So you have made the firm decision to breast feed your new born baby instead bottle feed. You have prepared yourself, emotionally, physically and psychologically because you strongly believe that breastfeeding is far more beneficial than formula milk. But what if you realize that you are not producing sufficient milk for your baby’s daily needs? What should you do?
9 ways how you can increase your breast milk supply:
1. Eat a balanced diet
Eating the right kind and amount of food is the first remedy to insufficient milk supply. A balanced diet should include food rich in fats, vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and minerals. Since breastfeeding helps in losing weight naturally, you might eat slightly more to make up for losing 500 calories per day. Fruits and vegetables are best options while junk and fast foods should be abstained. The stored fat gained during pregnancy may be a bother to every mother, however, it is not advisable to engage in any weight loss programs as this may distort milk production and may weaken your body.
2. Drink plenty of fluids
Fluids help to regulate the flow of blood and nutrients inside the body. This may not refer to drinking water alone. Fluid can also be gained through eating fruits, drinking milk and other healthy beverages. Aside from taking in at least one gallon of water every day, it is advisable for mothers to drink herbal or tonic soup to replace the body fluids lost during breast feeding, and to increase milk production.
3. Take supplements or continue to take prenatal vitamins
Herbal remedies and therapy is believed to help increase breast milk supply. Fenugreek capsules have been proven to increase breast milk production within 72 hours after taking 3 capsules for the first ten days after birth. However, Fenugreek is not recommended to women suffering from asthma or diabetes and there are also side effects such as profuse sweating. As safe as they may seem, herbal remedies or any form of supplements should be taken with the advice of health professionals.
4. Get enough rest and sleep
A calm and rested body is necessary for proper milk production. Having enough rest promotes enough time intervals for feeding your baby. At least two hours of regular intervals can stimulate the efficient supply of milk in your breasts.
5. Express milk in between feedings
You can stimulate your breast milk production by expressing milk out of your breasts, even right after feeding. Pumping your breast 8-12 times a day requires a lot of patience, but when done on a regular basis, this will lead to an enjoyable feeding experience for you and your baby. Buy a good breast pump and position your body in a comfortable position. Expressed milk can be stored in the fridge for feeding whenever you are out for work or for other appointments.
6. Massage your breasts
Breast stimulation for milk production can be done through a simple gentle massage. This can be done during or in between feedings. The best about massages is that you can do it yourself, when you take a bath or when you lie down to relax.
7. Avoid or lessen exposure to stress factors
Avoid engaging in vigorous activities that deplete your energy and burn you out. Research has shown that mothers who are stressed and tired may not produce sufficient breast milk supply. When your house hold chores begin to pile up, ask for help. Keep your mind focused on your body and make the most out of your time to strengthen bonds with your baby and family.
8. Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine
Caffeine, liquor and cigarettes are not only harmful to you, but to your baby as well. What you consume can be transmitted to your baby, through your breast milk. So be mindful of what you eat and drink.
9. Ask a breastfeeding consultant
It is always important to seek a professional’s advice when you have tried all that you can.
This article is part of Breastfeeding with Love campaign, initiated by The New Age Parents and New Age Pregnancy.
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