A lot of women struggle with not having enough milk or thinking that they don’t have enough milk. More often than not, the problem is simple and easily solvable.
The key to nursing is to know that breast milk is supplied on demand. Therefore the more your baby feeds, the more milk your body will make.
Here are some tips to help increase your supply so you and baby can both be happy whilst breastfeeding:
1. Don’t stick to a feeding routine
Feeding routines work for some Mothers but they are not a great thing to do if you are struggling with your milk supply. Try and feed your baby when he/she appears hungry or appears to want the breast. It is ok to offer and they don’t take it but if you are ever in doubt about wether they are hungry or not, give it a go. Don’t let your baby cry for a feed. Feed on demand as the more often they have, the more your breasts will produce.
2. Check your baby is latching on properly
A key to happy and pain free breastfeeding is to make sure that your child is latched on to your breast properly. Many new Mothers struggle with this without being shown how to do it by a professional. It can be frustrating for the baby and painful for the mother. You must make sure that your baby takes in as much of your areola (ring of pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) into their mouth as possible. Make sure your babies nose is nearly touching your breast (but not pushed up against it) and their lips are turned out when feeding. If it is done correctly, you should be able to clearly see and hear your baby swallowing.
3. Avoid bottles
A lot of Mums resort to giving their baby a bottle or topping up their feed with one because they are worried that the baby is not being given enough milk. If you give your child a bottle, they are not on your breast. If they are not on your breast, then your breasts are not being stimulated and therefore the milk supply won’t increase. Try to keep your child on your breast and off the bottles for as long as you can.
4. Follow your baby, not the clock
If your baby is taking a long time to feed, don’t worry! Feeding takes as long as it needs so don’t panic yourself by following the time on the clock. Follow your child and give them the time they need.
5. Eat a healthy, nutritious diet
It is really important for breastfeeding mothers to eat enough nutritious food to produce sufficient breastmilk. Breastfeeding requires over 1000 calories a day so it is vital that you eat nutritious calories and not empty calories (processed foods and sugars).
Here are some great foods to include in your diet while you are breastfeeding:
• Oats – They are full of energy, they contain fibre and are good for your digestion.
• Fennel seeds – These are meant to boost the quantity of your breast milk.
• Fenugreek seeds – Again, meant to be great for boosting your milk supply.
• Papaya – As well as being extremely healthy, papayas are a natural sedative which may help you to relax which in turn will help you feed better.
• Spinach/Palak – These leaves contain iron, calcium and folic acid. It is a wonderful food for both Mother and baby.
• Garlic – Garlic is considered the best food to increase breast milk.
• Carrots – They contain vitamin A which complements lactation and boosts the quality of your milk.
• Asparagus – This is high in fibre and vitamin A and K. It stimulates hormones in nursing mothers which are important for lactation.
• Apricots – Rich in calcium and fibre and help boost lactation.
• Salmon – This is a fantastic source of essential fatty acids and omega-3, both of which are highly nutritious and essential for breastfeeding mothers.
• Cumin Seeds – Boosts milk supply.
• Bootle Gourd – Not great to taste but very easy to digest and aids lactation. It also has a high water content which helps to keep the mother hydrated.
• Almonds – Rich in Vitamin E and Omega-3.
• Chickpeas – A rich source of calcium, vitamin B and fibre.
• Cows milk – This is full of calcium and essential fatty acids which promotes lactation.
6. Have skin to skin time
Skin to skin time is so important for babies, especially newborns. Not only does it help a Mother regulate her temperature based on the child’s, it also helps with the production of oxytocin which is involved in milk production. It also encourages your baby to latch more often.
7. Drink plenty of water
If you don’t drink enough water whilst breastfeeding, your body will really suffer (constipation, haemorrhoids and dehydration). You need a lot of water so your body is hydrated and able to produce enough milk.
Finally… Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Lots of women struggle to breastfeed at first, it’s totally normal. Don’t ever feel shy or worried to ask questions or ask for help. As mentioned, most of the time the issue can be resolved. Don’t struggle in silence or give up. Reach out!