Every breastfeeding mom knows this struggle – how do I increase milk supply to keep up with my growing child?
In January, after a week of Christmas vacation, my milk supply dropped. I wasn’t able to keep up with what Rion was using at day care. I thought maybe I was getting sick, but after the second week of a low output from the pump, I knew I had to make some changes to increase milk supply again.
Milk supply can dip for any number of reasons – mine dipped when I went on vacation and lacked consistency in my feeding and pumping schedule. The good news is you can get your milk supply back with these four easy tips in just a few days.
How To Increase Your Milk Supply In Four Simple Steps FAST!
Make sure you are drinking the recommended amount of water! You want to make sure you are staying hydrated. Hydration is a key point for you to maintain and increase milk supply. You can increase your water intake if you choose, but research has shown that as long as you’re keeping up with your thirst you will be able to keep your milk supply.
I use a big water mug with a straw and fill it three times a day. For me, drinking cold water is much easier than drinking room temperature water. I find being able to move my water around with a lid helps me drink more because I can have it handy and not spill it. Or, in reality, when a spill does occur it only has one exit point. The straw is because my hands are always full!
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet has shown to help breastfeeding mothers. For me, my sweet spot for calorie intake was 2000. I needed to add in a few extra snacks throughout my day to keep up with my supply.
For snacks, I added in more fruits and veggies to increase my milk supply. I found that breads (like those pesky bagels that work always buys) did nothing for me where fruit did the most. Besides, don’t we all need to snack healthier anyway? Carrots are another great addition to your diet for increasing and maintaining your milk supply.
Add in more delicious leafy greens. Iron is great for milk supply – studies show your milk supply can be lower if you’re low on iron!
Some more foods that are excellent for increasing and maintaining milk supply are: Salmon (DHA!), Almonds, Cashews, Chickpeas, and Black Beans.
Oats are a great source of iron and, as mentioned previously, studies show when you’re low on iron your milk supply can be lower. When I didn’t eat oatmeal, I noticed a difference in my supply. I had to keep it up! Without oatmeal, my morning 8 ounces would be 5 ounces. Every ounce counts when you’re pumping, so you want to make sure you are consistent and stay with your routine. To make oatmeal less boring, add strawberries, blueberries, and a little cinnamon.
A great way to get in oatmeal is in a cookie! Okay, sure, I just told you to eat healthy, but cookies! I used this recipe, without the chocolate chunks. See, I can be “healthy.” I froze the dough as directed and it worked great. I preferred to eat my oatmeal in the morning with berries, but having a cookie once in awhile isn’t the worst.
I cannot stress consistency enough.
If you are not consistent with your pumping and nursing, your milk supply will fluctuate. If you are a pumping mama like me, stick to your pumping schedule while you take some time off.
When we went on our Christmas vacation, I assumed because I was with my son I wouldn’t need my pump. I was wrong. I needed to be on the pump to keep up with the amount my son was eating without me there.
Another pumping trick to increase supply is to keep pumping even when you think you’re done and flow has stopped. Add 2-5 minutes of time on the pump to increase your milk. This helped tremendously in getting my supply back on track!
I may not have nursed him as much as usual either because we were busy. At home, I’d just nurse as we felt. While on vacation visiting family, it felt more scheduled which isn’t like us and not good for a great nursing relationship.
We were able to go back to nursing on demand when we were made it home. When I went back to work following vacation, I got back on my pump as consistently as I was before. I did my very best to stick to the same times every day while pumping at work.
I personally have not used any supplements, such as Blessed Thistle, Mother’s Milk Tea, or Fenugreek. I decided to look into taking them in January, but ultimately opted against it once I read our local milk bank would not take breastmilk if a supplement was used. If you’re planning to eventually donate your stash, please look into local requirements by milk banks and hospitals before taking a supplement.
What have you done to increase milk supply?