Rebuilding Your Milk Supply - Woodmam

Rebuilding Your Milk Supply - Woodmam

If extra milk calms your baby’s crying and you want to rebuild your milk supply, you probably can. Speak to your doctor, a lactation consultant, or a La Leche League leader for advice. You can try some of these remedies too:

1. Diagnose the Problem

Sometimes poor feeding is caused by a “mommy problem.” You may be trying to put your baby on the breast incorrectly. Or you may have flat nipples, a thyroid problem, fatigue, pain, poor nutrition, and—rarely—insufficient breast tissue. If your nipples are cracked or sore, speak with your doctor to make sure you don’t have a yeast infection. Also you can try letting a little of your milk dry on them after each feeding. Breast milk contains special factors that speed the healing of irritated skin.

Poor feeding may also be caused by a “baby problem.” Some babies have a hard time getting the hang of nursing. Some are weak, some are “lazy,” some suck their tongue instead of your nipple, a few are tongue-tied, and others are just plain confused and try to bite instead of suckle.

Regardless of the cause, if you are having pain or any nursing problem, get help as soon as possible.

2. Increase Your Supply. Once you know your breasts are fine and your baby is sucking well, the next step is increasing your milk supply. Here’s how:

Eat well and get as much rest as you can.

Empty your breasts frequently. Nurse your baby every two to three hours (during your waking hours). Some lactation consultants recommend that moms use only one breast per feeding; however, especially when you want to build up your milk supply, I think it’s best to switch breasts frequently (move her from one breast to the other every seven to ten minutes until she stops wanting to suck).

If you are not too tired or overwhelmed, you may build up your milk supply further by pumping or expressing milk once or twice a day. I recommend pumping for five to ten minutes before the first feeding of the morning, or whenever your breasts feel the fullest. Don’t worry about depriving your baby of milk. You’ll remove some foremilk, but that still leaves the rich hindmilk for her to enjoy. After a few days you should notice your supply increasing.

Use imagery while you’re nursing or pumping to increase milk production. Get comfortable and imagine your favorite safe, relaxing place and visualize your breasts making lots of milk. One mother I know imagined lying in the sun on a tropical island, with rivers of milk flowing out of her breasts to the ocean, turning the seas white—it worked!

Try some fenugreek tea or a product called Mother’s Milk tea made of fennel, anise, mint, and fenugreek to stimulate your breasts’ milk glands.

Ask your doctor about prescription medications that help increase your milk supply or the letting down of the milk you already have. Also ask if you need your thyroid checked.

3. Supplement Your Baby’s Breast Milk with Some Formula. You could also help your hungry baby by giving her pumped milk or formula. This can be given in a teaspoon, eye dropper, or syringe, but it is often best to use a feeding device called a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). The SNS is a bag of milk connected to a soft, strawlike tube, which allows the baby to drink from the bag and the breast simultaneously. This method helps a woman rebuild her milk supply without teaching her baby the wrong way to suckle, a problem that may occur when nursing babies are given too many bottles.
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