Breastfeeding can sometimes be hard enough without having to worry about your milk supply drying up or not producing enough to satisfy your little one. Here are some great do's and don't to help you boost your milk supply. Along with some things to avoid that can cause it to slow. I pumped for 8-15 months with both of my daughters so I've dealt with the struggles and stress involved. Trust me you aren't alone. I felt like I was searing how to boost your milk supply while pumping nearly every day. Feel free to reach out if you have additional questions. I pumped every meal and used breastfeeding bottles for both of my girls because I couldn't nurse at the breast. This is a list of things my lactation specialist mention to me, along with items that I bought and used during my pumping journey.
Things to avoid while breastfeeding because it will lower your milk supply
- Stress: There is a reason doctors always ask “Are you under a lot of stress lately?” Because it affects our entire bodies, so your milk supply can suffer also. Try to do something to relax and give yourself a break.
- Poor Latch: If the baby is not latching properly they are also not getting a lot of milk at each feeding. Which causes your body to think that it has produced enough. This could be for any reason, position, tongue-tied or high pallet (which mine had).
- Alcohol: Alcohol suppresses lactation. It also transfers to your bloodstream and therefore your milk. It takes 30 to 90 minutes after your last drink for your milk to be clear of the alcohol.
- Nicotine: Heavy smoking can affect your supply as well. Not to mention it's terrible for your baby. It causes low weight, colic, and respiratory infections. JUST DON'T DO IT.
- Decongestants / Antihistamines: Both of these are made to “dry you out” which also means your milk! These can cause it to lower milk supply very fast in some cases so unless you just have unbearable allergies try to tough it out.
- Birth Control: Your doctor wouldn't advise you being on any birth control while you are nursing but if they did it would be Progestin-only. It's on the “Probably safe” list. But you should avoid Estrogen types of birth control.
- Foods and items that cause colic: Along with things that can deplete your milk supply, there are some things that can also be causing your baby colic.
So those are some things that may be causing your low milk supply. Here are some ways to boost your milk supply aside from having your baby nurse as much as possible. Even if it seems nothing is coming out to keep your baby at the breast for physical stimulation.
A variety of prescription medications and natural products have been used as galactogogues—medications that induce lactation.
Proven Ways to Boost Your Milk Supply
- Water: Drink tons of water! Your body needs it to make milk. When you are feeling “low” drink 'til you're swimming! Get yourself a great water bottle to keep with you at all times.
- Fenugreek: The best way to get this is in a Tea. There is one you can find in your grocery store in the natural foods section called Mother's Milk Tea. You can also find Red Raspberry Tea. But the one that worked the best for me was the Gaia Herbs Lactation Support. You'll smell like maple syrup, but this brand and my lactation cookies were the only things that helped.
- Brewers Yeast: You can drink a beer a day and you'll see a huge difference. But if you don't like beer you can get Brewer's Yeast tablets or powder to add to food. For the best brewers yeast for lactation try this one, it has amazing reviews! If you don't want to put it into recipes, try it in tablet form.
- Flax Seed / Oatmeal: Eat a bowl of oatmeal, easy! Check out the recipe below for a yummy way to boost your supply. Bob's Red Mill is my favorite. They have quality products!
- Reglan: If the above natural forms don't work ask your doctor about taking Reglan. It is a prescription that can also help boost your milk supply. It does have some serious side effects though and you should know all the risks before using it. The FDA has required it to have a black label warning. Try natural methods first.
Lactation Cookie Recipe – Boost Your Milk Supply
Here is a great recipe for Lactation Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I made these from my regular Chocolate Chip recipe but with the main milk boosting ingredients.
Links to the products I used in my recipe.
What you will need
- 1 Cup 2 sticks of butter softened
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 3/4 Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp Flax Seed Meal
- 2-4 Tbsp Debittered Brewer's Yeast* see my note below
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 Cups Rolled Oats
- Bag of Chocolate Chips
- 6-8 Tbsp Water*
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl mix your softened butter, eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract together.
- After it is well-blended add in your flaxseed meal and brewer’s yeast.
- Then fold in your oats. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda to your mix.
- You will need some water to soften up this mix so start with 4 Tbsp and work your way up one tbsp at a time until it is a good consistency.
- Lastly, add your chocolate chips. Spoon Tbsp sized balls onto your cookie sheet and bake for 9-12 minutes.
Please be advised: This article is based on anecdotal evidence. I pumped for both of my girls for a year, so I had lots of trouble making enough milk. These are all things that I have done and experienced first hand with breastfeeding. My Lactation Cookies were made with Whole Wheat Flour so they are darker than your cookies will be. 😉 If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment or contact me and I would be happy to answer.