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Breastfeeding isn't as cut and dry as one might think. Many mothers face challenges when breastfeeding, especially early on. Low supply is one of the more common challenges. My son had a posterior tongue tie and an upper lip tie that prevented him from getting any milk from me even though my supply was there. Because of this, I had to exclusively pump to help him maintain his weight until his ties could be revised. When this happened, my supply took a hit. I was not pumping enough to keep up with him and felt hopeless as I cut into my freezer supply, wondering how long I could make it before supplementing with formula. With the following tricks, I was able to more than DOUBLE my supply. I went from not producing enough, to producing enough to feed my son and store around 12 extra ounces or more per day. If you are struggling with low supply, or just want to boost your supply to build up a larger freezer stash, read on!
1. Hydrate and Eat Well.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to fuel your body when you are breastfeeding. Your body requires extra calories to produce an adequate amount of milk. I know it can be challenging to eat full meals with a newborn, and you may be hesitant to eat because, let's face it, we are all trying to lose that extra baby weight still. My recommendation would be to keep several healthy, high protein, easy snacks and meals around your house. Fruits, veggies, hardboiled eggs, Cliff bars, nuts, and salads with lots of greens are some of my favorite things to keep on hand. They are weight-loss friendly, quick and easy, and nutritious. Hydration is key to a good breastmilk supply as well. You should strive to drink AT LEAST one gallon of water per day. This will also help with burning extra baby weight, so it's a win-win.
2. Eat Oatmeal
You've probably heard this recommendation before, and that's because it works! I try to eat oatmeal for breakfast at least twice a week, but when my supply had really taken a hit I ate oatmeal every day until it improved. I know oatmeal can be boring, so feel free to add whatever you'd like to make it enjoyable. I usually add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed (which can also help with supply!), some brown sugar, and a sliced banana.
3. Body Armor Drinks
Many people swear by the Body Armor drinks for a supply boost. The electrolytes, vitamins, and coconut water in the drinks are great for your supply and good for you! The drinks do contain sugar, so I wouldn't go too crazy, but I drank one Body Armor every morning and noticed my breasts feeling fuller by the next feed. They come in a variety of flavors also and they taste great!
Skin to skin contact with your baby is not only proven to have a number of benefits for baby—such as regulated heart and respiratory rate and improved bond with you—it can also help boost your supply! I strive to fit in at least 30 minutes of skin-to-skin with my son daily, but you could even go above and beyond that. Hold your little one close and often!
5. Frequent Pumping or Nursing
Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. Your body produces the amount of milk it believes your baby needs. If you skip a feeding and give formula instead, your body will think that your baby is eating less often and in turn will produce less milk. Similarly, if your baby is nursing often or you are pumping often, your body will produce more milk to keep up with demand. If you are pumping, try not to go more than 2–3 hours between pump sessions. I typically just made it a habit of pumping every time my son ate when I was exclusively pumping. If you're nursing, let your baby latch and nurse as often as he wants! Don't be afraid to allow some comfort nursing when you can as well, it's great for your bond with baby and your milk supply.
6. Power Pumping
This goes along with the supply and demand issue as well. If your supply needs a boost, I highly encourage you to power pump once or twice a day. I personally power pumped every morning after waking because that is when your supply is typically at it's best. There are different power pumping schedules you can follow, but I typically followed this regimen:
- Pump for 20 minutes.
- Rest for 10 minutes.
- Pump for 10 minutes.
- Rest for 10 minutes.
- Pump for 10 minutes.
The idea of power pumping is that it mimics the cluster feeding newborns do when they are going through a growth spurt, thus signaling your body to produce more milk. I noticed that once I started power pumping, my supply increased by the following day.
7. Legendairy Milk Supplements
Last but certainly not least, my secret weapon—Legendairy Milk supplements. Legendairy Milk is a website that makes a number of supplements to help increase not only breastmilk supply but the quality of your breastmilk as well. The first supplement I tried of theirs when my supply had hit rock bottom was Liquid Gold. I noticed after two days on Liquid Gold my supply had increased by 1–2 oz per pump session, and by day three on this supplement, my supply had more than DOUBLED. I went from pumping 1.5–2 oz every three hours to pumping 8–10 oz every three hours. This allowed me to build up a freezer stash and feed my son. It SAVED my supply. I still use Liquid Gold daily, as well as their Lechita supplement. My son suffers from reflux and bad gas, and Lechita is formulated to help with those things as well as colic! All Legendairy Milk supplements are gluten-free, natural and organic—so ANYONE can take them. You can check out all of the Legendairy supplements at legendairymilk.com
So there you have it! This is how I went from an under-producer to an over-producer in just THREE DAYS. Have any other questions about my breastfeeding journey or about boosting your supply? Comment below! Don't forget to follow me here and on Instagram for more helpful motherhood posts.