Choose A Lactation Counselor
Hospitals have lactation counselors that help moms get off to a good start. But I also recommend that women find a lactation counselor who they can see soon after coming home. The month before birth is the time to choose a lactation counselor and to check into health insurance coverage.
Most insurers cover lactation counseling, but you need to know who is in your network. Then, identify the counselor you want to work with and find out how to make an appointment.
Your ob-gyn can refer you to a lactation counselor, or you can use the online directory from the International Lactation Consultant Association. I advise my patients to choose consultants who are certified by the IBLCE . They have the most training.
With the spread of the coronavirus, you may not be able to see a lactation counselor in person. But they still may be able to give you advice over the phone or on a video call. When you research lactation counselors, you can call them and ask how they handle virtual visits.
How To Increase Your Milk Supply
Talk to your health care provider, pediatrician or lactation specialist as soon as possible if you are concerned that youre not producing enough milk, or if your babys weight gain is slower than expected. While not all cases of low milk supply are caused exclusively by demand issues, that may be the case for you.
From Colostrum To Coming To Volume
Most expecting moms I know expended a ton of energy preparing for their babys arrival. They prepped for labor, studied up on their birth options, and set up their babys nursery. But despite all their effort, one major challenge still tended to trip them up after baby arrived: Breastfeeding.
This is no surprise .
While pregnant, we hear endlessly about how natural and magical breastfeeding is. So, naturally, we tend to expect breastfeeding will proceed smoothly, without effort or planning on our part.
Struggling with breastfeeding, therefore, tends to be a shock. New moms are seldom told about common breastfeeding problems until they happen. This is unfortunate, because many problems can be headed off with some careful planning, giving you more time to relax and savor your first months with your baby.
We developed this guide, because we thought new moms-to-be ought to know what is coming down the pike, before they have a baby to nurse.
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Hormonal Or Endocrine Problems
Perhaps you have polycystic ovary syndrome , a low or high thyroid, diabetes, hypertension or hormonal problems that made it difficult for you to conceive. Any of these issues may also contribute to low milk supply because making milk relies on the hormonal signals being sent to the breasts. What can you do? In some cases, treatment of your health problem will help you to boost milk production, although supplementation may be needed. A visit to a breastfeeding clinic or lactation consultant can help you find an approach that will work with your specific condition.
Not Sure If You’re Making Enough Milk To Feed Your Baby Try These Tips To Maximize Your Breast Milk Production Naturally
Breastfeeding provides plenty of benefits for you and your baby. Breast milk meets all of your baby’s nutritional needs, provides antibodies to help defend against infection, and protects against allergies, asthma, and obesity. The act protects your baby from childhood cancerand reduces your risk of breast and ovarian cancerand breastfeeding can help you shed pregnancy weight more rapidly. It can also reduce stress and boost your mood.
But breastfeeding doesn’t always come easyand creating enough breast milk can be a problem. The most common causes of low supply are inadequate food and fluid intake, fatigue, high stress levels, and feeding the baby too infrequently or for only short periods of time.
Here are 7 tips to boost your breast milk supply.
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Drink Premama Lactation Support Mix
I made sure to drink Premama’s lactation supplement drink mix every day to boost milk supply. It provides natural lactation support because its formulated with fennel seed, fenugreek and blessed thistle to help boost milk production. It includes key lactation vitamins like folic acid, vitamin D3 and calcium for added breast milk nutrition. I really noticed a difference in my supply once I added Premama Lactation into my daily routine.
Foods That Reduce Breast Milk Supply
If you intend to increase your milk supply, then there are some foods that you may avoid since they are considered antilactogenic, that is, they may reduce breast milk supply. Some of the common foods believed to reduce breast milk are sage, parsley, peppermint, and chasteberry. Some antilactogenic beverages include alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
There is no conclusive evidence to prove that these food items are antilactogenic. The effects could vary in each mother, and you may have to proceed based on your observation of the babys feeding pattern. If you sense your baby is getting insufficient milk due to your consumption of a food item, stop eating it. If the breast milk supply continues to be low, speak to a lactation consultant.
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What Is Lactational Amenorrhea
Lactation amenorrhea means you arent menstruating due to lactation. When youre lactating, your body produces prolactin, the hormone that produces milk. Prolactin reduces the amount of luteinizing hormone in your body, which helps trigger the release of an egg during ovulation. If you arent producing enough LH, you cant ovulate or get your period. The length of time you can be amenorrheic due to lactation varies from a few months or until youre completely done lactating.
Milk Changes After Birth
At birth, the sudden decrease in progesterone and estrogen levels that occurs with the birth of the placenta causes colostrum production to kick into high gear and signals your milk to come in. Once your baby is born, the amount of time you produce colostrum is limited, since your mature milk will begin to come in within a few days.
How Do I Know If My Milk Supply Is Low
Most mothers produce enough milk to feed their babies. However, underlying health conditions and lifestyle choices may contribute to lower breastmilk production. Keep in mind that your baby will go through growth spurts when it may seem like your supply decreases, but your child is actually drinking more milk.
Signs that your baby isnât getting enough milk include:
Growth. Your baby may lose more than 10% of their weight following birth. Alternately, they may not gain enough weight over time, indicating that you have a lower milk production than they need.
Diapers. Not producing enough wet and dirty diapers each day is a sign that your baby isnât getting enough to eat. By three days old, your baby should have at least six wet diapers and three dirty diapers each day.
Hunger. Your baby may still be fussy after nursing and shows signs of hunger, like sucking on hands. Usually when babies are hungry, they ball their hands up into fists. As they nurse and feel full, their hands relax. If your baby is still tense after nursing, they may be hungry.
Be Patient With Yourself
If youre not getting the results you want right away, dont be discouraged! Sticking to an established pumping and nursing routine, expressing often, communicating regularly with your doctor or a lactation consultant, and taking care of yourself are time-tested ways to increase your breast milk supply.
In the end, as long as baby is happy, healthy, and growing, you shouldnt be worried about your breast milk supply. Always consult with your babys doctor or a lactation consultant if youre concerned. Its okay , if you need a little bit of help on your breastfeeding journey!
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Let Baby Feed Fully On Each Side
Milk production is a demand-supply system so the more often baby feeds, the more milk production occurs. When your breast is “empty”, it sends a message to your brain to produce more milkmeaning it’s probably never truly empty.
Aim to let baby feed for an average of 15 to 20 minutes per side so that they are sure to get all the foremilk and fatty hindmilk that comes after, which is ideal for their growth and development.
Increasing Your Milk Supply If You’re Breastfeeding
There are a few steps you can take to help boost your milk supply if you’re breastfeeding:
- Make sure your babys breastfeeding position and latch are correct .
- Allow your baby to drain the breast at each feeding .
- Feed your baby on demand . Don’t stick to a rigid schedule with long intervals between feedings.
- If your baby is a sleepy feeder who drifts off at the breast, switch back and forth between breasts during feedings to make sure each one gets adequate suckling time.
- You already know that never putting baby down to sleep on his stomach is one of the sleep safety basics for babies, but if you are a stomach sleeper yourself, you may need to adjust your positioning in bed. Putting too much weight on your chest at night can slow milk production.
- Avoid supplementing with formula unless your doctor deems it necessary for your baby to gain weight, and limit pacifier use.
- Consider pumping sessions between feedings, if you’re not too exhausted, which can help increase milk production. Reward yourself by doing something fun while pumping instead of just watching the drips: Listen to a podcast, watch your favorite show or read a juicy novel to help the time fly by.
- Try “power pumping,” which boosts your milk supply by mimicking cluster feeding. Pump off and on for about an hour a day . It may take up to a week to see results.
- Get rest and eat well. An exhausted, underfed mom is not an efficient milk machine .
- Stay well-hydrated.
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How Much Milk Should I Be Producing
If youre exclusively breastfeeding and baby is on target for healthy weight gain, your milk supply is likely a-okay, and theres no need to increase breast milk productioneven if baby seems famished or fussy. To maintain a good milk supply, most moms just need to breastfeed whenever baby is hungry, and your body will naturally take care of the rest.
Breast milk supply is hormonally driven in the first few days following delivery, says Stephanie Nguyen, RN, IBCLC, a board-certified lactation consultant and founder of Modern Milk, a breastfeeding clinic and prenatal-postnatal education center in Scottsdale, Arizona. When you breastfeed, the nerves in your breasts alert your brain to release prolactin, the hormone behind breast milk production.
While hormones are what initially spark milk production, supply-and-demand soon kicks into gear: Basically, the more you nurse, the more milk your body produces to keep up with babys needs. Seems pretty straightforward, right? But as any new mom can attest, thats not always the case.
Foods That Increase Supply
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Learn The Main Breastfeeding Positions
We here stories like this from Nourisher moms all of the time!
Minutes after my son was born a nurse hovered over me watching me try and latch him on for the first time. I knew what to look for in a latch, but unsurprisingly, he didnt get it right away. Maybe try him in the football hold, she recommended.
Panic set in. The football hold? I had no idea what she was talking about! How could I already be bad at this, it had only been ten minutes? I mumbled something incoherent before she gracefully lifted him up and placed his body under my arm with his head in my palm. Baby latched and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Case in point, study the various breastfeeding positions so that you know the different ways to hold your baby right from the start.
What Triggers Lactation
A series of hormonal events, which begin when youre pregnant, trigger the lactation process. That process is called lactogenesis.
Stage one lactogenesis: This begins around the 16th week of pregnancy and lasts until a few days after you give birth.
- Estrogen and progesterone rise and cause your milk ducts to grow in number and size. This causes your breasts to become fuller. Your mammary glands begin to prepare for milk production.
- Your nipples darken and your areolas become larger.
- Your Montgomery glands secrete oil to lubricate your nipple.
- Your body begins making colostrum. Its highly nutritious and filling and serves as your babys first milk.
Stage two lactogenesis: This stage starts about two or three days postpartum . Its when milk production intensifies.
- Once your baby and placenta are delivered, a sudden drop in your estrogen and progesterone causes the hormone prolactin to take over.
- Prolactin is the hormone that produces milk.
- Youll notice your milk production increases dramatically at this stage. Its often referred to as milk coming in.
- Your breasts are often engorged to the point where they feel sore, painful or tender.
Stage three lactogenesis: This describes the rest of the time you lactate.
- Lactation generally continues as long as milk is removed from your breast.
- The more milk thats removed, the more milk your body makes to replace it. Frequent feeding or pumping will cause your body to make more milk.
Hormones for lactation
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What Is Normal For Mum
Although breastfeeding is different for every woman, the following do not mean that you have a low supply:
- your breasts suddenly seem softer this is normal as your milk supply adjusts to your baby’s needs
- your breasts do not leak milk, stop leaking or only leak a little
- you dont feel a ‘let-down‘ when milk pushes out of the breast
- you are unable to pump very much with an electric pump remember the baby is much more efficient and will always get more than a pump
- how much you pump decreases over time
Foods To Increase Milk Supply
Wondering if you can eat certain foods to increase milk supply? Actually, its possible! There are several foods that have been said to help get your milk flowing. And of course, these foods can be used in addition to other ways to increase milk supply, like pumping and taking supplements. Here are some of the best foods to increase milk supply:
Oatmeal. You cant go wrong with oatmeal, since its both delicious and filling. Quick oats, regular oats, steel-cut oatsoatmeal in all forms is said to increase milk supply, OConnor says. People of some cultures even blend oats with water, then strain the oats from the water and use the remaining milky water as a supply-boosting drink.
Brewers yeast. Typically sold in powdered form and admittedly not the tastiest ingredient on the planet, brewers yeast is most often used to make beer and wine. However, it has been considered effective at increasing milk supply, and is often one of the main ingredients in those super-popular lactation cookies. Its packed with iron, protein and B vitamins and is generally considered safe to consume.
Flaxseed. Thanks to their omega content, flax seeds are among the best ways to increase milk supply. Page recommends the lactation treat Milkin Cookies, which pack a powerful milk-production punch with flaxseeds, oatmeal and brewers yeast.
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When Milk Production Is Delayed Or Not Enough
You may have a delay in the time when your milk comes in after the birth of a high-risk baby. Also, it is not unusual to have a drop in the amount being pumped after several weeks. A drop may be gradual or it may occur suddenly.
Don’t wait to get help if milk production is ever a concern. The sooner you intervene, the better. Ask a certified lactation consultant, your baby’s nurse, healthcare provider, or a breastfeeding support leader to help you figure out what might be affecting milk production if:
You are not making a daily total of at least 16 ounces of milk by 7 to 10 days after birth.
You begin obtaining less and less milk each day for 3 or 4 days in a row.
The daily total dips below 12 or 13 ounces for more than 2 or 3 days in a row.