Nutrition is a major concern for many new mothers, especially for those who are breastfeeding. After all, how do you know if your baby is getting enough milk when they’re nursing? Pumping and then using a bottle can help, but even then, many mothers worry that they won’t be able to produce enough milk – but what can you do?
In general, it’s okay to trust that your body is producing enough milk – unless you have indications otherwise, such as infant weight loss or apparent hunger. If you still want to give your body a little boost, though, these natural strategies can encourage your body to make more milk.
Having a new baby can be exhausting, but physical activity benefits your postpartum body in several ways, including by increasing breast milk production. Though the research behind this strategy is still relatively new and may have more to do with exercise’s effect on mood and anxiety in new mothers, it may also be the case that moderate exercise does actually trigger increased milk production. It certainly can’t hurt to try!
Leading a healthy lifestyle is an important part of establishing a strong breastfeeding relationship, and one part of this is to make sure that you’re drinking enough water. The standard eight glasses of water a day recommendation isn’t enough for most people, even when not breastfeeding, but if your body is making food for someone else, you’re going to need to drink that much more water. A dehydrated mom can’t make enough liquid nutrients for her baby.
Try Power Pumping
Different types of nipple stimulation can go a long way towards encouraging your body to produce more milk, but one of the most effective approaches may be power pumping – a practice that imitates a baby’s cluster feeding schedule. If you’re interested in trying power-pumping, make sure that you actually have a need to increase your supply and that your breast pump can safely be used this frequently.
Ultimately, though, your body produces milk on a supply and demand basis, so if you’re pumping or nursing frequently, your body should produce more milk in response to that pattern.
Embrace Herbal Enhancement
There are a lot of folk remedies that are said to increase breast milk production, but not all of them are safe. Two herbs that you can trust, however, are blessed thistle and fenugreek, which can be found in supplements, tea, or even baked into cookies. Mother’s Milk tea is also a popular option and combines several safe herbs that are supposed to increase milk supply.
Stick With It
If you’re going to be successful in breastfeeding, you need to stick with the process, pumping on a schedule and feeding on demand. As long as your baby is growing appropriately, you should also avoid supplementing with formula, since that will reduce demand, and thus reduce your overall milk production.
Though some women will struggle significantly with milk production and nutrition, in most cases, the problem is more emotional – driven by maternal anxiety – than the facts of the situation.
With determination and belief in yourself, it all will be okay.