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8 Tips for increasing breast milk supply

So you’ve had your baby, congratulations! After the birth of your beautiful bub is supposed to come the most natural things in the world – breastfeeding. While it comes easily and naturally for some, most new mums will find the early days and weeks of breastfeeding challenging, and unfortunately some (myself included) may even find impossible.

A common struggle for new mums is low breastmilk supply. It may take supply a while to establish after birth, bub may have a tongue tie or other latching issues, or supply may be depleted after a bout of sickness (in mum or bub) or caused by mastitis and blocked ducts. Here are some tips for increasing breastmilk supply, taken from Lactation Consultants, midwives, and reputable online sources.

Express and or feed your baby often – Breastmilk supply is produced based on demand, so the more your baby feeds, the more milk you should produce. Newborns typically need feeding every three hours for the first few weeks, or eight feeds in a 24 hour period. The more milk you remove from the more they will produce. Milk cab be removed either by feeding or expressing.

Power Pumping – many mums swear by this method of expressing, where after pumping each side, do another five minutes on each breast to simulate a newborn’s cluster feeding.

Drink plenty of water, and try to get some sleep – often much easier said than done! It’s hard to find time for self-care at the best of times, and it feels almost impossible while looking after a newborn. Try to keep a drink bottle close by at all times and take a sip when you remember, and snatch as much as sleep as you can at any opportunity.

Heat bags – applying heat can assist in let down and encourage breast milk production. Try feeding or expressing with a warm heat bag on your breast.

Eat oats for breakfast – oats are a good source of iron. It is known that maternal anemia/low iron levels can result in a decreased milk supply, so try having porridge for breakfast!

Lactation cookies this recipe is delicious and easy to make. The hard part will be keeping the husband and kids away from them! They also make a great homemade gift for a tired new mum.

Prescription medication – Motillium can be prescribed by your GP to assist increasing breastmilk supply. Although this drug is usually prescribed as a treatment nausea, it also acts as a galactagogue by increasing prolactin levels. Prolactin is the hormone which stimulates cells in the breast to produce milk. While taking Motillium is not a panacea in its own right, many women find their supply will improve when used as well as employing other strategies.

Fenugreek – Fen-u-what? Fenugreek is a vitamin supplement derived from a Mediterranean plant similar to clover. Funnily, it smells like maple syrup! Fenugreek seed has been used to increase milk production since biblical times. The herb contains phytoestrogens, which are plant chemicals similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. A key compound, diosgenin, has been shown experimentally to increase milk flow (from http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/fenugreek.shtml#sthash.e7PZPgjj.dpbs)

Being a mum is one of life’s most beautiful and rewarding challenges. Be kind to yourself, reach out for support, and try look after yourself. It’s hard taking care of newborn, and even harder taking care of yourself sometimes! Remember your success is not measured by how long your baby sleeps, or how many millilitres you express. There’s no winning and no medals. We’re all just doing the best we can, and that’s enough. You’ve got this, Mumma.

Some other great online sources include:
The Raising Children Network – https://raisingchildren.net.au/
The Australian Breastfeeding Association – https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/



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