If you were like me, breast feeding was high on your list of “things to do for baby”. You attended all the classes, read all the books and watched all the videos. You were prepared. Then it was game time. Your little baby arrived hungrier than ever. You latched them on and Yay!, Success on the first try, you both were naturals. But what about after that first latch? After your “real milk” comes in and you can’t keep your supply up? When the days seem to stretch on and on and your body produces less and less milk? What do you do then?
In working closely with lactation consultants and then visiting one once my son was born, I learned that after the initial feeding period the information tends to slow down. Everyone just assumes you’re okay since the latch has gone well and everyone seems to disappear. Suddenly, you feel alone and clueless. One of the biggest questions I have heard is, “My latch is great, but how do I keep my milk supply up”?
I feel this question is rarely answered enough.
So here are my top 5 tips to increase and maintain your milk supply high:
- Caloric Intake. While nursing it has been estimated that your body increases its caloric needs by 500 calories per day. For example, that’s an additional serving of veggie sushi rolls a day. This additional appetizer can help satisfy your hunger and help boost your nutritional needs to create more breast milk.
- Increase water intake. I know we’ve all heard this one and it is honestly one of the hardest tips for me. I’m not quite sure why but I truly despise water. If I can get 2 bottles in a day I feel like the Super bowl MVP. However, this increase in fluids can be just what your body needs to increase its own fluids; milky fluids that is.
- Exercise. Now this one is more of a cause and effect than a direct correlation. As it does for many people, exercising acts as an emotional outlet. It affects things such as mood, mental status and more. For a nursing mama, exercise can be a way to release tension and promote relaxation. This relaxation transfers over during feeding time and increases the amount of let down your body produces. Thus in the end, your baby receives more milk.
- More pumps/ feedings. My 6 month old still eats every 2 hours. Honestly, not sure if I said that statement that more for a reference or to release frustration. But the fact that he eats so often has helped my body keep my milk supply at an all time high. I like to think of it as the opposite of those “you don’t use it you lose it” statements. The more you pump and feed, the more it signals to your body that the increase of milk is needed for your baby.
- Strawberry Açaí/ Coconut milk. Now this one is more of a personal tip than anything. We all love our Starbucks so why not actually have a solid reason to be there every day?! I read that the refresher drink with a dash of coconut milk from Starbucks doubled one mom’s milk supply in one week. Now with my baby nursing every two hours, doubling my milk wasn’t exactly what I needed but I figured a little increase couldn’t hurt. After one drink I felt significant increase in my supply. The idea is the coconut milk in the drink acts as a natural aid to increase breast milk. I typically like to get one once a week just to give me a little boost here or there.
Breastfeeding is meant to be a loving and relaxing moment with your baby. In that moment, the last thing you want to be worried about is if your baby is getting enough milk. Using the tips above can help aid in removing some of that worry. And let’s be honest, as moms we have plenty of other places we can use that worry.
Aysia Bly is a 25 year old mother to a 7 month old baby named Tate. By profession she is a nurse but is currently taking on the stay at home mom title to ensure she doesn’t miss a beat with her baby boy. Her passions include reading, writing, photography and helping mamas remember themselves through the use of self-care. Check out her Instagram and blog here!