Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Breastfeeding and having a low milk supply can be stressful for some of us and don’t worry – it is totally normal. I’m sharing my experience and 8 great tips that helped me in this journey of tears, pain, and stressful moments, but a BEAUTIFUL bond with my baby.
I did not read any book or consult with any professional about breastfeeding. To be honest, I did not read anything about pregnancy (my husband did mostly). I just love to see what this life experience brings me – and either way everyone's personal experience is different. I decided to just show up to this as a first time mom and roll with the ups and downs and obstacles - one major one being breastfeeding. I received so much advice, but nobody told me how painful and frustrating breastfeeding could be. Looking back, it would have helped me to read a post like this or talk to someone on these subjects beforehand. Breastfeeding was the most challenging transition into motherhood for me - at times making me want to throw in the towel and move directly to formula.
At the Hospital
My little girl latched on to me right away on my right side, almost immediately after delivery. I thought, “We’re good! This is SO easy”- man was I wrong. The real struggle and pain came when we got released from the hospital.
My first day was awful, especially at night. She was crying so hard, she latched, but I felt it was not enough or no milk at all coming out. I basically spent most of the night and day with my baby latched to my breast (that were producing little if any milk at all). She literally never unlatched. I was in tears because I did not know what else to do, and my nipples were in SO much pain. I was not only in tears because of the pain, I was in tears because I did not want my baby going hungry. (Side note: she was in and sometimes continues currently to have moments of cluster feeding. Cluster feeding is when the baby basically wants to eat every 30-45 minutes instead of just every 2-3 hours.)
With the frustration of not being able to breastfeed properly it seemed, I thought quite a few times about using formula, but deep down inside me I knew that wasn't the option I wanted for my newborn. I just wanted to feed my little baby girl, the real stuff, the 'liquid gold' as our doctor calls it.
The following tips helped me to produce milk after my third day. I was able to produce almost 4oz of milk from each breast each pump - like “WOW! Happy Dance”. Once I was able to persevere past the first couple days struggle and while using these useful tips, I have since had no problems with production, both for storage as well as keeping my baby full.
8 Tips to Increase your Breast Milk Supply
1. Patience, Patience, and don’t GIVE UP
This is the most important tip. You will need to LEARN to breastfeed with and for your baby; time & patience are your friends. Have the mindset that it might hurt for a few days, but it is SO worth it. Don't give up!
2. Latching on the Breast
Finding a proper technique that works for you is key. The technique that I used (and this will work differently for everyone) leaning forward, gently brush your nipple from your baby’s nose to her lip, quickly bringing your baby to your breast, directing your nipple towards the roof of her mouth. On occasion, I waited until she cried to make sure her mouth was open wide.
3. Hot Bath
OMG! This was a game changer. Open the hot water in your bath; wait until it starts steaming, run water onto your chest for a few minutes (of course not burning yourself, hehe). Do this first thing in the morning and before pumping. Once again, this was HUGE for initial milk production. If a warm shower isn't feasible, hot slightly damp rags on your upper chest will also help.
4. Food and Drinks to Increase Milk Supply
Consuming a healthy & balanced diet that contains galactagogues, oats, and flaxseeds will help to increase milk supply. All these ingredients can be found in lactation support products (cookies & drinks) which are formulated to improve breast milk production, and fortify your milk with additional vitamins and nutrients.
I discovered the lactation support drink called Milksta through Cater to Mom, a Postpartum Self-Care Subscription Box. Once I tried the Milksta Organic & Vegan Nursing Tea “Pink-a-boob”, I was impressed with how fast it did work. The tea contains moringa leaves, oat milk, dates, vegan probiotics and numerous other ingredients to support healthy milk flow. Not to mention, the delicious flavor and individual packets for on-the-go moms.
For my coffee drinking mommies, they have an Organic & Vegan Nursing Coffee which is formulated using 100% pure and natural herbal extracts. Not to mention, the nursing coffee is also gluten, dairy, egg, and nut free.
5. Gel Packs or Lanolin Cream
6. Drink a Plenty of Water
Keeping yourself hydrated is another key to producing good amounts of milk and also staying properly hydrated for your own health!
7. Nurse, Nurse, Nurse
The more your baby latches and pulls milk, the more milk your body will continue to produce. Supply and Demand :) Direct breastfeeding is better than pumping, but pumping will also get production flowing. Don’t forget to switch sides while breastfeeding to keep both breasts as equal as possible. You can also lightly massage your breast while breastfeeding which will help with milk release and increasing milk supply.
8. Pump, Pump, Pump
This will help not only with increasing your own milk supply, but also storing it so daddy can feed, helping mom when she is not around or needs some extra rest - Win-Win!
I try to pump 1-2 times per day for 20 minutes. I was lucky enough that my insurance covered the Medela- Pump in Style and it has worked great. If your insurance does not cover this model, you can purchase this breast pump for around $120 - $150 here. One of the features that I really like is the 2 sets of Breast Shield sizes. This model is not cordless, but I did buy the Medela bra hands free which helps out a ton.
These tips for increasing breast milk production have worked and continue to work for me, and you may find a few that get the job done for you as well. If you are still struggling with low supply and/or are experiencing other symptoms, consult with your doctor or lactation consultant.
Did you find these tips helpful? Which is your favorite breast pump? Make sure to share your feedback or questions in the comments below.
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