Friday, August 7, 2009

Increasing Breast Milk Supply

I have responded to a number of blogs, message boards and in-person conversations over the past year with many new mommies nursing or pumping breast milk asking how can they increase their breast milk supply. While I am not a licensed lactation consultant or breast feeding specialist, I am one of these mommies who asked this very question as well and experienced this very situation pleading for help.

Based on my experience of nursing and pumping breast milk for 13 months with my daughter here are some tips that I used and were guided to consider. I must caveat that my daughter was nursed and fed breast milk in a bottle when I had to go back to work. We nursed mornings and evenings during the week and for all meals on the weekends. So, take my tips as you see fit.

+ If possible, get rest and don't stress (I know this is much easier said than done) Just know that getting worried that you are not pumping enough milk can also decrease your supply
+ Drink lots and lots of water
+ Eat healthy (I didn't always follow this, but tried)
+ Take warm showers
+ Don't wear under wire bras as they can block milk ducts
+ Try different feeding positions (e.g., cradle hold, football hold)
+ Try mother's milk herbal tea
+ Reach out to organizations such as La Leche League - http://www.llli.org/ - who you can speak with on the phone and attend local area meetings with other moms
+ Consider hiring a lactation consultant who can come to your home to help you one-on-one
+ Consult with your mom friends and even new moms through blogs and message boards who can commiserate with you and share there experiences

Additional tips for moms who are pumping milk as well:
+ Pump at the same time each day (or at least close in time)
+ Add an additional pumping session if you are able to
+ Pump on the weekends too, in addition to nursing

Being the crazy multi-tasker that I am I realized that when time was spent with Sarah in the high chair starting at age 6 months for dinner for about 20 minutes, this was a good time to hook on my "go-go" nursing bra and attach the pump parts. A really good look but I am definitely not going to be sharing pictures.

If you are really stressing and just not producing enough breast milk, and this does happen, it is okay to consider formula as a supplement to your breast milk. Your child will benefit well from a happy mommy.

The biggest tip I can offer to any mom nursing or pumping breast milk is to be good to yourself and know that you are doing the very best that you can for your baby. Just being concerned that you are not producing enough milk means you care to want to make more for your growing child. Consider my suggested tips, or not, and enjoy the amazing bonding experience you are creating with your child through nursing and offering breast milk.

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