MAMA, GOT MILK? HOW TO BUILD UP & MAINTAIN YOUR MILK SUPPLY
Most breastfeeding moms wonder whether they have enough milk to satisfy their baby's hunger. No fret mamas! Below are ways to build up and maintain the milk supply that’s just right for your baby:
Feed Your Baby On Demand. The first few weeks after birth are particularly important to establish your milk supply. The more you nurse the more milk you produce. It takes a few days after baby’s birth for you milk to come in, in the meantime, your baby is feeding on colostrum, which is ultra-rich in nutrients and antibodies, and exactly what your baby needs to build up immunity.
Manage Expectations. Know in advance that your baby will most likely want to be attached to your breast ALL THE TIME. It is normal and it is good for both you and your milk supply. Relax, sit back and enjoy the quality time with your little one.
Alternate Boobs. Once your baby empties one breast, make sure to offer the other one, or make sure to start on the other one for your next feed. This way you get both breasts producing milk.
Avoid Supplementing With Formula. Remember that if your baby drinks formula he is missing a feed on your breast, therefore not stimulating your body to produce more milk. The more you supplement with formula, the less milk you will produce.
Pump When You Miss a Feed. If you have to be away from your baby and miss a feed, bring a hand held pump with you and make sure to pump when your baby would have normally fed. However, remember that pumping does not empty your breast as well as your baby’s sucking. Try Medela’s Harmony manual pump. Super light, great for travel and fits in your purse.
Take a Nursing Vacation. Really enjoy the time you nurse with your baby and don’t think of it as a chore. Think of it as an excuse to relax and bond with your baby. Take a few days and go on a “nursecation” where you stay in bed, cuddle and nurse your baby. This is especially beneficial if you’ve missed feeds or have gone through a stressful period, which also decreases milk supply.
Get Support. There are few things as important as a strong support network, especially in the beginning of your breastfeeding journey. There are plenty of online forums with other moms going through exactly the same thing as you. Try Nursing and Pumping Moms on Facebook. The closed group has almost 7,000 members and moms are available around the clock to support you.
Ignore the Naysayers. Does your mother-in-law tell you that her babies grew up just fine on formula? And that your milk may not be enough to satisfy your baby? Tell your husband to get her off your back and remember that she is just jealous that your younger perkier boobs are exactly what your baby needs for nutrition and consolation.
Drink Water. If you’re dehydrated you will produce less milk so make sure to always have a bottle of water near you and eat lots of fruits and veggies, which rehydrate you a well.
Eat Well. Breastfeeding is draining and requires lots of energy. Make sure you eat enough good calories per day to give you the energy and nutrients you need to feed your baby.
Get Professional Help. Consult a lactation specialist for whatever problems you may be having breastfeeding. They specialize in the clinical management of breastfeeding and are experts who can help you overcome obstacles on your breastfeeding journey.