Do not be scared, pumping will be better than you think. You will make it through this.
Worst case, is you have to use formula and maybe just get a little breast milk in from time to time. Things will be okay.
Having a baby means you have the responsibility to ensure their good health, nutrition, and well-being. As a new mother, this responsibility can seem daunting.
With time and experience, every good mother learns to become a great one. However, this glorious title is achieved after suffering through weeks of sleepless nights and numerous unpredictable hurdles. One such hurdle is a shortage of breast milk.
Not being able to provide enough milk for your baby can be frustrating. It can make you feel like you’ve failed as a mom. But these tips can help you get more milk during pumping.
1. Pump While Relaxed and Stress-free
Did you know that stress is often considered the number one cause of decreased breast milk supply? Stress hormones like cortisol can drastically decrease the amount of milk you produce. This is why it is crucial to pump when you are relaxed.
Try to be as relaxed as possible when pumping. Pick a place where you can do so without feeling tense or uncomfortable. Let’s say you feel most relaxed in your bedroom. This will be the ideal place for pumping.
Don’t stress over how much milk you are producing. Use pumping as your break time. Avoid working while doing it. You can try doing something that helps you destress like listening to music. One limited study has shown that listening to music can help you produce higher quality milk.
Some mothers use pumping time to meditate. Meditation can help you reduce your stress levels. It can also improve your mood and increase your breast milk supply.
2. Pump More Frequently
Breast milk works according to supply and demand. The more your breast is pumped or suckled, the larger the supply of milk there will be. Feeding formula to your baby can easily hamper your milk supply. This is why it is crucial to pump frequently.
Don’t think that pumping your milk reduces the amount you can give to your child from your breasts. If possible, pump right after feeding, as sometimes your breasts can feel full even after the baby feeds.
Consider pumping/feeding at least 8 to 12 times a day. Do it around the clock, especially at night when your body releases more prolactin, which is the milk-producing hormone. Don’t try to set up a schedule; feeding on demand is better.
Some people practice cluster pumping where they pump every five minutes to increase milk supply. While this will not be practical at work, practice cluster pumping when you are at home. Keep trying a few sessions of pumping until you notice a significant increase in supply.
3. Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Many mothers don’t realize that their diet can hamper milk supply. Those who are picky eaters or don’t eat much tend to have a poor milk supply. You must make sure that you eat a healthy and balanced diet during the months your baby breastfeeds.
Remember that the food you eat not only affects the quantity but also the quality of your milk. Pregnant women will burn around 300 to 500 calories extra per day while breastfeeding. You must ensure that you are putting enough food inside you to maintain your health.
Eating enough protein is crucial while you breastfeed. Add healthy proteins like lean meat and fatty fish. Also, eat healthy fats like nuts and avocados and incorporate leafy greens, fresh fruits, and vegetables into your diet.
While carbs are super important, opt for the right ones. Choose complex carbohydrates instead of white sugar. Avoid high-calorie sweet treats and overly processed foods.
4. Use the Right Equipment
You will be surprised by how much difference the right equipment makes. The first thing you need to consider is how comfortable you are with the machine. Ask yourself if the pump is easy to use. If it hurts you or gives you discomfort, get another one.
When you bring home a machine, read the manual thoroughly. Clean your equipment according to the instructions. Massage your breasts before pumping and consider using a pumping bra. Hands-free pumping bras can actually make it easier.
Make sure that the pump you are using has good suction. It needs to be able to draw out the milk as a baby can; otherwise, it won’t work.
Change your pump or replace parts if you feel like it isn’t working well. Consider opting for a double pump, as doing both breasts at the same time actually helps increase supply.
5. Stay Hydrated
Breast milk not only fulfills your infant’s every nutritional need, but it also gives them powerful antibodies and special hormones that promote growth. This is why it is crucial to have a good supply of milk so that you can properly breastfeed.
One factor that is essential for having enough milk supply is hydration. If the mother does not drink enough water and other healthy fluids, this will reduce her breast milk supply drastically.
You need about 16 cups of water per day, which can come from food, water, or any other healthy fluid. Water can be your primary source of hydration. If you don’t like drinking water, consider making fruit/herb-infused water.
Avoid sugary fluids and alcohol. Opt for healthy homemade juice, soups, and smoothies. You can drink coffee while breastfeeding, but try to limit your intake. Remember that what you eat will get consumed by your baby, so try to stick to healthy fluids.
6. Explore Lactation Supplements
Are you having trouble breastfeeding? Consider trying lactation supplements. These days, there are countless options on the market. But you must be careful what you choose.
Some supplements are fads while others can be downright harmful. This is why it is crucial to talk to your pediatrician before trying them. Make sure that whichever supplement you choose has gone through plenty of research and testing.
Before choosing a supplement, consider visiting a lactation expert. They can not only guide you with choices, but they can also help you explore other options which can help increase your milk supply.
7. Opt for Natural Ways
If you don’t feel comfortable using factory-produced supplements, then don’t. There are plenty of natural ways to increase lactation that have been passed down through the generations in every culture.
You need to do some research before you choose a natural supplement. Be thorough and make sure you know all the benefits and drawbacks of natural supplements. While some might increase breast milk production, they can also trigger health conditions.
One common herbal supplement for increasing milk supply is fenugreek seeds. This is a primary ingredient in many lactation teas available on the market. As much as it helps, it is wise to use it in moderation.
Everyday spices like ginger, garlic, and fennel are also natural supplements for lactation. You can also use blessed thistle and milk thistle to increase lactation, but make sure you only consume them in recommended dosages.
8. Stay Positive and Don’t Compare
Having a low flow of milk can make a mother feel anxious, stressed, and depressed. Many new mothers feel like they have failed their babies if they cannot produce enough milk for them. An inexperienced mom can easily feel like she is letting everyone down.
Remember that a negative mental state will only decrease your milk supply further. It is vital to stay positive. If pumps are not helping, seek help. A lactation expert can help you find different ways to increase milk production.
Sometimes friends, neighbors, and family members can increase your anxiety. Don’t compare yourself with others, and move at your own pace. Remember that exclusive breastfeeding is crucial for your baby. Before you reach for the formula, try every other available option.
By keeping a positive outlook and avoiding stress and depression, you will be able to produce enough milk. Don’t torture yourself over poor milk supply, as overthinking can hamper both your health and your ability to lactate. Remember that everything is possible if you believe in yourself.
Poor milk supply can make you feel stressed and depressed. Pumping is a great way to increase milk supply so that you can ensure your baby’s health and development. Try to pump in a place and environment where you can be relaxed and stress-free.
Pump frequently to increase the flow of milk. You can try various pumping techniques like cluster pumping or double pumping to get more milk. Eat a healthy balanced diet and opt for natural supplements to increase lactation.
Here are some real world tips in this video below: