As breastfeeding Mums, we are never exactly sure how much of that liquid gold that our babies are getting. Although it is widely accepted in the health care profession that “breast is best”, it can be nerve wracking as a new Mummy not to be able to quantify how much of a feed that our babies take. Here are 5 top tips to make sure that your supply stays plentiful to give your little one the best chance of getting as much of the good stuff as possible.
Keep It Regular
Make sure that you are feeding your baby regularly. Remember that breastfeeding is a “supply and demand” system, so the more frequently that you feed your baby, the more that your body will produce.
Newborn babies need to be fed every 3 hours from the beginning of the feed, with timings adjusting as they get older. You can feed more about the feeding timings that I found that worked best for maximising my supply with my 4 babies in my Routine For Babies post.
Look After Mama
It may seem that your needs become bottom of the priority pile when you have had a baby, but taking care of yourself is so important when it comes to ensuring a plentiful supply of breastmilk.
Remember that breastfeeding can burn an extra 300-600 calories per day, so you need to make sure that you are eating plenty of yummy nutritious food.
Make sure that you are drinking plenty too. If you’re anything like me, this shouldn’t be too hard to remember to do, as you’ll get immediately parched as soon as your baby latches on. Make sure that you have a water bottle near by, I love the Chilly bottles as the keep your drink nice and cold for up to 12 hours.
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This one may be far easier said than done with a small baby, especially if it is not your first, but if you are looking to increase your supply of breastmilk, you really most take every opportunity to rest. If you are able to, consider taking a “breastfeeding holiday”. This is where you take your baby to bed and spend a few days doing noting but feeding, resting, eating and drinking. Unfortunately this is not an option for everyone, but if you have the support in place, this can be a great way of boosting your supply.
Get Those Hormones Flowing
Remember that breastfeeding is a hormone driven activity. Stress and overthinking are not your friends when it comes to making the good stuff flow. So try to relax. Try sitting in a quiet room, maybe place some chilled out music of pop on your favourite box set (check out my top TV shows to watch while breastfeeding here) Look at your baby, stroke their tiny head and let the warm loving feelings flow through you. If you are expressing, trying it with your baby near by. If this is not possible, try looking at a photo of your baby, it will really help.
Expressing can be an amazing way to boost your supply. Pumping after baby is finished feeding to express whatever is left will keep sending your body the message “more is needed”. It can also be beneficial to keep the pump suction on for a few minutes after the breasts are drained, just to reinforce the “more please” message.
As I discussed whenI shared my breastfeeding story, expressing in between feeds can be an excellent way to produce more breastmilk. This also provides the additional benefit of creating a breastmilk stash for whenever you may need it.
Fenugreek is a supplement that is widely taken the world over to promote a plentiful supply of breastmilk. (Speak to your doctor before taking Fenugreek to check that it is suitable for you). Although there is little scientific research to explain exactly why this works, anecdotal evidence seems to confirm that it does. I have personally taken Fenugreek supplements wen trying to boost my supply. Although I will never know if my supply would have increased with Fenugreek alone and without the other measures that I have mentioned, all I can report is that my supply increased. Maybe it was the fenugreek, the other strategies that I was implementing, or a combination of all of these factors. Maybe the Fenugreek had a placebo effect?
As the only side effect that I seemed to have from taking Fenugreek was wee that smelled like maple syrup (very odd, I know), I don’t think it mattered if it was a placebo or not. The important thing is that during a stressful time in my life when I was desperately trying to produce more milk, I was suddenly doing just that. If merely believing that Fenugreek would help, in itself helped, or if the fenugreek really did help, I guess I will never know.
What Are Your Top Tips?
So those are my 5 top tips for boosting your supply of breastmilk. What are your tip tips? Leave me a message in the comments, I would love to hear them.
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