As a mother, nothing is probably more painful than watching your baby cry because of hunger. Even worse, not doing anything about this can put you in bad shape and make you feel guilty. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for babies from birth to six months of age. To comply with this, you need a sufficient supply of breastmilk for your baby. Although baby formula can come through for you, keep it at bay if you can. That said, here are some fantastic tips to increase milk supply and keep your infant happy.
1. Breastfeed the Baby on Their Terms
Usually, a newborn’s stomach is a cherry size, as per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This simply means your baby will tend to breastfeed in many short, frequent suckles. They get hungry as fast as they get full. So, be sure you will have a lot of work. With time, the good news is that the frequency of breastfeeding reduces as the baby’s stomach grows in size.
To increase milk supply, make sure you nurse the baby on demand. The mammary glands respond with demand so that more breastfeeding results in more milk production.
2. Pump the Milk
A breast pump mimics the suckling pattern of a baby. This means, when you pump milk, your brain will receive the signals of a breastfeeding baby and stimulate the mammary glands to produce more milk. Pumping after nursing also empties the breasts fully, creating space for more production of milk.
3. Eat Healthy Foods
Some foods naturally help in increasing milk production, thanks to the nutrients and minerals present in them. Healthy foods such as fenugreek seeds, garlic, lean meat, and oatmeal can help increase milk production. Just like your baby, eat as much as your body demands because you’re eating for two.
The bottom line is to eat a balanced diet that gives you healthy milk. Just be careful not to inhale fenugreek powder as it may cause or worsen asthmatic symptoms. Besides, avoid or minimize eating gassy foods such as kidney beans as the gas also transfers to the baby through milk.
4. Take a Lot of Water
After giving birth, you should continue with the mom’s culture of “drinking for two.” Over 80 percent of milk is water. This means your body will be able to produce more milk if it has enough water. With this in mind, drink more than 8 glasses of water per day, knowing that your baby depends on it.
Apart from water, you can drink other fluids, including, among others, soup, almond milk, fruit juice, and vegetable juice. Stay away from coffee or minimize the intake since it has dehydrating properties.
5. Avoid Stress
When you are stressed, cortisol, the stress hormone, increases in your blood. This is the number one killer of milk supply, more so in new moms. Usually, new moms face a gazillion problems, including cracked nipples, painful stitches, engorged nipples, constipation, headaches, low hemoglobin count, sleepless nights, and tiredness. These are too many problems for just one person, and they can make you stressed as a mother and eventually decrease your milk supply.
To keep stress away, find all the help you need, including hiring a nanny to look after the baby as you rest. You can also use products that can alleviate the pain from cracked nipples. The goal is to be in a good mental state for optimum production of milk.
6. Rest as Much as You Can
Mothers who are always up and down running errands and looking after the baby tend to have low milk supply. After birth, you need to take your time to rest and heal to avoid future health problems such as backaches. Also, make sure you get adequate sleep to give your body the much-needed time to rest. This will keep your body in good condition for milk production.
7. Seek Professional Help
Sometimes, low milk supply is more than just a bad diet and a lack of adequate rest. It could be a sign of an underlying issue or even genetic factors. Some medications can cut the milk supply, and your doctor may advise you against using them while breastfeeding.
Similarly, having flu can cause dehydration, which may, in turn, decrease your milk supply. Consulting a lactating expert can help you find out why your milk supply is low before you decide on the solution for that.
If you increase the milk supply, your baby will have enough milk to feed and stay full. A well-fed baby sleeps soundly to give you time to sleep too. If your baby is awake and you need to rest, AGAPE Confinement Nannies can come through for you at any time.