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I’m an experienced mom who breastfed two daughters for a combined 31 months. Learn my breastfeeding tips to increase milk supply for your baby.
When Zoë was born, she latched right away in the hospital and was nursing like a champ. The night we got home from the hospital everything broke down. She couldn’t latch and I was a wreck. You can read a little about that here.
I ended up pumping and feeding her from a bottle and supplementing with a little formula until I was able to retrain her with a nipple shield. Wow, that was a big mistake. I’ll know for this time around to avoid my pump and formula at all costs in the beginning.
I had horrible supply issues for the first four months of Zoë’s life. Breastfeeding her was a constant struggle for me during that time – it’s probably one of the reasons I ended up with a mild case of PPD.
Luckily, at around 4 months (which is also when we started solid food) my supply evened out and I was able to stop using formula unless I needed a little extra food to send with her if someone was watching her while I was away.
I did a lot of things to work on increasing my milk supply. If you’re currently suffering from a low milk supply, don’t give up on breastfeeding! There are a lot of things you can try to increase your milk supply. And if it’s absolutely necessary, don’t feel guilty about using formula to supplement in the interim. Some breast milk is better than none.
Here are 8 breastfeeding tips to help increase your milk supply:
Drink lots of water.
Your body needs to be well hydrated to produce enough milk for your baby. So, if you’re having issues with your milk supply, you should try and avoid alcohol and other dehydrating drinks. Be sure you’re drinking your water out of a safe water bottle.
Let your baby use you as a pacifier.
This may not sound like a lot of fun, but the more your baby nurses, the more milk your body will start producing. You can even take a “nursing vacation” by doing nothing but eating, drinking water and breastfeeding your baby for a few days.
Nurse from both sides at each feeding.
This is one thing I was doing wrong. Zoë would empty one side and lose interest so I thought she was full. I should have been trying to get her interested in the other side. Once I started having her nurse from both sides (and often from each side twice during each session), my supply started to increase.
Stop using your breast pump.
A lot of people told me to pump between feeding to increase my supply. For me, it has the opposite effect.
This definitely isn’t true for everyone, but for me, if I pumped even once in the morning, my supply was shot for the rest of the day. It’s like my body didn’t register than my milk was emptied by the pump.
I stopped pumping and that problem went away. So if pumping isn’t helping to increase your supply, see how things go when you don’t pump at all.
Fenugreek is a galactagogue, an herbal substance that increases milk supply (there are also prescription galactagogues). Yes, it’s true, when you take Fenugreek, you will smell like maple syrup, but there are worse things you can smell like. I took Fenugreek for about a month and I believe it helped.
Drink Mother’s Milk Tea.
Mother’s milk tea is also full of all sorts of herbs that help increase your milk supply. I drink tea all the time, so I figured it couldn’t hurt. Coupled with the fenugreek, I think it helped my milk supply. Click here for the kind I use. I haven’t tried it, but I have also heard good things about the Earth Mama Organics Milkmaid Tea.
Go to a La Leche Leauge Meeting.
I didn’t do this, but wish I had gone to a La Leche League Meeting early on. I’ve heard that the support you get there is really great. You’re more likely to succeed with breastfeeding if you have a good support system behind you.
Check out Kelly Mom.
My favorite website for breastfeeding tips is Kelly Mom. If you haven’t been to the Kelly Mom website before, check it the section on milk supply.
When Kaylee is born, I’ll be doing a lot of things differently in the beginning and hopefully I won’t have milk supply issues. I will not let the hospital staff pressure me into offering formula. And I will follow all of the tips I have laid out here (except for the galactagogues – I’ll be waiting to see how things go before adding any supplements).