How I increased my milk supply
If you follow me on Instagram you know that we had such a rocky start with breastfeeding and so many issues. That will be in another post (our experience in the Netherlands to fix the tongue-tie).
A week or so after giving birth I kept trying to exclusively nurse, but that was not working, so I had to start pumping to see- is it me or Sienna? I wanted to find out what course of action is needed, and if it is worth all of this pain.
When I started pumping and saw that my milk was there, I started my research on what to do to increase it. And there is so much information out there. I want to start first by stating that even if I put a lot of research into this, I am not a trained IBCLC and the best course of action for you is to seek one when you see that there are issues. These are all things I did or took and for me, it worked, but I know it might not work for everyone. And if nothing helps, a baby needs a healthy and loving mom than it needs breast milk.
These will work best if you are 2-3 months maximum after birth before your milk is regulated. Then things are more difficult to change.
The things I did/took that helped me increase my milk supply:
1. Nigella oil
First, I wanted to know if I had a small storing space or if I had a slow fill-up rate. I found out the answer when I could not wake up to pump at night and in the morning I would pump a record amount- that meant for me it was more of an issue of how fast I was making milk. Here nigella oil (which can be found in capsule form as well) is supposed to help. And I was taking the capsules and putting some oil in my homemade oat bars and in 2-3 weeks I was able to see a difference.
I had so many clogs at the beginning, that every day when I was pumping I had to massage and use hot pads. Here lecithin helps, I was taking 4 capsules when I had a bad clog so I can avoid mastitis, and since I gave birth when I do not have clogs, in order to avoid them, I take 1-2 capsules a day to help the milk flow and make it easier for Sienna to nurse/ or so I can pump faster.
Click here for the breast hot pads:
Lansinoh heat pads (I used these on Sienna's tummy for tummy aches.)
This one goes without too much explanation. I find it hard to drink so much water, but when I was drinking 2-3l I could see a big increase in production, in my skin, and how hydrated I felt.
4. Power Pumping
Power pumping applies only to pumping moms or moms who nurse but are doing combo feeding or want to increase supply.
For me, one power pump a day was to keep my supply with fewer pumps a day, but at 2 power pumps a day I could see a difference after 1 to 2 weeks.
5. Alcohol-free beer/ Brewers yeast
When it comes to alcohol and breastfeeding it is better to stay away but in Denmark, most breastfeeding moms consume this beer called "Hvidøl" which has a very small alcohol content. I was recommended to drink one a day by my IBCLC and baby nurse. I focused mostly on taking my brewer's yeast which helps increase the milk. In Denmark you can find it under "øl gær" and it comes as capsules.
I have a mixed relationship with oats now, I had so many in my first few months, that it made my keratosis pilaris worse, so I had to consume less gluten or find gluten-free oats. I will add a recipe for my homemade oat bars.
7. More calories
I have heard from multiple friends how they would not be able to find the time to eat and still produce more than enough milk. For me that was sadly not the case, I had to eat a lot of calories so I could have even the minimum amount of milk.
8. The pump
The pump matters so much, I used at first the Medela Symphony which is supposed to be a hospital-grade pump, and later I purchased the Medela Freestyle. Now I use the Freestyle and Elvie.
With nursing and pumping it is never easy, but here I am after more than a year of doing it, thinking about quitting. Follow me on Instagram for my journey and how will I go about weaning when the time would come. For questions feel free to pm on Instagram.