When I did my reader survey at the end of the year, one of the topics I got the biggest request for was breastfeeding. Well, you’re in luck, because I’m happy to talk all things boobs and motherhood!
The other day, my sister-in-law texted me saying she thought my nephew was going through a growth spurt and wanted to ask what I did to increase my own supply whenever I experienced this with Adeline. I rambled off a list of things I could remember, and then realized WOW it’s been a minute since I’ve even thought about breastfeeding! Mommy amnesia is real!
I then realized it would probably make an excellent blog post! So, here we are. I thought I’d share my list of ideas for increasing your supply. I’ve previously blogged pretty openly about my nursing experience, and if you remember then you know we nursed for about 10.5 months, then began supplementing with formula, then called it quits for good right around the 1 year mark. It was a journey, that’s for sure!
*2019 Edit – this post is reflective of my first experience nursing. Now that I’m nursing my second baby though, most of this still holds true. If you have any questions about my breastfeeding experiences, feel free to reach out!
Breastfeeding: Tips For Increasing Your Milk Supply
- Add an extra pumping, or two – I always found that I could increase my supply if I added an extra pumping session once or twice a day. As big of a pain as it was, it seemed to help. In the early days when I was exclusively nursing and I hadn’t gone back to work yet, I would sometimes pump AFTER a feeding, even if for just a few minutes. It all goes back to supply and demand, folks!
- Think positive thoughts and surround yourself with lots of pictures – When I went back to work, my office was practically a shrine to Adeline. I had photos everywhere, and I mean everywhere, so that every time I sat down to pump I could easily focus on her sweet face. There’s a strong emotional connection between mom and baby when pumping. And even just thinking about your baby, listening to a recording, watching a video, etc., can help your milk let down, and even help you produce more. On days when I was distracted, in a bad mood, or tried to work while I pumped, I always noticed I pumped less than usual.
- Lactation cookies – I made several batches of chocolate chip oatmeal lactation cookies, loaded with things like flax seed, brewers yeast, coconut oil, and old fashioned rolled oats. All of these ingredients are known to help with lactation.
- Eat oatmeal 1-2x/day – I ate old fashioned oatmeal every single morning for the entire time I nursed Adeline. Some days, I ate it twice a day if I felt like my supply was dropping. I kid you not, on the rare days that I skipped my morning oatmeal, I wouldn’t pump near as much that day. It never failed! I’m not sure what it is about oatmeal, but it’s definitely helpful to your supply! (Not the kind in a bag – I’m talking basic, oats that you can mix with water and butter and microwave on your own.)
- Hydrate like crazy – This is a no brainer, but hydrate hydrate hydrate! Again, on days when I wasn’t drinking enough, it was obvious that my supply would be lower and on the days when I was super hydrated, I saw an increase. I drank lots of water, BodyArmor, and pretty much anything except caffeine! (re: BodyArmor – it’s coconut water based, which is great for breastfeeding!)
- Fenugreek – Fenugreek is an herbal supplement known to help increase lactation. You can buy it on Amazon, or at health food stores, or even Walmart, where I would usually pick it up. You can take 2-3 capsules, 3 times a day. I mean, I loaded UP on Fenugreek when necessary. It definitely works! (Disclaimer: it may not work for everyone! And, it might make you smell like maple syrup!)
- Salads, Veggies, Fruits – Adam used to make me a delicious salad for dinner if I thought my supply was slipping, and I would always pump quite a bit more than usual the next morning on my first pump of the day! One time I even OVERFLOWED a bottle!! Seriously. Eating a healthy diet of fruits and veggies, and yummy greens will do wonders for your milk supply! At least for mine it did! Don’t forget to load up on healthy snacks too!
- Mammary PMG supplement from my chiropractor – This is a supplement that I took on a regular basis, as well as the other supplements I used as my prenatal and postnatal vitamin regimen. My chiropractor (aka my dad) sells the Standard Process line, and you can read more about this specific supplement HERE.
- Mother’s Milk Tea – Not gonna lie, this tea is kind of gross, but if you add a little honey, you’re good to go! I’m not 100% sold on the effectiveness of drinking this tea to improve lactation, but I think combined with everything else, it certainly doesn’t hurt! I used the Traditional Medicinal’s Organic Mother’s Milk Lactation Tea.
- Sleep more – This might sound like common sense, but if I had a terrible night’s sleep, I often had a hard time pumping enough. And when I was well rested and feeling good, I tended to pump normal or even more. Basically, take care of yourself, mama!
- Put that baby on your boob! – This one always frustrated me because as a working mom, it wasn’t that easy! But, when I came home at night, sometimes I would try nursing an extra time before bed. It wasn’t much, but I’d like to think that it helped tell my body to produce more.
- Remain calm, it’s probably just a phase – There’s are tons of things that can effect your milk supply, but don’t let one bad day get you down! Your body will come around, and things will regulate back to normal. Try and think about what might be the cause. Are you about to start your period? Have you been sick lately? Did the baby just start eating more solids than usual? Are you extra stressed at work? (Stress had a BIG effect on my milk supply while I was nursing!!)
Hopefully that helps some! Not every method works for every mom, but these were what worked for me.
Best of luck! You got this!
What tip would you add?
For even more helpful tips, check out Jenny’s tips over at Mom Loves Best!