Mun’s Note: This post was contributed by one of MunFitnessBlog.com readers. Kelly is a mother of 3 kids, aged 7, 5 and 2. In this post, she shares her experience in breastfeeding.
I know many breast feeding mothers worry about their decreasing milk supply. So, it is common to ask around trying to find out the ways to increase it. When mothers return to work, babies are breastfed less and therefore breasts milk are produced less. The easy way is to replace breast milk with formula but we all know that the best food for newborn baby is really the breast milk.
- The longer a baby nurses at breast, the higher the amount of milk will be produced. For new mum, the real challenge is to position the baby properly so that he or she is able to suckle comfortably. Be determined to breast feed. Do it as frequent as possible rather than on a set schedule. Allow your baby to determine how frequently he needs to drink. Even if the baby just wants it for comfort, do it as the breasts will see it as more demand and adjust their supply accordingly. Allow the feeding to last until the baby is really full.
- Do not stop a feeding prematurely as it can affect your body’s natural triggers to produce milk. In fact, the portion of breast milk your baby takes at the end of feeding contains healthy fat imperative to growth and weight gain.
- Offer both breasts at every feeding. But, do not simply swap them. Let the baby to stay at the first breast as long as he is actively sucking. Wait until the baby comes off the breast himself, then only switch to another side. Doing so will ensure the baby getting proper balance of foremilk and hindmilk. Foremilk is high in water contents, lactose and water-soluble vitamins and proteins whereas hindmilk is high in fat and best for weight gain, brain development and stooling.
- If you have to work, then use breast pump to express the milk. But, make sure you use a good pump and I strongly suggest Medela electric automatic pump. If you can afford, go for double pump. Do not get me wrong, actual nursing is always better than pumping because hormone Oxytocin, which does milk production, will be produced more with actual nursing over pumping.
- Unless you really do not have enough milk, otherwise, avoid giving formula to your baby. Try not to give pacifier to your baby too as it is better to let your baby spends enough time at the breast to stimulate your supply. Baby may satisfy his sucking urges elsewhere.
- Drink more fluid for proper hydration. It does not have to be milk. You can drink water or juice. Drink a glass of water for yourself while your baby is nursing. Drinking sufficient fluids will not make you to produce more milk, but it helps to replenish lost fluid.
- Take natural herbs which many mothers have positive feedback:
- Fenugreek, which normally comes in capsule format, is one of the good herbs help increasing milk supply. It does not have any side effects other than causing your milk to have a maple syrup scent which is harmless. It comes in tea form.
- Milk Thistle is also a great supply enhancer.
- Other teas such as those in the brand name of Mother’s Milk.
- You will burn as much as 500 calories a day just on breastfeeding activities alone. Some women tend to go on restricted diets right after delivery trying to lose weight even when they are still bursing. Doing so makes them fatigues. Without the energy, they will not be able to produce much energy. So, nursing mums, please consume at least 1,800 calories per day. If you eat fewer than that, your supply will decrease.
- Breastfeeding mother should eat plenty of calcium which is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, meats, beans, milk and cheese. Foods like garlic or hot peppers may produce breast milk that upset babies’ stomachs. Eat oatmeal. Have a bowl for breakfast. Snack on oatmeal cookies. Some foods like beer may make your milk taste bitter. I will not be able to list down all of them, you just have to observe your baby and decide.
- Talking about beer, some people believe that nursing mothers should drink beer to stimulate milk production. The truth is that babies do not like alcoholic breast milk and drink less of it, resulting in less stimulation of the breast and affecting milk production.
- How about coffee? Yes, caffeine stimulates milk production, but it also stimulates your baby. What you drink will go into the milk. Caffeine finds its way into the breast milk. Baby will not be able to digest caffeine and it stays longer in baby’s body. It makes your baby irritable and will interfere with his sleep.
- Reduce your stress level. When you are nursing your baby, forget about your work. Do it in a quiet place without any distractions. Rest and relax.
- Massage your breasts frequently. Do it during shower, or whenever you are in the bathroom, or before your breastfeed the baby.
With little effort and determination, I hope that you will overcome any breastfeeding obstacles and give your child the best food he needs. The more your breastfeed, the more milk your body will produce.
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