Increase Milk Production
( Before you read this post, Please KNOW and UNDERSTAND there ARE pictures of my baby breast feeding. If skin offends you, then please move onto another post. Thank You )
Low milk volume is tough on us moms who are giving breast milk to our babies. It takes a huge toll on us mentally and emotionally, then physically. I am one of the few true cases of medical conditions that makes it very hard to produce milk. I have been helping moms for years in private with their breast milk journey. Today, I am going public! That is scary for me, just a little. I have never shared any photos of me nursing my children before. However since I am not ashamed to give breast milk to my kids and I always tell others to not be as well. I need to lead by example!
I want to tell you what I do to increase my milk production, or shall I say make enough for my child to be able to survive on my breast milk alone and not give formula. This is NOT a formula hate post, it isn’t. I have used formula, many… many times.
We all know that milk production is always based on a demand. But what happens when that demand is more than what your body can physically do? I don’t mean the issues with mental illness that puts us in a position of not being able to breastfeed, I will be talking about that in another post. I am talking about when a mom has a medical condition that prevents or limits milk production.
For me, 4 of my children demanded more than what my body made. The one child that didn’t demand more, he has appetite issues since infancy, he is now 11 years old and still has appetite issues. So I don’t want you to think that that one time I was able to produce enough, because of his condition, I can’t make that judgement call. He nursed every 6 hours.
So, what is my problem? I have hormonal issues, not the typical PMS or similar, I have hormonal imbalance, as in my pituitary gland doesn’t work correctly. I am only 4 feet 9 inches because of it. I also do not have enough glandular tissue and mammary glands. These two things are so hard to deal with! Not only does my body struggle to even make the right hormones and at the levels needed to make milk…. I don’t even have enough storage for it. For each of my children I have had to feed more often, picture cluster feeding, almost non stop. This cluster feeding other moms go through, but only when baby is going through a growth spurt is actually something I go through just about every single day. It takes a huge toll on my emotionally, physically and mentally too. Many have said to me, just don’t nurse or pump and give formula, I will also talk about my Why I don’t do that in another post.
Now what I am about to share with you is what I do, but some of it is more extreme than what you may need, I am a rare case. Please before you try any of these, consult with both your doctor and your child’s doctor to ensure there will not be any medical conflicts. If your baby is a preemie and or in the NICU, make sure you consult with them first. Though many babies and moms have no issues with anything I am sharing, there are some that do! I do not want you taking chances, so always please talk with the doctor first. Always do your own research and use common sense and listen to your instinct too.
How I make enough milk for babies survival, without formula supplements.
- Put baby to drink milk straight from the source. Every 2 hours nothing any longer, if you’re trying to increase milk.
- I make lactation smoothies. These taste great, they are healthy for both you and baby, they are quick to make too. I drink one lactation smoothie a day. Mine consists of Shakeology, oatmeal ( I use quick one minute kind), flax seeds, chia seeds, fennel seeds, hemp seeds and brewers yeast. For the liquid, it depends on my mood, I use one of these, mothers milk tea, milk, almond milk, water or I use juiced veggies and fruits. Now I drink this every single morning, this is also my breakfast. I am just too busy and I don’t even have an appetite in the morning. If I don’t drink this smoothie, well, I don’t even get any type of nutrition in me until after 2pm, that’s horrible!
- I drink a gallon of water a day. This is important, you MUST drink water, daily. I know many moms tell me, “I do drink water, I drink tons of water”. Then I ask how much… yea that is a problem. No, coffee, juice, tea, soda etc., is not to be counted as your water intake. I share on my Tuned Up Body post how to increase water intake for those that hate water, or shall I say for those that despise water. I use Milk Flow,
- Nutrition! Oh my goodness, I can not stress this enough. You need to be eating, 4 – 6 small meals a day, and it doesn’t matter if you are not pregnant, not nursing, this is how we are supposed to get enough nutrition, keep our bloog sugars at good levels and more. Yup, I have a post about this too. Your nutritional intake depends on your body type, your age, height, lifestyle and if you are pregnant or nursing, or neither. For a nursing mom, we should be consuming 500 more calories each day. I will talk about in another post what happens to us medically when we don’t.
- Lactation snacks. These can help contribute to your extra 500 calories a day, yup great excuse to eat snacks right. Mine consist of quick minute oats, flax seeds, Greek yogurt, dried fruits, nuts, fennel seeds and almond butter, I will share the recipe I use to make my snack bars. There are also lactation cookies you can make too or buy them premade.
- Multi-vitamin. Ideally you want one that is formulated for post natal and if it also supports breast milk, even better. I use Milk multi-vitamin.
Ok, so those are the four main things you can do, right now to get started. If you still need or want more milk, so you want or need to pump milk for later on. Here are some other things you can do. These are a part of my daily intake, but I do need it, if I do not then I would have to supplement half the time with formula.
Mothers Milk Tea. I drink 3 cups a day. I begin drinking this one to two days before I had my c-sections. I did this with my 3rd, 4th and 5th children. It made a difference in how soon my milk transitioned from colostrum to mature milk. With my older two, it took almost 14 days! This doesn’t taste all that good, to me at least. However, I sweetened it with sugar, though others use honey or agave. I use just one teaspoon of sugar. This also helps baby relax and both of you with digestion as well.
More milk plus. Ok so now things get little serious. More Milk Plus has ingredients that hyper focus on milk production. It can take 3 -4 days to notice a difference, some get faster results. This also helps increase milk flow, so if you already have a good supply and milk ejection, just be prepared. I take 6 – 9 pills a day, but start off with 2 a day for at least a week.
Goats Rue. This is some serious stuff. This helps increase breast tissue and improves mammary glands. This is very important for me, as my condition is exactly that. I take 6 pills a day, but start with 1 – 2 pills for a week.
Fenugreek. This helps increase milk, it is a diuretic, do be careful. You take enough until you smell like maple syrup. I take 10 – 12 pills a day, but again start off with the lower amounts, take 2 – 3 pills as a starting point.
Blessed Thistle. This taken with Fenugreek as a duo combination works perfectly for most moms and they may not even need anything else. I take 4 pills a day.
Marshmallow Root. This is another item that helps milk production and supports it. I take 4 pills a day.
Reglan. I’ve taken this many times, you get it from the doctor.
Nursing vacation. I will talk more about this later.
So you see, there are many ways to increase milk and support it as well. It is a trial and error thing as far as what works for who and how much we may need to achieve what we are looking to do.
Always start at the lower doses, stay on it for 1 week. If you think you need more, increase by 1 pill giving a few days before increasing. After 1 month you can taper off them, it isn’t good to take them continuously. You want to give your body a nudge in milk production, not make it become dependent on outside sources. All of the items I have listed are safe for breastfeeding. They can give side affects such as gas, colic, diuretics and other things. Please read labels and consult the doctor.