I am a newly-minted mother, and I've been breastfeeding my daughter since Day one in the hospital.
I won't deny; it has been a tough journey. It is challenging mentally as much as it is physically-taxing. But it has been rewarding and it is a beautiful chapter with my daughter that I will always cherish.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeding your baby with formula milk (hey, I grew up on formula milk and I turned out fine!), there are many benefits to breastfeeding. For one, breast milk is nutritious and contains antibodies that your baby will need. It is also very convenient because you can nurse on the go, without having to pack along milk bottles, bottle warmers etc.
I can go on with the benefits, but let's just focus on the million-dollar question: how to boost breast milk supply?
Being a first-timer to breastfeeding myself, I've asked this question many times. My supply didn't kick in immediately, but having spoken to Lactation Consultants, friends and people around me, I followed these tips (which I am about to share), persevered on this journey and my baby has been exclusively breastfed since birth.
I've previously written a short post on how you can increase your breast milk supply by drinking ms.kinny Lactation Oats.
Today, I would like to pay it forward by sharing these 9 useful tips on how to increase breast milk supply naturally that I've accumulated and been living by. Know that everyone has their preferences and limitations, so do what you can for your little one. Your effort is enough.
1. Pump/ feed regularly
At the hospital, you are "required" (unless you specify you do not want to breastfeed) to feed your baby once every 3 hours. Like it or not, whether you have milk or not, you have to do it. Sounds awful? Not really, because that is exactly how it should be. Your body needs to be "stimulated" and be told that it needs to produce milk for a baby.
One of the most common questions that I get is: how to increase milk supply when pumping?
There is no short cut to increase your breast milk supply. The best advice that I can give to you on how to increase your milk supply when pumping is to be diligent and feed often. If you choose to pump over latch, stick to the same 3-hourly schedule. By pumping/ feeding regularly, your body will eventually know to produce milk for a hungry baby.
2. Empty your breasts
Should your baby not empty your breasts—and this is when you feel lumps in your breasts—pump out the excess. An approximately 10-15mins of pumping on top of latching should do.
Be sure to empty your breasts so that more milk can be produced.
3. Rest well, stay positive and be happy
How to increase breast milk naturally? Your state of mind is vital. Being well-rested and being happy does wonder for your breast milk supply. Similarly, even if your supply is established, being in a bad mood does cause a dip in breast milk supply.
4. Eat well
Breastfeeding mothers need an approximate 500 extra calories per day. Therefore, you have to eat well in order for your body to produce breast milk. There are several foods that will help to increase breast milk supply—carbohydrates, milk, oats, fatty fish, avocados, durians etc—but it ultimately depends on how your body reacts to these foods.
It is always a trial and error.
Oats is well-known for boosting breast milk supply. It is one of the healthiest and most organic ways of doing so, and ms.kinny Lactation Oats has helped many nursing moms increase their breast milk supply, as well as encourage the production of quality, creamier milk which keeps the baby fuller for a longer period of time.
ms.kinny Lactation Oats also contains several beneficial ingredients that are great for boosting breast milk supply and quality.
Multigrain & Oats are complex carbohydrates which keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time (hence you snack less), and they are a source of VitB, minerals and fiber.
Brewer's Yeast is traditionally used as a breast milk stimulant. Almonds are full of protein and increase the overall fat content, creaminess and sweetness of breast milk.
Soybean is high in calcium and passes from the mom to babies through breast milk. Milk Thistle is a well-known galactagogue herb that boosts breast milk supply. Fennel has estrogenic properties that can help nursing moms increase milk secretion.
When can you start drinking ms.kinny Lactation Oats? On a personal level, I started drinking ms.kinny Lactation Oats upon giving birth and my milk supply kicked in on Day Three for me. The recommended serving is 2 sachets daily for the first 10-14 days or until your milk supply has been established, after which, you can drink one sachet daily to maintain your milk supply.
6. Take a warm bath/ hot shower
You can also massage your breasts while taking a warm bath/ hot shower to stimulate the milk flow.
7. Get a breast massage
A professional post-natal masseuse will know how to provide a breast massage to encourage milk flow, as well as ease lumps (if any). The massage will also stimulate your milk ducts and in turn, encourage milk production.
8. Latch on demand
Ideally, you should latch your baby on demand. This means to offer your breasts to the baby even if it isn't time for the next feed. By latching your baby on demand, your body will receive the message that the baby is hungry again, hence produce more milk.
9. Add in an extra pump session
If you have it in you, add in an extra pump session in the middle of the day or at night after latching. I usually do mine at night because that is when, based on research and statistics, the body produces the most milk.
Remember to toggle between expression and massage mode!
There are definitely more ways to boost breast milk supply. Everyone has their secrets and methods; these are mine - tried and tested.
I hope these tips on how to increase your breast milk supply will help all nursing mamas out there!