Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. It can come with a number of challenges, but there are many benefits for mom and baby that outweigh those difficulties. One of which is the wonderful bond between you and your baby. I remember exclaiming to my husband, “I’ve kept our baby alive for one whole month!” To say I was excited is an understatement. I faced, what felt like, every single challenge in the book in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, but I was determined to make it work as long as I could. However, I will say, thank goodness for formula and knowing it is there had I chose to go that route. One challenge some mamas come across is low milk supply. Mine dipped during a time or two and I tried a few of these tips to help give it the boost it needed.
1. Drink Fluids
Drink, drink, drink. I cannot stress this enough. Make sure before your sit down to nurse you have a glass of water within arms reach. And, if like me, you struggle to remember to drink enough each day, then try setting yourself a challenge. I aim to drink one large glass of water every morning before I eat or drink anything and this really helps set me up for the day. If you don’t love the taste of water, pick up a infuser water bottle like this one, to help make it more flavorful without all the added sugar from soft drinks. Nursing can make you very thirsty, so follow your body’s signals and drink enough to stay hydrated.
2. Feed On Demand
Throw the feeding schedule out of the window and let your little one nurse as often as they like. Breast milk is based on supply and demand. When your baby needs more milk they will nurse more often to increase your supply. So nurse on, mamas. Even when you think they can’t possibly need anymore.
3. Eat Enough Calories
Now I’m not saying to indulge in hamburgers and fries every day, but eating enough calories while breastfeeding is important. I know we are all anxious to loose that extra baby weight but dieting is not going to do you any favors during right now. Even though your pregnancy has ended, you are still eating for two, except your baby is now getting all their nutrients from your breast milk. Make sure you are eating a healthy and well balanced diet and don’t skip those extra calories.
4. Pump After Nursing
Once your baby is fed and they are full, consider slipping in a pumping session to make sure the breast is being fully emptied. If the your baby is not nursing efficiently this can be a cause of low milk supply. You can also pump in-between nursing sessions to create more demand that will help boost your supply.
5. Lactation Cookies
Did someone say cookies? Sign me up! I never need an excuse to eat cookies, but once I found out that lactation cookies are packed full of milk-making ingredients I was sold. To make your own delicious cookies check out this recipe, but if time in the kitchen is an added stress you don’t need right now, you can also buy them here. They are a super handy on-the-go snack that you don’t have to feel guilty about.
Head over to www.howsweeteats.com for delicious healthy meals, indulgent treats and everything in between.
I put this one in there, although you are probably laughing already. I know I would be. However, sleep and rest is so important in order for our bodies to function properly, and this even applies to making milk. If you are not getting much sleep between the night feedings and the long days, see if a friend or family member can come over and watch the baby so you can get in a few hours of rest. Make sure your sweet babe is fed and let them catch some sleep while they are in good hands. If this is not possible try the golden rule of sleeping when the baby sleeps. I know that there is always a million and one things to do, but sometimes you have to ignore the dishes and laundry and just sleep. Your body will thank you.