Many women believe their milk supply is too low when in reality it’s just fine. Your body grew and protected that perfect little bundle of joy safely in the womb for nine months, before going through labor and delivery—which is a strenuous, exciting, and miraculous event! Your body even allows you to feed and provide proper nourishment to your baby. Have confidence. Don’t underestimate your body’s abilities—the human body is incredible!
There are some women that do indeed have a problem with their milk supply being too low. Thankfully, there are so many different things available to help. Before any interventions (e.g. supplements, teas, medicine, etc.) are taken there are a couple of things pertaining to your lifestyle that you should evaluate.
Are you getting enough sleep? (Yes, I know—silly question for a new mom but hang with me here..) Even if you aren’t getting 8 straight hours of sleep at night, are you able to nap on and off throughout the day? If not, is there any chance you could make that happen? Sleep is vital to being at the top of your game—mentally and physically. If you aren’t getting enough sleep your body isn’t able to reboot and repair itself.
Don’t be afraid to ask for outside help. Do you have a family member or friend that you could have come over for an hour or so during the day to watch the baby so you could get a nap in? People love to help out but often they just don’t know how or what they should do---they will jump at the chance to help watch and spend time with the baby to give you a mini break. All you need to do is just ask! It takes a lot of courage to ask for help because you want to do it all—but ask! You will be so glad you did!
There is a reason why stress is considered one of the worst things for your overall health and well-being. It compromises your immune system’s ability to fight off illness and disease; causes your metabolism to slow down; makes you more succeptible to depression and anxiety, and can cause your breast milk supply to decrease. Yes, too much stress has been shown to effect breast milk production.
Things you can do to combat stress include deep breathing exercises, meditation, getting plenty of sleep, staying active—crossfit, yoga, kickboxing, Zumba, etc. Just find something that you enjoy and that keeps your body and/or brain active.
In addition to sleep and staying active you also want to be make sure you are getting proper nutrition and drinking enough water throughout the day. Make sure your diet is comprised of enough protein, fruits, and vegetables. Also, keeping small bags of trail mix, almonds, or grapes on-hand and snacking throughout the day would be great! Breastfeeding takes up a lot of energy and your body is needing the proper fuel to keep going.
Before taking any supplement make sure you talk with your medical doctor. Here are a few supplements that women have claimed helped to boost their breast milk production:
Fenugreek-an herb that has reportedly been used to boost breast milk production for centuries.
Brewer’s Yeast-contains many B vitamins that have been shown in some studies to increase your milk supply.
Mother’s Milk Tea-anise, fennel, and caraway are herbs that are used together to help support breast milk production. Brands such as Traditional Medicinals and Earth Mama Angel Baby carry their own versions of Mother’s Milk Tea.
Acupressure and acupuncture have been used successfully for over 2,000 years in ancient Chinese medicine to treat low breastmilk supply. Acupuncture is the insertion of super fine needless that cause energy blockages to be cleared and/or create a response from the body. In this case acupuncture supposedly stimulates an increase in prolactin which in turn results in an increase in breastmilk.
Acupressure involves pressing certain spots on the body that correlate to different internal organs and systems. It’s an external method that’s used to hopefully cause the release of more breastmilk.
Some people opt to get both acupressure and acupuncture down at the same time. It’s non-invasive, safe, and it has been used for centuries with great success.
Oatmeal is hearty, filling and for breastfeeding moms it seriously is the ‘breakfast of champions!’. Oatmeal is great to eat straight from the pot or use homemade granola on breakfast parfaits. As long as you are getting some oats in your diet, you are all good.
No, not your everyday Chocolate Chips Ahoy pre-packaged cookie. This is a special cookie for breastfeeding moms only. The recipe has passed down for generations. It’s simply known as the ‘lacation cookie’. Here is one version of the recipe here. Try it out and even if it doesn’t work you’ll have an absolutely delicious smelling house and tasty treats in the kitchen!
Bring on the garlic! Garlic is amazing and has been shown to have many health benefits—increasing your breastmilk supply is just one! But, if you aren’t a fan of garlic and don’t like the aftertaste, there are odorless, tasteless garlic pill capsules available at your local health food store. The pills are just as beneficial as actual garlic.
The Bottom Line
Take a step back and look at your day-to-day activities. Figure out if you are getting enough sleep. Are you eating nutritious food? Drinking enough water? Are you staying active? If you are doing great with all these components—then move on to taking supplements that have been shown to help breastmilk production—please remember to consult your medical doctor before taking anything.
Make sure to give it enough time to work. Don’t take something for a week and expect a miraculous increase your milk supply. Give it at least 30 days. Don’t forget about acupuncture and acupressure. They have been used successfully for centuries in women looking to increase their breastmilk supply.
Just remember that every woman’s body is different and may respond differently to different methods. You can do this!