Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bringing In and Maintaining Your Milk Supply

So we are now just past six weeks and our little guy is just under 12 pounds, so he is getting bigger and happier. My wife asked me to do check to see how to increase her milk supply. Here is what I found:

  • When do you start? If you can, start pumping within the first six hours after your baby’s birth. As soon as possible, pump at least 8-10 times every 24 hours. This is how many times each day your baby would be breastfeeding. In general, the more times each day you pump, the more milk you make. The reverse is true, too. The less you pump, the less milk you make.
  • Until your milk "comes in" on Day 3 or 4, pump at least 10-15 minutes per breast.
  • Pump at least once during the night. Don’t go longer than about 5 hours between pumpings. (Full breasts make milk slower.)
  • Get enough rest and eat regularly.
  • Drink plenty of water, herbal teas, and other liquids throughout the day.
  • Drinks that increase milk supply:
    • Fennel, fenugreek (in a tea or capsule form). Mother’s milk tea (Traditional Medicinals or Yogi brands).
      Teas made from nettles and raspberry leaf
    • Dark/stout beers, especially Guinness.
    • Amazake rice shakes in almond and hazelnut flavors (available in the refrigerated section at the Coop and Back to the Land).
    • The book Wise Woman Herbal recommends the following herbal infusions: comfrey, alfafa, red clover, and borage leaves.
    • Barley water (prepared by soaking 1/2 cup pearled barley in 3cups cold water overnight or boiling 25 minutes, then pour 1 cup boiling barley water over 1 tsp fennel seeds which you steep no longer than 30 minutes.
Foods that increase milk supply:
  • Helpful foods include beets, leafy greens, shrimp, oatmeal, whole grains, brown basmati rice, and black sesame seeds.
  • According to the book Wise Woman Herbal, other good foods include apricots, asparagus, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, pecans, parsley, watercress, and dandelion leaves.
Things that decrease milk supply:
  • Mint tea – if you are an herbal tea drinker, make sure none of your tea has mint in it.
  • Sage
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol (with the exception of dark/stout beers).
  • Stress/Worrying about your milk supply!
What are some other suggestions that you may have tried or have heard about?


Rob Monroe said...

My wife had some success with fenugreek, against all odds really.

As an added bonus, she started to smell like maple pancake syrup. No, really!

BellyBug said...

Initially I had a lot of milk and now not that much, despite not having changed my diet, figures, but I'll try some of ur tips. Thanks for the great info.


Papaya soup. I did that.

David said...

Drinking allot of fluids also helps! We tried this already. :-)

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