Making More Milk
Nipple Shields. They definitely have their place, but can be overused. They can interfere with the stimulation to your nipple and prevent milk transfer. If possible, avoid using them.
Sleepy Baby. Babies can be so sleepy in the first weeks and nursing is incredibly relaxing to them, so many moms find that as soon as they put their baby to the breast, he’s asleep! This can result in incomplete and infrequent feedings.
If you find yourself putting mental check marks next to any of these factors, don’t worry. You are not doomed! Work to correct whatever issues might be at play and read on for my secret recipe for increasing milk supply.
1. Start taking Floradix. Most moms will be blood deficient after giving birth and for a long time afterward, and this liquid iron supplement will work quickly to build blood. We recommend 20mL, twice a day with food. This blend is also chock full of B vitamins so you should see your energy levels increase and your mood improve. Bonus!
2. Make congee and eat a bowl of it for breakfast everyday. This will help to improve your spleen function and digestion, speed your metabolism, and flush your body. Be sure to add some butter or flax oil to it every time. I also like mine with maple syrup.
3. Motherlove’s More Milk Plus. Take the tincture or the capsules as directed...you can find it on Amazon or at Whole Foods/Central Market.
4. Nursing. Do it, a lot. For very new babies who are sleepy and not demanding frequent feedings, try to nurse at least every two to three hours during the day and every four hours at night. For moms who have been supplementing with formula, but want to phase it out to nurse exclusively (or even just more frequently), nurse your baby at every feeding and offer both breasts each time. Nurse on demand. It will be helpful to anticipate her hunger so that baby is interested, but calm when you begin the feeding. Breastfeed for as long as the baby is actively nursing, and if she is still hungry after a good suckling on both sides, offer her a bottle only after nursing.
5. Pumping. Pump once in the morning and once at night, separate from a nursing session; meaning, not right before or right after you nurse. Maybe an hour or two after you nurse would be good. This might be the last thing you want to do, but it will really help to try and get ahead a little bit. The bonus is, if baby is still hungry after nursing, you can use this milk for the bottles you offer her after a feeding at the breast.
6. Eating and Drinking. Make sure you are doing plenty of both. Don’t flood yourself (contrary to popular belief, drinking gallons of water does not make more milk), but be sure you are getting at least 64 ounces a day and drinking to your own thirst. Avoid caffeine and get lots of healthy, satisfying foods. Order in or have someone else cook if you can. Take your prenatals.
Essentially, what needs to happen is that you commit to four or five days of working on this. Clear your schedule, hide your to-do list, and take a little breastfeeding vacation. Take your baby, a snack, a bottle of water, and some toys and books into your bed and stay there, all day if possible. Do pretty much nothing but eat, drink, rest, and nurse. If your baby doesn’t sleep well, get someone else to take care of the baby so that you can conk out for a few hours (beg or pay someone if you have to!). At night during this time, have your partner get up when the baby needs to be changed and, if you are not sleep sharing, bring the baby to you to nurse. The focus here is to restore your body’s energy and to allow it focus as much of that energy as possible on making more milk. (This is also good advice to follow for the first week after giving birth, and anytime a nursing momma is sick!)
It might be a tough week. You will probably be tired, frustrated, and emotional...this is all normal and will pass when you start to see some improvements. It is hard, but you can do it! And the benefits for you and your baby are totally worth the work. For most women, following these steps can get the milk flowing but if you have questions or need additional support, give us a call to talk about options for Chinese herbs as well.
Happy (more) milk making!