sleep when the baby sleeps.
Sleeping more not only helps avoid stress but allows the body to work optimally.
Take your Vitamins
Vitamins are crucial for a breastfeeding mother. You should increase your intake of vitamin D in addition to other minerals such as Calcium, Iron, and Folic Acid.
Follow your Baby’s Nursing Cues
One of the major causes of low milk supply for mothers is scheduling. Understandably, you want to follow a schedule to make your life easier. However, doctors recommend following the baby’s cues instead of forcing your schedule.
Feeding on demand is the best way to boost milk supply. It means your breasts are empty most of the time, which stimulates the production of more milk.
Feed the Baby on Both Breasts
Most breastfeeding mothers work on autopilot. They don’t get enough sleep, and this leads to a lack of alertness. When this happens, you might end up breastfeeding the baby on one side.
This affects milk production on the other breast, pain, and discomfort. To boost milk supply, you should take control of the process and feed your baby on both sides.
This gives your baby the nutritious foremilk and fatty hindmilk. It also leads to more milk production.
It is not always easy to find lactogenic foods to increase milk supply. This is where Galactogogues supplements come in handy. These herb and plant extracts help boost milk production.
You will find products such as Fenugreek, Brewer's Yeast, and blessed Thistle on the market. Many breastfeeding mothers use these products with great results.
It is important to understand the ingredients of any breastfeeding supplement you buy and to consult with your doctor before using any.
One of the most important ways to encourage breast milk is by ensuring your breasts are empty. However, this is not easy because your baby might not empty both breasts fully. At times, your baby will only feed on one side, and this poses a risk.
This is where a good breast pump comes in handy. This device is now an essential tool for most breastfeeding mums both at home and at work.
It helps mothers stash away some milk for later use and also helps them stimulate production. Working mothers no longer have to suffer throughout the day with full breasts.
Using a breast pump makes life easier and is a win-win for both the mother and the baby.
Find Help at Home
Many breastfeeding mums take time off from work to be with their babies. However, this is not easy with so many chores to complete.
You’ll find yourself on your feet all the time with little time for your bundle of joy. This means less breastfeeding, which can affect milk supply.
It’s important to find a helper to ensure you have more time with your baby. This makes it easier to breastfeed on demand.
When this happens, your breasts will produce more milk, and your baby will get all the nutrients they need.
Try Breastfeeding Snacks
With more women opting to breastfeed, more brands have launched lactogenic products. These products seek to help breastfeeding mums improve milk production. These range from energy bars to cookies
The best products have natural ingredients packed with nutrients. These products boost energy levels to keep you going.
They also have essential best lactogenic ingredients to boost milk production. Such ingredients include iron, amino acids, vitamin B, and calcium, among others.
Talk to a Lactation Expert
If you try most of the other ways to boost milk supply without any results, it is advisable to talk to a lactation consultant.
These health professionals deal with complex breastfeeding problems, including low milk supply. They diagnose and recommend the best way to produce breast milk adequate for your baby’s needs.
When looking for lactation support, only work with a certified consultant. These professionals have certification from the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC).
Increase Frequency of Emptying your Breasts
Increasing the frequency of emptying your breasts signals the body to produce more milk. You can start breastfeeding or pumping your breasts early in the morning.
You should also increase the number of breastfeeding sessions. Do the same to the pumping frequency to empty your breasts.
This leads to more milk production to ensure your baby gets the nutrients they need.
Every woman would love to breastfeed, but it is not always easy. Some have to work while others have medical issues that won’t allow breastfeeding.
Still, many healthy mothers would like to breastfeed but can’t produce enough milk. Learning how to produce more breast milk is important in this case. It ensures you and the child enjoy the immense benefits of breast milk.
If you need help producing more breast milk, we recommend our Milkful Nursing Bars. These lactogenic energy-packing snacks are tasty, healthy, and convenient for breastfeeding moms.
They contain iron, omega 3& 6, calcium, antioxidants, and B-vitamin. These ingredients not only ensure sustained energy levels for breastfeeding moms but also boost their milk supply.