Not having enough milk can be an overwhelming concern for new mums. Fortunately, there are many simple steps you can take to make sure your milk is plentiful and nourishing for baby.
Amidst the busyness of caring for a little one, it’s easy for the basics like eating, drinking and sleeping to get bumped down your list of priorities! But taking care of yourself in these very basic ways is essential to your milk supply.
Water is crucial, and 2L a day is a good goal to aim for. Keep a sipper bottle within arm’s reach of where you usually feed, so it’s easy to access with one hand and sip away on as baby feeds. Remember to refill your water after each feed.
Getting enough calories regularly throughout the day is also important. This is not the time to go on a low-calorie diet: your body needs protein and healthy carbohydrates in order to make milk and keep you going.
(If you are supporting someone who is breastfeeding, looking after these simple needs can be a thoughtful way to help out. A freshly replenished stash of snacks and water close at hand is sure to make the mother you love feel cared for and appreciated.)
If you possibly can, sit down to one warm meal per day, filled with protein, green salad, grains such as millet or rice, and cooked veges like carrots, fennel, or yam. Add pearl barley to your soup. Don’t forget the healthy fats such as avocado or olive oil, and ensure you are getting enough essential fatty acids. Eat oats or sugar free muesli for breakfast. Homemade and packed with nuts, seeds and shredded coconut is always delicious and nutritious. This will go a long way to supporting your health and boosting your milk supply.
Reducing your stress can also help improve supply. Let someone you trust cuddle or watch your baby while you rest, go for a walk, or take a shower. Practice deep breathing and do something that makes you happy, whether it’s watching a favourite show, reading, or having a good chat to a friend. This is the advice everyone gives new mothers, and that’s because it’s the best advice – when the baby sleeps, sleep! Or at least do your best to chill out and relax. The housework can definitely wait, and sleep is far more essential to you and baby’s health than a clean kitchen or a vacuumed floor.
GETTING YOUR MILK FLOWING – WITH A BREAST PUMP
Breast pumps are particularly helpful for mums wanting to increase their supply.
After your baby has finished feeding, you can stimulate your milk supply by continuing to express milk using a pump. This will prompt your body to produce more milk in future and increase your supply. Your Lead Maternity Carer may also suggest pumping for 10-20 minutes every 2-3 hours where possible.