Whiny Wednesday: How To Increase Milk Supply ~ I Heart Heels

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Whiny Wednesday: How To Increase Milk Supply

how to increase milk supply when nursing baby
Hey, y'all! I realize that some of you just wanna read about heels, so bear with me and come back another day. ;) And hang with me because there will be much more of that in a few...right now I'm really focused on baby, bouncing my body back from baby (sorry, but it's the truth!) and, well, nursing. I'm so proud I've made it this far because (duh) it's not easy. I thought the second time around would be a cinch...ahhhhh I've got this! And, I guess, in some ways, nursing has been easier this time (she's a pro!) and others not. The biggest reason it's been a little harder is probably because I set larger goals for myself. So far, I've breastfed baby L. exclusively (no formula), and she'll be four months very soon.

Being a stay-at-home mom makes this much easier, I know, and I commend all you working mamas who have to pump all day. I pump maybe three times a day just so I can have a break to exercise and run an errand. Except, remember that week baby L went to the ER? Let me tell you. Stress affects milk supply, and it did mine. It went from plenty to not much at all...just like that. I couldn't believe it! So, I saw a lactation consultant (which I highly recommend) and she helped me figure out that it was indeed my supply that was making baby L. pull off and fuss. (I had been having to use pumped milk to help me get this.) We figured she was getting some from me, but not nearly enough. And since she was sick, her weight was lower at the doctor, so I began to panic about that as well. I just knew formula was around the corner. (Not to say formula is bad...I actually have some in my cabinet ready to use as soon as I need it. That's the thing, if I need it, I'll use it. If not, there's no point in ruining what we've got going.)

I began to do several things to get my milk supply back up:

1. Fenugreek pills. I bought the Gaia brand from Whole Foods, which is a really good brand (the pills are like $30, so it better be!). I took them for about a week...three time a day with my meals. It made me smell like maple syrup, which is weird, but I do believe they helped. But there are things you should know about this herb, so see my note after #2.

2. Fenugreek chocolate bars. (See the yumminess above.) There's a lovely online company called Mrs. Patel's, and they have lots of goodies for nursing mothers...to help with milk supply! I believe they work as well as I noticed an increase right away. And who doesn't wanna munch on chocolate bars all day?! But...read here before you try.

These bars contain wheat, dairy and nuts. You should only take them *after* delivery, and...if you have blood sugar issues like diabetes or thyroid issues, or if you're taking certain blood clotting meds, please don't take or eat fenugreek. Unfortunately, I have blood sugar issues and found this out the hard way. Luckily, I realized and researched immediately after I ate just one bar. I had wondered why I had been dizzy after the pills as well. So basically, fenugreek can be a wonderful tool IF you are able to take it. Just make sure you can. I think this fact gets overlooked a lot, so I wanted to make you aware. 

3. Drinks tons of water! (This one is so hard for me. I literally have to make myself find the time.) Oh, and eat oats. I have these gluten-free granola bars I buy at Whole Foods and who knows if they've helped, but they haven't hurt!

4. Pump and feed often. When my supply got low, I was advised by the LC to pump after every feed, if I could. So, even though it was very time-consuming, I did it and it helped. I won't say it wasn't stressful that week though. It took about a week for my milk to get back to normal. 

5. If you've just had a baby, start pumping soon to save up milk. I waited a couple weeks, but even so, was able to save about 10 bags in the freezer. These bags are what got me through my low supply. It was like a blessing sent from above because I had exactly the amount I needed to keep feeding my baby while I worked on my supply.

6. Don't give up. Sure, if it's completely destroying you, do give it. It's not the end of the world to give formula. I realize this. But if you can keep going, keep going. It's so rewarding to mama and baby, and here we are another month out and I never thought we'd be here. Isn't motherhood a crazy fun ride?!

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