If you're finding breastfeeding a challenge and struggling with a low milk supply, don't worry. There are natural solutions that can help increase your milk production. Here are ten tips to help boost your supply and make breastfeeding a little easier.
Nurse More Frequently and for Longer
One of the most effective ways to boost your milk supply is to increase how often and for how long you nurse your baby. When your baby demands frequent, effective breastfeeding, it tells your body that it needs to produce more milk. Try to feed your baby at least eight times in a 24-hour period, making sure to nurse both sides each time, and allow your baby to stay on the breast until they are finished eating or fall away on their own.
#1 Nursing Vacation
A nursing vacation, also known as a "pump-in weekend," is a period of time where a breastfeeding mother and baby spend at least 36 hours focusing on nothing but breastfeeding, cuddling, and relaxing together. It is not a break from breastfeeding but rather an opportunity for uninterrupted skin-to-skin time with the baby, which can help boost milk supply. This promotes the production of hormones such as oxytocin and prolactin and can also lead to better bonding and relaxation for both mother and baby.
#2 Comfort Feeding
Comfort nursing, also known as non-nutritive suckling, is the act of breastfeeding a baby for comfort and reassurance in addition to nutrition. Breastfeeding for comfort provides many benefits, such as improving attachment and bonding between parent and child, calming and reassuring the baby, improving mouth and jaw development, and preventing tooth decay. Also, comfort feeding can help increase milk supply by stimulating the release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps with milk letdown and by triggering the process of milk production in the mother's body.
Relax and Get Plenty of Rest
Stress is a known detractor from milk production, so managing your stress and taking on an overall healthy lifestyle is essential. Make sure you are getting enough rest. Making time for sleep helps increase your energy levels, boosting your milk supply. A regular schedule of naps throughout the day can also be very beneficial.
#3 Increase Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a hormone and neuropeptide released during lovemaking, birth, and breastfeeding. It plays a role in social bonding and reproduction and is responsible for the letdown reflex during breastfeeding. Oxytocin can be released through cuddling, skin-to-skin contact, massage, and even just thinking about one's baby. It has many benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, bonding, relieving pain, reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and strengthening the immune system. Artificial oxytocin, such as Pitocin, can be prescribed by a doctor and taken as a nasal spray to promote letdown and increase milk flow during breastfeeding.
#4 Spiced Chai Tea
Some ingredients in chai tea, such as fennel, anise, and caraway, have traditionally been used to help with lactation and increase milk supply. Drinking chai tea may also help with digestion and provide a relaxing effect.
Increase Fluids and Nutritious Foods
Being hydrated and well-nourished is one of the most important things you can do to increase your milk supply. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, including milk or lactation tea. Eat healthy sources of carbohydrates, such as whole grains and fruits, as well as proteins, like nuts and dairy. Also, consider adding foods high in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, as a mother's diet can significantly affect her milk supply.
#5 Top 10 Foods That Increase Milk Supply
Many foods can help to increase a breastfeeding mother's milk supply. Some top foods include oatmeal, moringa, barley, raw almonds, fennel, flaxseed, and fenugreek. These foods contain various nutrients and compounds that can promote lactation and milk production.
When a mother is dehydrated, her milk production can decrease, and she may experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and muscle weakness.
It is recommended that breastfeeding mothers drink an extra 1L (32 ounces) of water daily in addition to the general recommendation of 2-3L (67-100 ounces) for adults. This amount may need to be increased on hot or active days.
It is also important to note that electrolytes play a crucial role in milk production and maintaining the mother's and baby's overall health. Consuming electrolyte-rich beverages such as Body Armor or adding electrolytes to your water can also help to increase milk production.
#7 Coconut Water
Coconut water is a natural lactogenic food that can help increase milk production in breastfeeding mothers. It is a good source of electrolytes, including potassium, sodium, and magnesium, essential for maintaining hydration and supporting lactation. Coconut water is also a good source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body and help sustain milk production. Additionally, it is rich in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and support overall health and well-being. Coconut water is naturally low in fat and cholesterol and free from artificial additives and preservatives, making it a healthy and natural choice for lactating mothers.
Try Using a Breast Pump
Breast pumps are an effective, easy-to-use tool to help increase milk production.
#8 Power Pumping
Power pumping is a technique used by breastfeeding mothers with low milk supply. It involves mimicking a baby's frequent, sporadic feeding during a growth spurt by using a breast pump at regular intervals over a short period of time. This increased removal of milk stimulates the release of the hormone prolactin, which increases milk production. It is recommended to use power pumping in addition to regular breastfeeding and pumping schedules. Results may be seen within 48 hours or a week.
Stimulate Milk Production With Herbs
Many breastfeeding moms have reported success with several herbs and supplements to help stimulate milk production. Talk to your midwife or lactation consultant before starting any dietary supplement regimen that could affect your milk supply.
#9 Herbs and breastfeeding
Some herbs that increase milk supply include Fenugreek, Blessed thistle, Milk thistle, Fennel, Raspberry leaf, Goat's rue, Brewer's yeast, Marshmallow root, Anise seed, Alfalfa, Nettle tea, and Hops flowers.
#10 Herbal teas and breastfeeding
Herbal teas can be safe for breastfeeding mothers if they are caffeine-free and do not contain any herbs that may decrease milk supply or harm the baby. Sticking to no more than two or three cups per day is recommended. Some herbal teas for breastfeeding include ginger, linden flower, rosehip, and chai tea.