When you think about caring for a newborn baby, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Whatever your answer, you may have considered breastfeeding. Whether you feed your baby directly from the breast or express breast milk with a pump, you would know that your breast milk is the best way to provide them with the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Nature may not bless all mothers with a consistent and productive supply of breastmilk; some may often struggle when breastfeeding. It is normal and common but there are some ways you can increase your milk supply.
Your nutrition matters
There is a saying that you are what you eat – when you eat well, you feel well. Prioritising your nutrition and health, especially when you have a baby to take care of, is crucial as it can impact breast milk supply and quality.
There is not much research on whether there are such things as milk-boosting foods or if they are effective enough to help with lactation. Foods commonly said to increase milk supply are fennel, fenugreek, and chickpeas, and they have one thing in common – the specific properties that make them a possible galactagogue. They are said to have plant estrogens or estrogenic properties that help to increase milk supply and promote lactation. However, they may not positively impact every lactating mother.
The key is still to eat a well-balanced diet and live a healthy lifestyle to maintain a stable milk supply. Seek professional help from a lactation consultant if necessary.
Massage before pumping or latching
Performing a simple massage on your breasts before pumping or latching your baby can help to increase milk supply. If you have a Hegen PCTOTM Double Electric Breast Pump, it will be the perfect tool you can use on yourself. Do it by placing the kneading ring massager on specific meridian points for 15 seconds each, and you might notice a surge in breastmilk. Massaging will improve your blood circulation and milk flow, making pumping and breastfeeding a smooth sailing and painless experience.
Increase frequency of latching or pumping
Your body’s system reacts to breastfeeding by supplying milk when there is a demand due to the hormone prolactin. Prolactin levels increase the more you nurse, stimulating your body to produce more milk as you go.
To stimulate more milk production, we recommend you pump or latch your baby regularly at 2 to 3-hour intervals. Try pumping for 10 minutes on each side after latching to stimulate the production of more milk.
Try your hand at power pumping by pumping with your electric breast pump for about 10 to 20 minutes and resting for 5 to 10; repeat this cycle for another two or three cycles. Be mindful not to overdo it to prevent any breast or nipple soreness.
Stay positive and encourage yourself
Maintaining a positive mindset is the best way to approach your problem. Keep happy and positive to produce more oxytocin, known to some as the love hormone, for breast milk production. This hormone plays a huge role in motherhood, signalling your body to go into labour and release breast milk.
There are many easy ways to increase oxytocin levels, like physical touch. Get a hug from your partner and loved ones or ask them to give you a relaxing massage – as your happiness and satisfaction increase, the hormone levels do too.
It is important to encourage yourself. Do not compare your yield with others; everyone is different in many ways, and your obstacles do not define you. If you notice others putting you down, perhaps you can let your husband manage discouraging comments from family members and let him have your back. Being a mother can be challenging, having a reliable support system goes a long way.
Love is not measured in millimetres. Even if you have a lesser milk supply than expected, it does not mean you are not doing enough as a mother. Motherhood can be an unexpected journey, seek help and advice when you need.
Hegen Lactation Centre provides lactation consultation services to assist you and assess the breastfeeding issues you may face. Our highly qualified and friendly lactation consultants will know what is best for you and your baby, keeping you comfortable and cared for. Visit our website today to discover more.