How to guide on producing enough breast milk
Producing enough breast milk for those hungry babies who are growing at the speed of light can be very difficult for some women. This does not mean you are inadequate or not doing a good job – you are doing an amazing job raising, loving and bringing a little human into the world!
However, low breast milk supply can cause a lot of anxiety and stress for some women. There are many things you can do to help increase your breastmilk production, however it is important that you see a doctor or lactation consultant first to seek their professional advice and make sure there are no underlying serious causes first. If you are healthy, and it is just that your supply is running low – try the below tips:
- Eat more good fats such as avocadoes, nuts, coconut oil, cold pressed olive oil, full fat organic yoghurt (if you can tolerate dairy), sheeps/goats yoghurt, coconut yoghurt, flax/hemp seeds, nut milks etc. Breast milk is rich in good fats and protein, so it is very important to include good fats in your diet to make sure your baby gets the nutrients it needs. Eating a diet rich in good fats while you are lactating also signals to your body that it has enough nutrient dense food to produce sufficient breast milk.
- Drink plenty of filtered water - at least 2.5 – 3 litres per day. Breast milk is 88% water and you need to stay hydrated to keep producing it. Make coconut water a regular feature in your daily diet while breastfeeding – it is full of electrolytes and is very hydrating which will encourage breast milk production if you area dehydrated.
- Use fenugreek seeds or capsules to increase breast milk flow; compounds in fenugreek have been proven to stimulate lactation.
- Consume more alfalfa sprouts – you can add these to salads, or any food as a garnish or incorporate in a green smoothie. Alfalfa sprouts contain healthy phytoestrogens which may help encourage expression of breast milk.
- Eat more galactogogues (no they are not a droid from a star wars film haha). Galactogogues are compounds which are known to increase lactation in mammals, such as;
- Oats (if you are gluten free, opt for gluten free oats)
- Blessed thistle
- Goats rue
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Drink organic, herbal teas that are designed for lactation. One of our favourites at MN is the Yogi Tea Nursing support, and also Traditional Medicinals Organic Mothers Milk. They both have beautiful ingredients to encourage milk production and are made with organic ingredients.
- You can also make your own lactation biscuits. Lactation biscuits are full of galactogues, which will provide your body the nutrients it needs to produce more breast milk. If you are time poor, or don’t fancy making your own, Franjos’ Kitchen make a range of delicious and super healthy lactation biscuits and products. You can rest assured that all the ingredients in Franjos Kitchen are natural & incredibly healthy as they have been formulated by a naturopath.
Outside of dietary changes, you can also incorporate the following Lifestyle tips:
- Feed often & pump often – there is no magical cure that will help you produce more milk if you are not frequently feeding/pumping breastmilk. Milk production works on supply & demand so it is crucial that you empty your breastmilk regularly throughout the day.
- Make sure you use a pillow and are in a comfortable position when breastfeeding to ensure a comfortable latching position for your baby. Change the position until you find the best one for you and your bub.
- Utilise both breasts for feeding
- Massage your breasts for 5-10 minutes before each feed or pump
- Start massaging and pumping your breasts before you give birth to encourage lactation.
- Try to relax. I know this one will seem condescending especially when you have a newborn, and you may already be stressed about breastfeeding… but stress hormones will block other hormones which are crucial for milk production. Make sure you breastfeed in a quiet room where you feel relaxed and happy. Put some soothing music on, spray some lavender around the room and breathe slowly and deeply; try to enjoy the bonding experience with your bubba. While your baby naps, aim to do 10 minutes meditation/yin yoga/reading or whatever calms you down.
If you are unable to feed due to mastitis issues, we will address this in another article as part of a breastfeeding series.
Please also know that we are big advocates for doing what is best for you, your baby and your lifestyle so if formula feeding is your only option or you prefer to do that, then go ahead – at Mother Natural, we do not judge and simply want to help empower you to make healthier choices.
Laura & Roxanne