To breastfeed or not to breastfeed is a question that moms-to-be ask themselves. Some moms go into motherhood knowing that they don’t want to breastfeed. Other’s are open to trying it but know they will move to a bottle if the process isn’t seamless. Finally, some moms are absolutely set on breastfeeding their babies no matter what trials and tribulations they run into. Although breastfeeding is one of the most natural things a woman can do, it can also be incredibly hard. Moms may find that they run into various issues like an inability of their baby to latch or not being able to handle the demands of being the only food source to their new baby.
Another issue that new moms run into is difficulty producing enough milk for their little ones. This may be the hardest one and make moms feel the most insecure. You want to provide for your child and may feel inadequate if you’re unable to produce the amount of milk they need to develop and grow. If so, you are not alone. Many moms experience this and rest-assure, it’s a common problem. If you do find yourself with this particular dilemma, here are some things you can do to help increase your milk supply.
1. Nurse More – This may seem counterintuitive but because your body is made naturally to nurse, it knows what it's doing. When a baby goes through a growth spurt, you’ll even find them wanting to nurse more to help your body produce more milk for their growing body. Nursing more or on-demand is a lot of work but it’s a great way to help your body do exactly what it was made to do.
2. Rest and relax – Easier said than done for a new mom but stress can have many negative impacts on you and your body. One of these could be trouble producing milk. If you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to do it, your body may protest by doing the exact opposite of what you want it to do. Relaxing means different things for different women, but try to find what works for you and do it as much as possible! Try to get plenty of sleep too. The more your body is rested, the better it is able to function.
3. Supplemental drinks and snacks – The marketplace is full of different supplements and snacks that are meant to boost your milk supply. Just be sure to carefully research your options before trying. While it may not do any harm to your body to try them, it may harm your wallet if you just blindly buy anything that promises to give you increased milk supply. You can get some of the best feedback about products that work best from the reviews of other moms who have tried the products. You can also try to get referrals from friends and family who have tried them.
4. Consult with a specialist – When you think of a lactation specialist, you typically think of one for when your baby is having a hard time with latching. Or is you are having a more difficult time or it is more painful than other people's experiences seem to be. These are valid reasons to reach out to one, but a lactation specialist may be able to help you with milk supply as well. It could be that there is an issue with the way that you’re doing it that is causing you to produce less.
5. Pump more – This may seem to contradict the first suggestion, which is to nurse more, but it actually supplements it. Your baby may not be hungry and trying to force them to nurse when they’re not hungry probably won’t go so well. If you’re up to the task, you can try to pump in between feedings. Preferably right after each feeding so that you have enough time to produce more before your baby gets hungry again.
6. Make sure you’re not hungry or thirsty – Self-care tends to get put on the back burner when you’re a new mom. Breastfeeding is supposed to make you hungrier but you may find that there are so many things to do in a day that you forget to eat many times. You may also forget to drink water and stay hydrated. Your body needs an adequate amount of food and water to function and part of functioning is producing milk for your baby. So next time, you decide to put eating and drinking at the bottom of your priority list, reconsider.
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