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It’s amazing to me how different parenting is with each child. Each pregnancy is different, each baby is different, and your body is also different every time. With my first child I had issues with over supply. I had “hyper lactation” and produced more milk than he needed. With my second, I had some struggles with both producing too much in the early days and then not making enough when I started dieting in an unhealthy way.
This time around (baby #3!) I never felt like I made nearly as much milk as I did with the others. I don’t know if it’s age (I’ve reached the big 3-0!) or if it’s just the way my body has responded to her. She is also my smallest baby so I’ve wondered if maybe she just drinks less so my body makes less? I felt like early on with her that I was making the perfect amount of milk. Not too much and not too little. We’ve been in-sync since she was born.
My body has also held onto my weight more than it did with the other two. I’ve never been the girl that loses weight while nursing, my body actually holds weight while I breastfeed and then I lose it when I wean. I believe it’s just God’s way of making sure I produce for my babies! Maybe I need that weight more this time around to keep my supply from dipping?
When she turned about 5 months old I started to notice that she would drink more from a bottle than I was pumping. She’d drink 7-8 oz and I’d only pump 5. I know babies tend to drink more out of a bottle than they get from mom and I know that pumping can’t empty me the same way my baby can. But still…it’s a scary feeling when you worry about how much you’re producing and start to wonder if your baby is getting enough!
Here are some tips I’ve been doing to increase my supply. Not only am I getting more when I pump now, but I also have that better peace of mind!
1. Water: Anytime you have just about any issue with anything…drinking more water will help. Staying hydrated is so important while nursing! I’m TERRIBLE at remembering to drink water. I will have a glass in front of me all day and just simply forget to sip it!
2. Watch Diet: The only time I saw a severe decrease in my supply while nursing was when I made poor choices in my attempts to lose the baby weight (you can read about that experience here). It’s important to eat enough calories! I have found a REALLY great way for me to lose weight while nursing and while being healthy and it actually has also helped me increase my supply. You can read about my weight loss experience here! Regardless of if you’re trying to lose weight or not while nursing, it’s important to make sure to have healthy food, vitamins, and enough calories!
3. Pumping: There are many things about pumping that can help increase supply:
- Make sure your pump is good quality! This is my third baby…and I noticed that when I would pump it didn’t seem to be emptying me as well as before. I did some research and after 3 years the motor of breast pumps starts to break down. Mine was 6 years old! I invested in a new pump and immediately saw a huge change! I didn’t get clogged ducts while pumping and I was able to get more milk quicker than I had been with my old pump!
- Pump for EVERY missed feeding. It always shocks me when nursing moms don’t know to do this! If you’re giving your baby a bottle, then you need to pump. Every time! It helps keep your supply going, and it replaces the milk they are drinking so you don’t run out of your stored supply either!
- I have always pumped for 10 minutes but when I noticed I was getting less milk than she was drinking from the bottle, I started pumping longer. My sister in law is a pro at pumping…she told me a trick where you turn off the pump and start it back again and it will get more milk out! I’ve read on many sites that most women pump for 15 min or more. This is another reason I love having a good quality pump! I have a hands free one so I’m able to multitask while pumping (I own the Medela Freestyle
and LOVE IT!)
- Another good way to increase supply with a pump is to add a pump session every day. If you do it at the same time each day then your body will naturally start to produce more milk for that “feeding.” Many friends of mine will have a nightly pump session before they go to bed. It allows them to go to sleep more comfortably and allows a great way to store up extra breast milk.
- Many people have recommend for me to try “power pumping.” To be honest, I loathe pumping. To even think about pumping that often makes me cringe! It’s something I’d only do as a last resort but basically you pump for 10 min then rest for 10 min then pump for 10 min over and over and over again for an hour. You do this routine a few hours of out the day! People swear by it!
4. Gaia Lactation Support: When my supply dipped from my poor diet my doctor recommended Gaia Lactation Support . I was able to find them at a local supplement store but now I just order them from Amazon. Whenever anyone asks me about tips for increasing supply, I always recommend these! They WORK. I keep a bottle on hand whenever I have a new baby so I’m prepared if I feel like I need them. When I first used them I noticed an increase in my supply within a couple of days. When I went to the store to purchase them I talked with the cashier and she said she had a woman who had completely stopped nursing her baby for 6 weeks who came in and bought them and was able to nurse again! How amazing is that?!
5. Lactation Cookies: It’s amazing how I’ve breastfeed three babies and am just now learning about the world of lactation cookies. I found a recipe for them and then altered it to make it “less bad for me.” With my efforts at a healthier lifestyle and handwork to lose the baby weight I didn’t want to start eating something that would counteract with my efforts! I eat a couple cookies each night and they are AWESOMELY yummy! If I miss a few days of eating them I can tell a dip and if I indulge in a couple extra I can also tell that my breasts feel much fuller the next morning.
Here’s the recipe:
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 12 oz bag choc chips
- 1 cup applesauce
- 4 TBL water
- 4 TBL Brewer’s Yeast
(be generous on the scoops!)
- 2 TBL flaxseed meal
- 1 tea vanilla extract
- 1 tea salt
- 1 tea cinnamon
- 1 tea baking soda
- 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350
- Mix flaxseed meal with water and set aside
- Beat well: applesauce and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat well.
- Stir in flaxseed, add vanilla to applesauce mix. Beat until blended.
- Stin in flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, brewer’s yeast and blend well
- Stir in oats and choc chips
Bake for 8-12 minutes! I have done them both as cookies and as bars and both ways turn out awesome!
I have truly loved nursing my children. While it isn’t always easy, it is always worth it! I hope these tips help other mamas who may be struggling with supply issues. Do you have a go-to trick for increasing supply? I’d love to hear it!