Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Sometimes the milk flows freely, and then there are days when it acts like it just doesn’t want to come out. Experiencing a decline in your breastmilk supply can be stressful and scary. You’re left wondering if your baby is getting enough. During the times I’ve noticed a drop in my supply there were things I’ve done to help get it back to where it once was. If you’re worried about maintaining your breastmilk supply I’m providing tips of things you should consider doing to help.
Before you do anything drastic, you should first take an inventory of things that may have had an effect on the amount of milk you produce. These things can include the following:
- Not eating enough
- Diet – consuming food or drink that are likely to reduce milk production
Things to Do to Ensure You Have a Healthy, Steady Flow of Breastmilk
Add Oats to Your Diet
For breakfast (daily) I eat one serving of oatmeal porridge made with McCann’s Irish Steel Cut Oats. Instant oatmeal is not as good for milk production as the steel cut ones. For added benefit, you can sprinkle in some brewer’s yeast, which is thought to aid in producing more milk.
You must put back in what your baby is taking out. Drink something when he/she is drinking. I like to drink water and switch it up during the day with a beverage that contains electrolytes like coconut water. I also sometimes add an electrolyte packet to my water when I need to switch things up.
Nurse On-Demand & Nurse Often
In the beginning, it is especially important to nurse your baby on-demand and as often as possible. This allows your body to know how much milk to make for your baby. So, maintain a consistent schedule. Your body will make milk based on your baby’s needs. It’s dope like that! You may be tempted to pump to see how much your baby is getting; however, this isn’t recommended, especially within the first month. It may force your body to overproduce milk.
Related: Tips for Breastfeeding Moms to Survive Returning to Work
Avoid Pacifiers and Bottles
When you are home with your baby, try to avoid using a pacifier or a bottle. Your body needs to feel the natural sucking sensation in order to know to continue to produce milk. This was easy for me because I don’t believe in pacifiers. My oldest literally used me as a pacifier and the new baby just doesn’t need one.
Don’t Play Favorites
My oldest daughter had a favorite boob from which she liked to nurse. It was the left one. I remember when I went to have a sonogram of my breasts, the technician asked me if I nursed from the left side more than the right. Shocked, I asked, “How do you know?!” She giggled. Sometimes babies like to play favorites when it comes to breastfeeding. Do your best to switch sides during each breastfeeding session to ensure both are emptied. You’ll know when they are empty when your breasts are softened. It’s important to have them empty or close to empty because you have to move milk to make milk! Additionally, switching between breasts during feedings will ensure your baby consumes more of the fatty hindmilk versus the watery foremilk.
Add Protein-rich Foods to Your Diet
Speaking of fatty hindmilk. If you notice you’re not producing enough hindmilk, make sure you’re getting an additional 25 grams of protein in your diet per day. Protein helps ensure you have a steady supply of milk for your baby. Because thirst and hunger go hand-in-hand while breastfeeding, I recommend having a stash of snacks on hand to snack on when you’re nursing.
Related: 5 Best Folate-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet