4 Best Natural Ways to Increase Breast Milk Production (4 Different Approaches to Increase Milk Supply)

Many mothers go through at least a period when they fear they are not producing enough milk. I know I did and was concerned my production was going down, particularly after I started working part time again and had to be away for longer periods of time.

One thing to be aware of is that our impression of how much milk we are producing isn’t always accurate. I could pump very little, but my daughter would have wet diapers all day, which means she was getting plenty of milk, and not at all the amount I thought I was producing by looking at the pumped bottles.

breastfeeding twinsIt is also common for babies to go through phases when they wake up a lot at night or won’t stop nursing. My daughter is 16 months old and eats plenty of solid foods before bed, and yet, we still have some nights and days when she will want to nurse all the time or be fussy, be it because she is teething,  hot or just generally uncomfortable.

Don’t assume that a fussy baby is always a hungry baby. Make sure the baby is gaining weight steadily and has wet diapers which are the signs that there is plenty of milk for the little one.

Now, we do sometimes have lower production or the baby’s appetite increases and we struggle to keep up, and in that case, there are a few things that can really help. Below are four different approaches to cover the most proven ways to increase breast milk supply. Using all four at once would be ideal, but if your lifestyle doesn’t permit it, at least being consistent with one of them should be helpful
Four best approaches to increase breast milk supply:

1 – Using food and nutrition to increase breast milk production:

Many foods are talked about as being lactogenic (improving lactation), but some have been used for centuries by mothers who testify to their effectiveness. They are:

Oatmeal: Good source of  iron among many other nutrients, and helps with let down.

Brewers Yeast: Great source of protein, iron and supports breasfeeding needs.

Carrots, Apricots, Spinach and most Green Leafy Vegetables: Which contains phytoestrogens which are believed to promote breast tissue health and lactation and are plant-based chemicals that have similar properties as estrogen.

Asparagus: Asparagus contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid which may stimulate prolactin (a major hormone involved in lactation) production and improve milk supply.

Protein, Calcium and Iron Rich Foods help fulfill the mother’s need for those nutrients which is essential for increased milk production.  Beans are good source of all three nutrients.

Mother’s Milk Tea and Lactation Cookies, either from a store or homemade.

Essential Fatty Acids should be a part of any breastfeeding mother because they are  a key component of breast milk and are essential for the production of the hormones that regulate milk production. Omega oils, coconut oil, cod liver oil and Salmon (in moderation because of the mercury in fish) are great sources of essential fatty acids.

– Drink LOTS of Water, Coconut Water and healthy liquids.

2 – Using Herbs to increase breast milk supply

Fenugreek or Blessed Thistle are some of the most known ones.
– Supplements such as Mother’s Love are also very popular.

3 – Helpful Activities to increase breast milk production:

– Take two or three days to breastfeed as much as possible all day (and as much as possible at night). It’s is a situation of supply and demand. Increase the demand, the supply will increase as well.

– Physical contact with the baby, hugging, skin to skin, smelling the baby, all help increase your milk supply, so carry, hug and kiss those little ones all day.

Switch breasts when it seems like the baby is done with one, back and forth until you are sure both are empty (or as close to it as possible, since breast never are really completely empty due to the continuous production of milk)

Rest (Ironic, I know, but being relaxed and rested helps with the milk let down and reduces stress hormones which diminish milk production)

Pump between feeding times. It will help increase production and provide you with stored milk for times of need.

4 – Avoid things that can decrease breast milk supply

Avoid breastfeeding from single breast at a time. It signals your brain that there is too much supply if one breast has a let down and is full and the baby doesn’t drink from it for hours. Pump and store that milk if necessary, but try to have the baby drink from both breasts and empty them if possible.
Stay away from Coffee, sugar, cigarettes and nasal decongestants. Check any medication with a doctor AND lactation consultant for safety and to ensure it won’t affect your milk supply.
Stay away from bottles and pacifiers if possible. Bottles can cause nipple confusion and because they provide a quicker flow of milk, the baby starts getting frustrated by the slower breast flow. Pacifiers soothe the baby’s need to suck without providing the baby any nutrition or emotional support and can also create nipple confusion, increase the incidence of ear infections.

Please, share with us if you have found other ways to help increase your breast milk production so we can all benefit from sharing ideas.

Author: Taty (Mom)

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