If you are nursing your little one, let me first give you spirit fingers and high kicks. Nursing your child is no joke – it can be mentally and physically exhausting. For me, it was the most vulnerable and empowering thing I have ever done. My son and I nursed for 14 months, and I wouldn’t trade in the tears or sore nipples for anything. After a rough start for the first few months, we both became professionals and could nurse anywhere in 15 minutes flat.
During my son’s first year, I was a working mom, which means I was a pumping mom for 8 hours of the day. While my milk supply was never an issue, I did proactively work on making sure we had plenty of milk during nursing, as well as bags full for our freezer stockpile. If you are looking for some tricks to maintain or increase your milk supply, look no further. We’ve got you (and your nursling) covered.
Momma, drink water. Lots of it. Your body needs the extra hydration for milk production, and water is good for you anyway. Add wedges of lemon or orange if you need a little extra flavor to keep you chugging. I could always tell when I didn’t drink enough water during the day, as my milk supply sagged a bit. Grab yourself a new water bottle and tote it around in your diaper bag, your pump bag, your stroller, your car.
Nurse on demand.
Your body produces milk based on demand, and if you nurse when baby wants to, your body will increase its supply to match that need. Skip a feeding or two for a few days, and your body will think that baby doesn’t need as much milk and will reduce your supply accordingly. As much as I wanted my husband to help out with night feedings during those first months, I knew that if I let him give our son a bottle, that I would still have to get up to pump so that my body knew that my milk was needed. Nursing on demand can be tough, especially in the beginning, but if you stick with it, you and Baby will get on a better schedule eventually and your milk supply will be adequate.
If, like me, you need to pump at work, be sure to pump consistently. I pumped twice per day, and wrote it down in my planner daily. This way, I wasn’t tempted to skip a pump session to attend a conference call. Instead, I scheduled my calls and meetings around my pump times (10am and 2pm); it was a non-negotiable for me and I was lucky enough to have an understanding employer and co-workers. If you skip enough pumping sessions, your body will automatically decrease your milk supply, so make it a priority.
Morning time is milk time.
Your body naturally has a better milk supply in the morning. This was helpful knowledge to me as I could always squeeze in an extra pump after I nursed my little one in the morning if I needed to catch up on our freezer supply.
Eat for the job.
There are foods that you can eat that jumpstart your milk supply. Oatmeal is a great place to start. Not only is oatmeal a power food that is delicious and easy to make, it is also healthy. One bowl of oatmeal for breakfast for a few days made for a noticeable difference in my milk supply. You can also use fenugreek, which you can pick up at your local health food or supplement store.
These few tips are your head start to making sure Baby is getting the milk she needs, and that you are staying confident in your nursing relationship. Now, go chug some water.
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