Am I making enough milk? What products and foods can I use to increase my milk supply? Those are the constant questions I had in my mind those first few weeks after my little one was born.
[If you have any concern about whether your baby is getting enough milk, please see your doctor.]
Maybe your little one is a bit sleepy like mine. Or, maybe you just aren’t getting the hang of this latching thing (has your little one been checked for a tongue tie? My boy had one, and it made breastfeeding very difficult.)
If your little one is a little sleepy or not so good at latching, you might need some help keeping up your milk supply, like I did.
Some things I looked at to keep my milk supply were:
1. Nursing Teas and Tinctures
Nursing teas and drops are extremely popular to boost your milk supply.
These are the ones I looked at when I was deciding how I was going to increase my supply:
One of my friends had a great experience with the Mother’s Milk Tea, she really saw a difference once she started taking it. But… I read too many reviews on Amazon about it having a strong liquorice taste, which I can’t stand! So, I ended up skipping the tea and moving right along to lactation cookies. Mmm, cookies.
2. Galactagogues (Foods/Herbs that Increase Milk Production)
These are foods, herbs, and drinks said to increase your milk production. While most have been historically used as ‘home remedies’, there’s some argument as to whether they actually work or not.
It’s up to you – there’s anecdotal evidence that these things work!
- Brewer’s Yeast – this is the most common supplement in smoothies and lactation cookies, but it’s a bit hard to find at the store. The easiest place to get it for the best price is on Amazon, click here to check it out.
- Fenugreek – If you don’t want to buy a specialty tea, you can always make your own out of Fenugreek seeds. Or, you can get Fenugreek in tablet form here on Amazon.
- Oatmeal – Does oatmeal really increase your milk supply? Apparently it does. I ate a fair amount of oatmeal and I definitely had a lot of milk to spare. You can’t go wrong with oatmeal. Especially overnight oats! Increasing your milk supply by eating something delicious is a win in my book!
- Carrots and Hummus – carrots and hummus are a delicious snack together. Eating them is also said to increase your milk supply plus the hummus keeps you full for longer (ok, you’re breastfeeding, probably more like 30 minutes).
- Lactation Cookies – Yum! Cookies. Lactation cookies usually contain one or even more ingredients that are said to increase your milk supply, like oatmeal, or fenugreek.
- Lactation Smoothies – smoothies are a really fast and easy way to get your nutrients in (and they taste delicious too). They whip up super quick if you have a high-powered blender like this one.
- Other galactagogues – dark leafy greens, fennel, garlic (some put this on the ‘banned’ breastfeeding food list because it gets associated with gas/colic in babies), chickpeas, almonds, ginger, papaya, beer, anise seeds, cumin seeds, and turmeric.
My favorite were oatmeal cookies… delicious! Make sure you make a few and keep them handy at your breastfeeding station.
3. Power Pumping
Breastfeeding works on demand and supply. So, one way to increase your milk supply is by increasing the demand. You can do this by putting baby to the breast more frequently (you might be told by your doctor or lactation consultant to schedule baby’s feeds to every 2-hours). Or… you can power pump.
(using a double pump)
- Pump for 20 minutes
- Rest for 10 minutes
- Pump for 10 minutes
- Rest for 10 minutes
- Pump for 10 minutes
The kind of pumping I was told to do went like this (the purpose of it was not to get milk out, but simulate additional demand):
- Pump on one side for 5 minutes.
- Pump on the other for 5 minutes.
- Repeat 3 times.
4. Hot Showers
Were you told to avoid spraying hot water from the shower directly onto your breasts after your baby was born? This is because the heat stimulates blood flow and your letdown reflex.
Add this to your milk boosting hacks repertoire.
5. Drink Lots of Water
Your body makes milk out of water, so it stands to reason that if you want to make more milk… drink more water.
When you’re breastfeeding, you’ll probably be feeling pretty thirsty anyway. Go with it. Make sure you always have a nice big water bottle (like this one – I love glass because its BPA free and you can see how much water you’re drinking and keep track) close at hand and take regular sips throughout the day.
6. Feed Baby As Frequently As Possible
Don’t worry about trying to get baby on a schedule just now. Feed your baby as often as you can from the breast. Just hang out skin to skin!
Is Your Baby Getting Enough Milk?
I started this post with this, but it’s worth repeating:
If you have any concern about whether your baby is getting enough milk, please see your doctor or a lactation consultant immediately.