Breastfeeding can be so hard! Many of us think it is natural and should be easy, or that once you “catch on” it is smooth sailing. For some this may be the case, and for others, it can be an ongoing challenge. Milk supply is a huge obstacle for some breastfeeding Mama’s. Today we are going to talk about what to do if you are struggling with a low supply, and we will go through some simple ways to help boost your supply.
First off, it is important to look into why your supply might be low- this is where a consultation with your local Mama Coach might be in order to rule out any underlying issues, or have a check in with your physician or local Lactation Consultant. Ensuring your baby has a good, deep latch is going to be at the root of boosting your supply.
After ruling out any latch issues, let’s look at some quick and easy ways to increase your milk supply:
INCREASE FEEDING SESSIONS
The more your baby is at the breast, the more your body is stimulated to produce more milk. Lots of skin to skin between feedings can help too. Offer the breast often, especially at times during the day that you may have noticed a decrease in your supply.
INCREASE HAND MASSAGE/COMPRESSION
Again, this comes to increasing the stimulation at the breast. Hand massage prior to feeding is an effective way of signaling your body that milk is needed. It readies the breast for feeding as well. After a feeding you can also massage/compress to provide even more stimulation. Hand massage has proven beneficial to increasing milk supply.
INCREASE PUMPING SESSIONS
Whether you are aiming to boost your supply because it is low, or boost it so you can build a freezer stash, adding in more pumping sessions will help. You can use a hand pump, or electric pump, whichever you prefer. Adding in a Power Pumping session (see infographic), will mimic a growth spurt, and stimulate milk production. Thinking about what your goal is with increasing supply will help you to navigate which route to take.
INCREASE YOUR GALACTAGOGUE INTAKE
What is a Galactagogue? It is a food, supplement or herb that can be taken orally to boost milk production, commonly in the form of teas, herbs and foods. Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle & Milk thistle are examples of herbs that can be found at your local pharmacy or health food store. Galactagogues in the form of food include, brewers yeast, oatmeal, barley, ginger, garlic, raw nuts, fennel, flax, leafy vegetables, just to name a few. It is important to note that adding in galactagogues without adding in stimulation to the breast (frequent breastfeeding, pumping, hand massage, etc), will not be effective.
A great and tasty option is Milkin’ More. They are a Saskatoon based company who create lactation cookies, powdered drink mixes, and supplements to help boost your supply. The owners, Jaclyn & Chef KJ have given us a promo code to use so head on over & check out what they have to offer here. Be sure to use ‘mamacoach15’ at checkout for 15% off your order!
CHECK IN ON YOUR NUTRITION & HYDRATION
Having a baby is HARD work, make sure you are taking care of yourself too! Mama’s try to ensure you are eating a healthy- balanced diet, such as is offered with the Canadian Food Guide. It is also important to ensure you are adequately hydrated. Drink plenty of water everyday, and even more on the hot days! Water intake does not equal increase milk, but it helps your body to run efficiently, and will aid in the process. So grab your favourite water bottle and set your goal for the day.
As always, if you have any questions or feel you need support on your breastfeeding journey, please feel free to reach out to your local Mama Coach. We are always happy to help.