7 Lactation Boosters to Increase Your Breastmilk Supply - Milk Supply Mama

7 Lactation Boosters to Increase Your Breastmilk Supply

Last Updated: January 8, 2024By 13.4 min read

Hey there, fellow mamas! I’m so excited to have you here, joining me on this wild and wonderful journey that is motherhood. If you’re anything like me when I was a new mom, you’re likely navigating an ocean of advice, facing a pile of questions, and dealing with a dash of self-doubt. Most importantly, you’re probably trying to figure out the best ways to keep your precious little one nourished and happy. Am I right?

Breastfeeding can be an incredible experience, but let’s be real, it’s not always a walk in the park. I remember those early days – the late-night feeds, the worry about whether my little one was getting enough to eat, and those moments when I felt like my milk supply was more of a trickle than a river.

That’s why I want to talk about something that made a world of difference for me and might just do the same for you – lactation boosters. Lactation boosters are foods, herbs, or practices that can help increase your milk supply. They’re like a little secret weapon that can give your body a nudge to ramp up milk production.

Now, if you’re wondering, “Why would I need lactation boosters? Isn’t my body supposed to naturally produce milk?” You’re absolutely correct. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, our bodies need a little help. And that’s perfectly okay. Maybe you’ve had a stressful day, or perhaps your baby is going through a growth spurt and seems hungrier than usual. It’s in times like these that lactation boosters can be beneficial.

So, join me as we delve into the world of lactation boosters. I’ll be sharing my top seven favorites that helped me increase my milk supply and made my breastfeeding journey a lot smoother. Trust me, with a little patience and the right resources, you’ll be a breastfeeding pro in no time!

Article Overview

The Importance of Breastmilk

Breastmilk is often hailed as ‘liquid gold,’ and for good reason! It’s an amazing, all-natural resource packed with the perfect blend of nutrients your baby needs for growth and development. Plus, it’s always ready, at the right temperature, and free!

Let’s start with the benefits for your little one. Breastmilk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It’s got the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat – everything your baby needs to grow. But it’s not just about nutrition. Breastmilk is also packed with antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. That’s why breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies and reduces the number of ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea they may have.

But the benefits of breastfeeding aren’t just for your baby, they extend to you too, mama! Breastfeeding can help your health and wellbeing in a number of ways. It can help you lose pregnancy weight, as your body uses extra calories to make milk. Not to mention, it’s a great way to bond with your baby and can save you a pretty penny compared to the cost of formula.

Despite all these benefits, I know firsthand that breastfeeding can come with its fair share of worries, especially for new moms. One of the biggest concerns is often about milk supply. Questions like “Am I making enough milk?” or “Is my baby getting enough to eat?” are incredibly common. I remember I used to worry about every single feeding, especially when my baby seemed fussy or wanted to feed more often than usual.

But here’s the thing: It’s normal to worry, and it’s okay to seek help or use resources like lactation boosters if you need them. Remember, breastfeeding is a journey, and it’s different for everyone. Some days will be easier than others, and that’s okay. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your baby. And today, we’re going to explore some tools that might just make that journey a little smoother!

Understanding Milk Supply

Before we jump into the world of lactation boosters, it’s important to understand a little bit about how milk production works. You see, breastfeeding is a demand and supply process. The more your baby nurses, the more milk your body produces. It’s like your baby puts in an order, and your body works overtime to fulfill it!

When your baby suckles at your breast, it stimulates the production of prolactin, a hormone that signals your body to produce more milk. This is why frequent feeding or pumping is often recommended to increase milk supply.

However, various factors can affect your milk supply. Stress, for instance, can interfere with the release of oxytocin, another hormone that’s crucial for milk production and let-down. Lack of sleep and inadequate nutrition can also impact your milk supply. Some physical factors, like certain medications or health conditions, can affect milk production as well.

While we’re on the topic, let’s debunk a few common myths about milk supply.

Myth 1: “If my breasts feel soft or don’t leak, I’m not producing enough milk.”

Truth: The feel of your breasts or leaking are not accurate signs of your milk production. Some women never experience leaking, and as your body adjusts to breastfeeding, your breasts might not feel as full.

Myth 2: “My baby wants to nurse all the time, so I must not be making enough milk.”

Truth: Frequent nursing doesn’t necessarily mean low milk supply. Babies nurse for many reasons – hunger, comfort, or during growth spurts when they naturally need more milk.

Myth 3: “I can’t pump much milk, so I must not have enough.”

Truth: The amount of milk you can pump isn’t a reliable indicator of your milk supply. Some women don’t respond as well to pumps, and a baby’s suckling is more efficient than a pump.

Understanding these nuances about milk production can help ease some of the stress and confusion that often comes with breastfeeding. And remember, it’s absolutely okay to seek help or use tools like lactation boosters to support your breastfeeding journey!

7 Lactation Boosters to Increase Breastmilk Supply

Now, let’s dive into the heart of the matter – lactation boosters. These are the seven I found most helpful during my breastfeeding journey:

1. Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an herb that has been used for centuries by breastfeeding women to boost their milk supply. It’s not entirely clear why fenugreek works, but it may have something to do with the phytoestrogens that fenugreek contains, which are plant chemicals similar to estrogen. A 2018 review of studies showed a significant increase in the amount of milk produced by mothers who took fenugreek. The recommended dosage varies depending on the form of fenugreek consumed. For instance, those drinking herbal tea can steep 1 teaspoon of whole fenugreek seeds in a cup of boiling water for about 15 minutes and sip two or three times a day. If taken in capsule form, a dose of 2 to 3 capsules (580 to 610 milligrams per capsule) three or four times per day is recommended. Some mothers may see an increase in milk production in as little as 24 to 72 hours, while others may have to wait about 2 weeks. Fenugreek is generally well-tolerated, but some common potential side effects include vomiting, nausea, gas, diarrhea, and urine that smells like maple syrup. If you’re pregnant, you should avoid fenugreek as it can cause uterine contractions​​.

2. Brewer’s Yeast

This is a type of yeast that’s rich in B vitamins, iron, protein, chromium, selenium, and other minerals that nursing moms need. Many moms swear by it for boosting milk supply. You can add brewer’s yeast to smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods. I remember making lactation cookies with a spoonful of brewer’s yeast, and they were a tasty treat that helped with my milk supply!

3. Hydration

This one may seem obvious, but it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning. Staying well-hydrated is essential for maintaining your milk supply. Breastmilk is about 88% water, so drinking plenty of fluids can help keep your supply up. Try to drink a glass of water each time you nurse, or carry a water bottle with you to sip throughout the day. I found that infusing my water with fruits like lemon or strawberries made it more refreshing and encouraged me to drink more.

4. Oatmeal

Oats are rich in iron and other nutrients, and low iron levels can inhibit milk supply, so it’s no wonder that oatmeal is often recommended as a lactation booster. Plus, it’s a comforting, easy-to-make meal. You can enjoy oatmeal for breakfast, or make oatmeal cookies or granola bars for a snack. I used to start my day with a bowl of oatmeal topped with fruits and a sprinkle of flaxseeds – another great lactation booster!

5. Healthy Fats

Healthy fats play a vital role in hormone production, including the hormones needed for lactation. Sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon. I made it a point to include these in my diet, and not only did they help with my milk supply, but they kept me feeling satisfied and energized too.

6. Skin-to-Skin Contact

Holding your baby skin-to-skin can boost your milk supply by stimulating the production of breastfeeding hormones. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to bond with your baby. Whenever possible, I used to spend some time each day holding my little one against my bare skin, usually right after a bath or during a nap.

7. Pumping Strategy

Power pumping is a strategy that works by frequently emptying the breasts, similar to how a baby would during a growth spurt. It’s not intended to replace all nursing or pumping sessions, but rather to be done in addition to regular feedings or to replace at least one pumping session if away from the baby. A common power pumping schedule involves setting aside an hour to pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, and then pump for another 10 minutes. This can be done once or twice a day until an increase in milk supply is observed. For those who cannot allocate a full hour, it can be split into two 30-minute sessions instead. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of power pumping lies in how frequently you can empty your breasts, not necessarily the duration of the pumping​​.

Remember, while these lactation boosters can be helpful, they’re not magic bullets. It’s important to focus on overall good nutrition, adequate rest, and taking care of your mental and emotional health. These general recommendations should always be complemented by personalized advice from a healthcare provider or lactation consultant, as individual responses to these strategies can vary.

Other Tips for Increasing Milk Supply

In addition to the lactation boosters we’ve already discussed, here are some other lifestyle changes and practices that can support milk production:

Breastfeed on Demand:

One of the most effective ways to increase your milk supply is to breastfeed on demand. This means feeding your baby whenever they show signs of hunger, rather than sticking to a strict feeding schedule. The frequent stimulation can help signal your body to produce more milk.

Proper Latching:

Ensuring your baby is latching properly is crucial. An improper latch can lead to less effective milk removal, which can in turn affect your milk supply. If you’re having trouble with latching, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant or your healthcare provider for help.

Rest and Relaxation:

Believe it or not, getting enough rest can impact your milk supply. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone that can interfere with milk production. So, try to nap when your baby naps and ensure you’re taking time to relax throughout the day.

Reducing Stress:

Speaking of stress, high stress levels can also affect your milk supply. While it’s easier said than done, especially with a new baby, try to find ways to manage stress. This could be through exercise, meditation, or even just taking a few minutes for yourself each day.

Healthy Diet:

Eating a balanced diet can help support milk production. This doesn’t mean you need to follow a strict or specific diet, but rather focus on eating a variety of foods to ensure you’re getting a broad range of nutrients. This includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein sources, and healthy fats.

Remember, it’s normal for milk supply to fluctuate and it’s okay to ask for help if you’re concerned about your milk supply. Every breastfeeding journey is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. The most important thing is to do what feels right for you and your baby.

FAQ Section On Lactation Boosters To Increase Milk Supply

In this section, we’ll address some common questions and concerns about lactation boosters and milk supply:

How long does it take for lactation boosters to work?

The time it takes for lactation boosters to work can vary greatly depending on the individual and the booster used. For example, some mothers might notice an increase in milk production within 24 to 72 hours after starting to use fenugreek, while others might need to wait about two weeks​1​. It’s important to remember that results can vary and it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider or lactation consultant if you have concerns.

Are there any side effects of using lactation boosters?

The potential for side effects depends on the lactation booster in question. For example, some common potential side effects of fenugreek include vomiting, nausea, gas, and diarrhea​1​. As with any new supplement or dietary change, it’s important to monitor how your body responds and consult with a healthcare provider if you notice any unusual or concerning symptoms.

How do I know if I’m producing enough milk for my baby?

Many mothers worry about whether they’re producing enough milk for their baby. Some signs that your baby is getting enough milk include regular weight gain, producing about six wet diapers a day, and appearing satisfied after feedings. If you’re concerned about your baby’s weight gain or if they’re not producing enough wet diapers, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider.

Can I combine different lactation boosters?

Yes, you can combine different lactation boosters. However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body responds differently to lactation boosters. What works for one person might not work for another. Additionally, while some lactation boosters, like healthy fats and hydration, can be easily incorporated into your daily routine, others, like fenugreek and brewer’s yeast, should be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider or lactation consultant.

Remember, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider or lactation consultant if you have questions or concerns about your milk supply or the use of lactation boosters. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and circumstances.

Lactation Boosters: Are They Right For Your Journey?

Whew, that was a lot, wasn’t it? But here’s the thing: breastfeeding, like parenting, isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. Each of us is unique, and what works for one mom might not work for another. But that’s okay. It’s more than okay, in fact. It’s normal.

Remember, these lactation boosters are just tools in your toolbox. They can be incredibly helpful, but they’re not the only factor in successful breastfeeding. Things like getting enough rest, reducing stress, and breastfeeding on demand also play a huge role in milk production. So while trying these lactation boosters, don’t forget to take care of yourself too.

If you’re worried about your milk supply or if you’re not sure if these lactation boosters are right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant. They’re there to support you and can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and circumstances.

Remember, you’re doing an amazing job just by being here, trying to learn and do the best for your little one. And no matter what, always remember that your worth as a mom isn’t measured in ounces or milliliters. It’s measured in the love, care, and effort you put into nurturing your baby. You’ve got this, momma!

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