How to increase breast milk supply for breastfeeding? I will be sharing with you in this article 5 effective steps on how to increase breast milk supply during breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is recommended for babies less than 6 months of age. One of the most common questions is how to increase breast milk supply to sufficiently provide to their little ones. The breast milk is the best thing a mother can give to nourish her child after her child is born and it’s FREE!! Some mothers even breastfeed her child for 3 years or more! The power of motherly’s love is just unconditional.
No.1 Galactagogue Food
Some food ingredients are able to booster your milk supply. Choose one of these ingredients in your daily meal and experience it. Sometimes, the effect may not be as great as others and it is solely depends on individual eating/drinking habit, sufficient sleep/rest and stress level. Here are some examples,
- Pork knuckles – there is no scientific evidence that eating pork knuckles may increase lactation. However, I found pork knuckles cook with ginger and black vinegar is efficient to boost my milk supply during confinement period. It is one of common dishes found in Chinese family. If you find it too high calories, you may eat them once in a while.
- Spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric and cumin. Garlic and ginger are two common spices you can find in most family cooking. They are one of the best ingredients which are not only enhance the flavor but their health benefits. Garlic is also believed to reduce colic in babies.
- Green papaya – this is highly recommended if you can find green papaya very easily. You may cook the green papaya in pork or chicken soup. Consume the soup and the papaya too. It is to increase the oxytocin which in turn increase your milk supply.
- Oatmeal – it is rich in iron and it increases the milk supply because there is enough red blood cell. Woman with anemia will experience low milk supply.
- Nut and seed– Nuts help with production of serotonin which is essential for milk production.
- Green leaves vegetable like broccoli, kailan, spinach etc– they are rich in iron which is essential for milk production too.
- Fish especially salmon – salmon fish is known to increase lactation and its nutritional value which contain DHA and omega 3 are benefiting both mother and child.
No 2 Massage
Breast massage can promote milk production. How does it work? Well, there are studies to show that practicing breast massage while breastfeeding and pumping helps increase milk output by up to 48%! Hand compression and massage help to compress the ducts and empty the breast more effectively. In fact, massaging alone does not directly increase milk supply, it will help you empty the breast more effectively which then give signals to your body to produce more.
Some breasts pump in the market has come with a breast massage function in the first few minutes of pumping to stimulate the milk production. Research shows that babies initially use short, fast sucks to stimulate the milk production, once the milk start to flow, babies change to slower, individual rhythm to actually feed. There is a kind of breasts pump in the market which has developed 2 phase expression technology into their breasts pump to mimic baby’s sucking rhythm (from fast to slow) to promote milk production during pumping. Similarly, some other brands do have a massage function/ mode like Spectra and Cimilre which have same intention to stimulate the milk production.
No 3 Supplements
If food and massage do not really work well on you, you also may try some supplement which are useful for lactation mother. They are easily gotten from local pharmacies. Here are some examples, supplement which contain the following ingredients
- fenugreek seed
- anise seed
- blessed thistle
- fennel seed
- caraway seed
- alfalfa leaf
- stinging nettle leaf
- milk thistle seed
- red raspberry leaf
- mashmarrow root
- goat’s rue
- oat e.g lactation cookies
Some supplements comes with combination of herbs in the form of capsule or liquid, some appear in herbal tea bags or milk powder. These herbs are galactagogue (promote mother’s milk flow) herbs and fenugreek is one of the most commonly used for milk booster. I previously have written about the supplements to increase breast milk, click here to read more details.
No 4 Lifestyle
There are at least three important living lifestyles you should adopt:
- Drink more liquid and keep yourself hydrated. Drink more plain water, or variety of soup in your daily diet (Chinese families like to cook using ingredients such as prawn, pork knuckles, chicken, peanuts, soybean, red bean, red date, dry longan, beancurd etc in their soup or porridge recipes). Without enough water, you will experience decrease in milk supply.
- Have enough rest / sleep. Lack of rest or sufficient sleep will increase your cortisol level in your blood stream which will lead to decrease in milk supply. Similarly, to woman who is having stress or depression during the breastfeeding period.
- Let the baby direct latching to breastfeed or keep pumping using a breast pump or manual milk collector (to collect let-down) when baby is not around. Breast milk is produced based on demand and supply concept. If babies are well-fed and both breast are emptied at every each feed, our body will automatically produce more.
No 5 No mixing with formula
Avoid mix feeding (breastfeed and formula feed). Usually you will encounter low milk supply. You body will know how much to produce (which will not produce more) to feed your baby. Furthermore, feeding using bottle will sometimes create baby’s confusion. Some like it and some don’t like it. For those who like sucking in the bottle will less latching and end up decrease in milk supply. Milk stimulation is best with babies latching directly.
Food to avoid when breastfeeding
Sometimes there are food we eat which may cause sudden drop in our milk supply. Here are most commonly food examples,
- Cabbage – eating cabbage or placing cold cabbage leave on your breast can reduce breast engorgement or decrease your milk supply.
- Vitamin B6 – some research stated vitamin B6 is blocking lactation and reducing the prolactin hormone which inhibit the secretion of breast milk.
- Sage tea – normally if oversupply mom will try to reduce their milk supply or they are in the progress of weaning off the babies, use sage tea. Just infuse 1 tablespoonful of dried sage, in one cup of boiling water, leave for 15 minutes. Have it 2-6 times a day.
- Jasmine flower – apply crush Jasmine flowers to reduce milk production.
A simple concept for all the nursing moms, let babies direct latching is the best stimulator. Due to unforeseen condition, we will face decrease in milk supply sometimes. So, I hope the top 5 tips will enhance our knowledge and you will find them useful in your breastfeeding journey.