The early days of breastfeeding can be stressful. I know that with each baby I nurse, I find myself always doubting my supply eventhough there is more than likely nothing wrong.
While browsing the internet, I was reading various articles on breastfeeding topics that I just randomly Google, and I’ve compiled this list of foods that MAY help with milk production.
One thing to know is that when you want to boost your supply or keep an adequate milk supply, you should not let yourself get dehydrated. BUT on the other hand, do not drink too much either because that can also tank your supply. Too much water can throw off your electrolytes, which can lead to a decrease in milk production. It’s important to only drink when you feel thirsty. If you think about it, those in other countries with poor water supply feed their babies for years and they are not drinking water by the gallon full! I drink about 8-10 glasses a day if that, and my supply is pretty good now.
Another thing to look at is your food intake. I know that you probably know that nursing can burn anywhere around 500 calories a day depending on how often you nurse, but are you adding those calories back into your diet each day? Not eating enough calories…GOOD calories, can also be detrimental to your milk supply. You need to be sure that you are eating whole foods such as a full serving of fruits and/or veggies at every meal, in addition to whole grains and lean meats. Skip the heavy salad dressings and make your own dressing. Mix some olive oil together with red wine vinegar and a little basil and oregano and pour it over your leafy greens! Add in some spinach! Spinach is one of those super greens that can also help your supply because of its phytoestrogens. Its also a good source of iron if you need it and vitamins A and K.
Do you like garlic? I LOVE garlic. My husband on the other hand, dislikes my love of garlic. But just as your breath may reveal that you have had garlic, it also travels into your breast milk, so don’t be alarmed if your baby’s breath has a hint of garlic. Beside the smell, its believed to be a galactogogue as well.
Lactation cookies! Have you ever had these? I am not sure exactly if they really work or just taste good, but in any case, they are also healthy for you. The cookies contain things such as flax seed and brewers yeast, as well as oats. All are thought to help boost your supply a little, as well as enrich it. I’ve found several companies online that make lactation cookies and deliver them to your door if you don’t want to make them yourself. This came in handy when I was about to have the baby. I didn’t have time to bake, so I made sure to have ready to eat cookies in my freezer.
Pump, pump pump!! I am not a good pumper. My output isn’t that great because I just don’t do it very often. But, if I noticed my supply was dwindling a bit, I would pump after I fed Ryan, just to get that extra stimulation. Stimulating as often as you can will tell your body that it needs milk at this time, which will in turn up your supply. It may take several days for you to notice much of a difference, but be patient and you will see results. Keep in mind that what you pump out isn’t necessarily what baby is getting. Pumping isn’t as effective as how baby draws out your milk.
Do you co-sleep with baby? We co-sleep, and I find that this really helps. Not only am I getting sleep, but baby is getting fed. When he wakes up, I just lay on my side and nurse him. I find that it’s easiest to do once baby is over 1 month old because they have better head control. It took a few attempts before we got it down, and sometimes he doesn’t fully drain the side that he’s nursing on, but he is getting what he feels that he needs at that time, and my breast is getting that stimulation in the middle of the night, and we are both comfy snuggling together. Not only are you feeding baby, but you are bonding with that closeness of snuggle time!
Keep your cool! I know how frustrating it is trying to establish a good nursing bond. There are many days, even now, 7 weeks later, that I sometimes just want to give up. Then I look at his little face when he’s nursing and I know I just have to keep going! Breastfeeding is so good for baby as well as mama. Even if you are able to make it to the 1 month milestone and want to give up after that, just think of all the goodness that you put into your baby’s tummy and his immune system in that time frame. No formula can give him that immune system boosting goodness… no matter what the marketing ads say. Your baby will thank you for helping him stay well, and for providing that comfort and closeness in whatever time frame you choose to nurse.
I know that nursing isn’t for everyone, and there most certainly are ways to bond while bottle feeding. My first 2 children were formula fed bottle babies, and both- now ages 13 and almost 12- are thriving just as well in school and are rarely sick. I was able to hold them close when bottle feeding, and I also co-slept with baby #1. Baby #2 didn’t want to co-sleep so instead she just slept in our room next to my bed.
This post was to help some of you that may be going through the early day struggles just as I have. Now that Ryan is 7 weeks old its gotten a lot better, so there IS hope! Now I just need to figure out a way where he will go to someone other than myself. It’s hard to do things around the house when he’s being held by my husband and he’s screaming his head off! There is hope for that too, right!??