Having a child and giving birth is one of the most rewarding and magical experiences you will ever likely encounter in your life. After the difficulty of being pregnant for nine months, along with the ordeal of giving birth of course, you then have the task of bringing up your child, nursing it, and caring for it 24/7. There’s no point in sugar coating things, things will be tough, but nothing in life worth having comes easy, and even though caring for your beautiful child will seem like an uphill struggle at times, you still would not change that for the world. One common worry that new mother’s tend to have, is whether or not they are able to produce enough milk to feed their newborn on. There is a great deal of evidence and research to suggest that breastfeeding is incredibly more beneficial than bottle feeding, which is why the number of mother’s currently breastfeeding their newborns are higher now than ever before. Sadly, the number of women who stop breastfeeding their children prematurely is down to the fact that they simply are not able to produce enough milk naturally to sustain their child. The good news however, is that there are a number of foods, supplements, and natural ways of producing more breast milk, which is what we’ll be covering in this article. So, if you’re ready, here’s a look at a few of the top foods, supplements, and natural ways increasing your breast milk supplies.
Fenugreek extract is one of the most rapidly growing supplements in terms of popularity, as it provides a number of huge benefits to the human body, in a number of different ways. In regards to breastfeeding, fenugreek is ideal as it has been found to naturally increase milk production, and what’s more, it is labelled as ‘generally recognised as safe’ by the FDA, which will help to put your mind at ease slightly. Fenugreek extract can be consumed simply in capsule form, or it can even be poured into beverages and consumed that way. In terms of dosages, experts recommend taking between 1200 and 2400mg of fenugreek extract capsules per day. It is worth noting that fenugreek will make your urine and sweat smell slightly sweet, almost like maple syrup, and it is also not recommended for diabetics as it can lower blood glucose levels.
Brewer’s yeast is another supplement that is incredibly beneficial for breastfeeding women, as it is packed full of chromium, B vitamins, and Selenium. Studies have found that, although brewer’s yeast can only marginally increase the quantities of milk naturally produced by the breasts, one of the main benefits of this supplement is that it can greatly increase the nutritional content of the milk that is produced. For example, brewer’s yeast can increase the amounts of B vitamins found in the milk, which are very beneficial for growing babies, and indeed everybody else for that matter. Brewer’s yeast can be consumed in tablet or powdered form, though the recommended dosages are for three tablets to be taken once per day with a meal to help increase absorption.
Pump after you nurse your child
After you nurse your child, experts recommend using a breast pump as there is some evidence to suggest that breast pumping directly after nursing, can help stimulate milk production. As well as that however, by pumping after you nurse your child, you can then build up a stash of milk which will help make life easier if you are in a hurry or wish to take a few minutes for yourself.
Blessed thistle is another herbal supplement ingredient that can increase milk productions, although it is worth noting that you should always consult your doctor before using this supplement as the safety of this supplement is not yet clear. If you do opt to use blessed thistle supplements, the dosages are the same as those you should take if you were using fenugreek extract (1200 – 2400mg).
Blueberries are not just considered healthy, they are actually considered as superfoods due to the fact that they are packed full of healthy and natural goodness. For this reason, blueberries should become a staple diet favourite amongst breastfeeding mothers, as the benefits these humble little fruits can provide, not only in regards to breast milk quality and production, but also to health and wellness in general, are pretty substantial. For example, blueberries are crammed full of antioxidants, which help to eradicate toxins and free radicals within the body. This is especially important because it helps to ensure that toxins and harmful bacteria are not able to make their way into the milk, which basically acts almost as a super-filtration device for the milk. On top of that, blueberries are also rich in B vitamins, and women, particularly nursing mothers, often become deficient in that very vitamin. The benefits don’t stop there however, as blueberries also provide substantial increases in energy levels, which, if you’re a sleep-deprived mother, is going to serve as an enormous boost, both physically, as well as psychologically.
St. John’s Wort
St John’s wort is a natural herbal ingredient which is derived from hypericum perforatum. It is a fantastic supplement for treating and helping to prevent mood-related conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression. St John’s wort helps the brain to naturally produce more “happy chemicals” such as serotonin and endorphins, which means that we feel happier, more relaxed, and more content. But what does this have to do with breastfeeding? Well, quite simply, as this supplement improves your mood, helps you to relax, and helps promote a good night’s sleep, the quality, and indeed the quantity of the milk you produce, will be much greater than if you were tired, stressed, and agitated. It’s the same reason why eggs from caged hens taste worse and contain much, much less nutritional value, than eggs from free-range hens. It is worth noting however, that the safety of this supplement for nursing mothers is not yet clear, so you should speak to a professional beforehand, just to be safe.
Try switching sides
A lot of mothers tend to feed their children with the same breast for virtually every feeding, and as a result, the child may become attached, emotionally speaking, to that one breast. To really ensure you’re maximising your milk production however, you should ideally switch sides when feeding your child, trying to alternate as much as possible. So, for the morning feed, you may use the left breast, and for the next feed you should switch to the right, and vice versa. You can even try switching during the same feeding, as that will help to stimulate the child and prevent them from comfort sucking, and will therefore help to ensure that they’re getting as much milk out of each breast as they possibly can.
Vitamin K is an extremely underutilized vitamin that is very beneficial for breastfeeding mothers, yet unfortunately, a lot of adults suffer from some form of vitamin K deficiency. To help ensure that you’re not deficient in this vitamin, you should consider supplementing with vitamin K on a daily basis. As well as supplementing, you may also with to consume foods rich in this vitamin, as well as other minerals and nutrients, with foods like seaweed, romaine lettuce, and kale all being great examples.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
Bringing up a newborn baby is an extremely difficult and stressful experience as you will be sleep deprived, you will be feeling pretty self conscious, your hormones will be all over the place, and you will constantly be worried about every little thing in regards to your baby. If a woman is having difficulty when breastfeeding her child, she can often find herself feeling helpless and ashamed, as if she has somehow let her baby down and has been a bad mother. Because of this, she may be worried about seeking outside help for fear of what people may think. In reality, difficulty when breastfeeding, particularly in regards to producing milk, is very common and natural and there is nothing to worry about. If this applies to you, don’t be afraid to seek help and perhaps contact a lactation specialist consultant who will be able to provide you with a number of tips and suggestions on what you can do. Remember, a lactation consultant is there to help you and can make your life so much easier in the long run.
Make sure you wear the correct type of bra
Bras are uncomfortable at the best of times, but if your breasts are engorged with milk and swollen, not to mention being tender, finding the right bra that is comfortable, supportive, and beneficial for milk flow and production can be very difficult. To help ensure that you are able to produce enough milk, make sure that your bra isn’t too tight or restrictive, as not only can this affect flow, it can also cause plugged ducts, which will basically mean that virtually no milk will be able to come from the breasts at all. If you’re in the home and not planning on going anywhere, the best advice would be to go au natural.