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Breastfeeding was one of the most challenging parts of being a new mom for me. Despite my best efforts, my son, Donovan just wouldn’t latch, which my mom argues is a genetic trait.
So I pumped exclusively and supplemented with formula the first four months of Donovan’s life. When I added work in the mix and started pumping less frequently, my milk supply dried up pretty quickly.
I ended up cutting my breastfeeding journey short but not before researching plenty of lactation tips, mainly from the popular breast pump company Medela.
Tips to continue breastfeeding and increase your milk supply:
1. Understand how breast milk production works
Our breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis. How often and how much milk is removed from the breast can determine how much milk will be made. In other words, the more you pump and breastfeed, the more milk you’ll likely produce.
2. Start breastfeeding more often to increase your milk supply
Pump or breastfeed more frequently if you want to start signaling your body to produce more milk. Make sure you’re nursing or pumping at least eight times a day. If you’re exclusively pumping and pumping on both sides at once you will yield more milk and decrease the amount of time you spend pumping.
3. Pump and breastfeed to increase your milk supply
Another way to boost your supply is to breastfeed and then pump. Sometimes your breasts may not feel completely empty after nursing, so add a pumping session right after your baby finishes eating. This will stimulate your body to produce more and start increasing your milk supply.
4. Prioritize rest and relaxation
Taking good care of yourself can also impact your breast milk supply, and potentially increase breast milk production. Try keeping healthy snacks and bottles of water stashed where you most frequently nurse. Find time to relax and focus on yourself. That may mean taking a bath, stealing a quick nap or reading a book.
5. Consult a lactation expert
If you’re still having problems with your milk supply, reach out to a lactation professional. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant may help determine if you do need help with your milk supply and work with you to find ways to address the issue.
6. Consider a supplement with your physician
Some moms have turned to lactation enhancements (galactagogues) to increase breast milk production. Studies are mixed as to their effectiveness, but we’ve linked to some popular options throughout this post. Teas, cookies and smoothies containing herbs like fenugreek or alfalfa, or common ingredients like flaxseed meal, oats and brewer’s yeast, are used as natural lactation enhancements. Be sure to consult with your doctor or lactation consultant before utilizing these products to ensure your safety and efficacy.