Do You Have a Low Milk Supply?
Some moms may need to increase milk supply if they have a low supply, while others may want to produce more milk for storing or donating. Moms should first determine if they actually have a low supply, unless they need extra milk for storing. A low milk supply can be determined if the baby is not gaining well or not having enough wet and dirty diapers.
Whether a mom has a low supply or she simply wants to produce more milk for storing, there are a few tips that will help increase milk supply.
1) Frequent Nursing
The more milk that is removed from the breasts, the more milk the mom will produce. A mom should encourage her baby to nurse as often as possible. She should hear the baby sucking and swallowing throughout the feeding. If the baby cannot latch properly, it may be due to a tongue tie. If the mom is having difficulty waking a sleepy baby, she can encourage the baby to nurse more by switching sides throughout the feeding.
2) Wearing a Carrier
When a mom wears her baby in a carrier, the baby is kept close to the breast. The physical closeness will encourage the baby to nurse more often, which will result in more milk removed from the breast and an increase in milk supply.
After every feeding, moms can pump each breast for five to ten minutes. This will ensure the breasts are being emptied as much as possible, which will result in the production of more milk.
Before taking any herbs, a mom should consult with her baby’s pediatrician or her doctor, to make sure there is no possible interaction with other medications either of them take. Herbs and medications that are used to increase milk supply are known as galactagogues.
Fenugreek: The mom should take at least six capsules per day. She can spread the pills out throughout the day, so she takes two every few hours. If she begins to smell like maple syrup, she is taking enough pills.
Blessed Thistle: Moms should take about three capsules per day. This is usually used in combination with Fenugreek.
Herbal Mixes: Mother’s Milk Tea and More Milk Plus are herbal mixtures moms can take. Mother’s Milk Tea is a drink that the mom can use to increase milk supply. More Milk Plus is a mixture of herbs, including Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle that the mom can buy in pill or liquid form. The liquid form can be dripped onto food or drinks that the mom is consuming.
5) Staying Healthy
The mom should eat about 300 to 500 extra calories per day, so her body has the energy to make milk. Staying hydrated is important for milk production, so moms need to drink at least eight or nine glasses of fluids per day. The mother should rule out health conditions that can affect her supply, such as a thyroid condition.
6) Avoiding Supplements
Every time a mom supplements with a bottle, she is missing the milk being emptied from her breasts. She should try to avoid supplementing with formula. If she must be away from her baby, she should pump for every feeding that she misses.
If a mom tries all of the above recommendations and cannot increase milk supply, she can consult her doctor for medications to take. Some medications she may be prescribed to increase milk supply include Domperidone or Reglan.