As a mom, we always want the best for our babies, which includes providing adequate supply of breast milk. But what do you do when your breast is not producing enough milk? What if there’s hardly anything coming out at all? This can be devastating for mothers. I should know; I’ve been there. My baby was not getting enough milk to the point that he lost a lot of weight in his first week. I know it’s normal for babies to lose weight in their first month, but he lost far more than what was normal. I broke down a couple of times and thought I might go through postpartum depression because of this. I of course considered supplemental formula feeding if my milk supply did not improve.
Luckily, there are tons of mothers out there who have been through the same and who willingly shared what they did to help improve their milk supply. I’m sharing with you the top 7 methods to increase your milk supply which has worked for me and several other women I know personally.
Improve Breastmilk Supply: What Worked For Me
1. Set a breastfeeding schedule.
I started with breastfeeding every two hours. If my baby is too sleepy to suck or releases my nipple immediately, I pump. Even when there’s very little coming out, I still continue to pump from 15 to 30 minutes. This signals my body that I need to produce milk every two hours. It also “tells” my body that the baby needs more milk. When I started with this, I was only able to get less than an ounce of milk after pumping for 30 minutes. After a couple of days though, I saw some improvement. The key here is more frequent feedings. If your baby wants to feed more than what you’ve scheduled, all the better! You don’t need to be too strict like you’ll breastfeed your baby only when it falls on schedule; don’t be like that! The reason for scheduling is to reinforce the “supply-and-demand” sort of production for lactation.
2. Use smaller bottles when pumping.
Instead of the usual big bottles, I used smaller collecting bottles, making me feel like I’m producing more milk. If you use a big-ass bottle, it would seem like you’re not getting anywhere! The psychological effect of seeing “more” milk in smaller bottles helps in lactation. It’s all in the mind! So yeah, it made me feel so much better upon seeing filled small bottles, allowing me to forget my frustrations, which is necessary for actually producing more milk.
3. Learn how to massage your breast.
Just like when your baby sucks on your nipple, breast massage also stimulates milk production. Don’t pinch and massage your breast till it hurts though; there is a proper way to stimulate your breast without hurting yourself. Check this video out for instruction.
4. Drink supplements.
The following supplements help increase milk production, however, try it one at a time. You should see the effects of a supplement after taking it for at least two weeks. To some, the effects are noticeable in as little as 24 hours. To others, it takes two weeks. So be patient and continue taking it until you see some improvement. I’ve listed the top 3 that worked for me and several other nursing mothers:
- Fenugreek – Recommended intake is 2 capsules, three times a day (or after every meal). Here’s an example:
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- Blessed Thistle. This is best combined with Fenugreek. Sometimes, Fenugreek alone doesn’t work, but combine it with Blessed Thistle and you’ll notice awesome results. Take two capsules after every meal, three times a day. Here’s an example:
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- Moringa Oleifera (Malunggay) – It’s the number one go-to milk boosting herb that Asians have been using for centuries. Many people have actually tried just this one vegetable and saw a boost in their milk supply (including myself!). I recommend taking 3 capsules after every meal (3 times a day). It’s also a superfood so I felt energized after taking it. Here’s an example:
5. Take a Nursing Vacation.
Take your baby to bed with you for three whole days. Both of you will just stay in bed, and you’ll nurse him when he’s hungry or when it’s time to do so (whichever goes first). The only time you’ll get up is when you need to eat, take a bathroom break or a short shower. Take this opportunity to rest (I’m sure you’re feeling worn out). You can use this time to catch up on a series or Netflix. You can read a novel if that’s what you’re into. Make sure you prepare food beforehand because a Nursing Vacation also means you don’t do any chores. Let me emphasize: no chores, not a single one! It would be best to enlist help from your partner, or your family and friends if you have other kids.
Some say eat healthy; yeah that too. But really, my advice is to just eat normally. When you’re too tired, you want to just lie down and sleep, and forget about the hunger pangs. But where would you get the energy to produce breast milk when you don’t even have the energy for normal bodily functions? Eating normally for breastfeeding mothers means three full meals a day and two to four snacks in between. Grab a sandwich, eat some soup, take a bite out of that cookie. Just EAT. If you need motivation to eat, check our these yummy foods recommended for breastfeeding mothers.
7. Drink Water.
Oh yes, you’ll be surprised by how many moms actually neglect drinking water. The minute your baby’s lips touches your nipple, you will surely feel thirsty. It’s your brain signaling you to drink water in order to re-hydrate. According to studies, 3 in every 4 Americans are chronically dehydrated. If you’re one of them, it’ll be harder for your body to supply milk when it’s trying to keep itself hydrated at the same time. You don’t need to drink several gallons a day; a minimum of 8 glasses a day would do. What I do is I take a glass of water every time my little one wants to nurse; it’s a good enough measure for me.
These methods are best done in combination with each other. If you can do all of them, that’s even better! Also, make sure that your correct your baby’s latch since improper latching can also cause a slowing down of milk let-down. Breastfeeding is a tough journey, but one that is rewarding both for you and your baby. With the right mindset, you’ll be on your way to producing enough (or even more) breast milk for your baby.
What other methods have you tried to improve your milk supply? Comment below!