With all 4 of my babies, I was very concerned with whether they were getting enough milk. You’re supposed to monitor their wet and dirty diapers to gauge this, but I heard my baby’s stomach growl once after 20 minutes of nursing. Another time, a baby who was supposed to be getting about 4 oz of breast milk at each feeding took a 4 oz bottle of baby formula after 20 minutes of breastfeeding.
If you have concerns about your milk supply, be sure to contact Lactation where you delivered or your OB for their medical advice. Below are a few things that are supposed to increase your milk supply and how they worked for me:
Drink lots of water. This is a must to maintain adequate breastmilk or boost low supply.
Get lots of rest. This is so difficult for mothers with newborns, especially if they have other children to look after during the day. Just do your best and ask for help when you need it!
Put the baby to the breast frequently. Nursing the baby stimulates the glands, so the more often you breastfeed, the more milk you should produce. It’s simple supply and demand. Sometimes, especially when the skin on the Mom’s nipple is raw, has eroded, or is scabbed, nursing can be incredibly painful. I was able to successfully push through the pain with the scabs and bleeding with #3 and nursed him the longest (8 months).
Don’t use pacifiers. Babies are thought to have a “suck quota” of sorts. They like to suck a certain amount each day. The more they’re sucking a pacifier, the less they’re sucking the breast, or so it’s thought. I used pacifiers with all my kids for my sanity.
Take fenugreek. Fenugreek is an herbal supplement that is thought to increase breast milk production. It is also the main ingredient in Mother’s Milk tea, a tea that is supposed to increase breast milk supply. You should only take fenugreek after consulting your OB.
Heads up, it smells like maple syrup! It can get into your breast milk and cause your baby to smell like maple syrup. This is a concern because smelling like maple syrup can also be an indication of a serious condition for your baby. For this reason, it’s important for the baby’s doctor to know you are taking fenugreek.
I took this with my last 2 babies, but I’m not sure if it had much of an effect. Mommy Mentor Cafe du Mom said it was so effective with her that the baby couldn’t drink all the milk she was making so she ended up getting mastitis!
Eat Mother’s Milk Cookies. No, they’re not made with breast milk, they’re supposed to increase your breast milk. There are several recipes you can find online. This is the recipe I used. They were delicious! The yeast is what is thought to increase your milk production, the flax seed is high in omega-3, and the chocolate chips taste great and give you a bit of energy.
Eat oatmeal. I had oatmeal for breakfast every day and as a late night snack after the birth of #4. I started eating it at the same time I began a course of prescription Reglan (see next bullet point), and believe Reglan was probably the cause of the increase.
Get a prescription for Reglan. Reglan is available by prescription and is for the treatment of acid stomach. One of the side effects noted was that it also increased breast milk production in lactating women. You take it for a 2 week period and the elevated milk production is supposed to continue as long as you nurse. I definitely noticed an increase–it was a subtle daily increase over the 2 week period–but it dropped off after I finished the 2 week course. You can do more than one course of Reglan if needed with your doctor’s permission!
If none of this works, don’t despair! It may be a temporary lull, or you may have to consider formula for your baby. It can be devastating if you’ve had your heart set on breastfeeding, but you have to do what is best for you and for your baby. Hang in there, and know that getting enough milk is the most important thing for your baby, whether it comes from you or a bottle.
Much Mommy love, Mommy Mentor CurlyQ
If your milk supply has been low but then improved, what worked for you? Let us know in our comments section below or on our facebook page.
If you ever see any egregious typos in any of our articles, please let us know! We’re probably typing with our toes because we’re nursing babies, wrestling a wild toddler, and having a cup of coffee. Thanks for your understanding and help!
As always, here is my have-mercy-on-me disclaimer. Thank you!