Breastfeeding: How to increase milk supply

Breastfeeding

The reason why most mums give up breastfeeding is because they feel their body is not producing enough milk. Both mum and baby can become stressed especially if baby wants more than mum can supply.

The first signs of low milk supply may be:

  • Baby’s feeds have become shorter
  • Breasts feels less full
  • Baby is not sleeping, or waking up too often
  • Less than 4 wet nappies in 24 hr

There are many reasons why milk supply is affected. These could be medical or lifestyle:

  • Anaemia- usually caused by loosing large amount of blood during labour
  • Post-natal depression
  • Hormonal disorder- thyroid or pituitary imbalances can cause problems
  • Breast surgery,
  • Dieting and skipping meals will cause you to miss out on vital nutrients
  • Medication
  • Sore nipples / Mastitis
  • Dehydration- drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • High stress levels
  • Using milk formula can decrease your milk supply

Throughout history mothers have known that certain foods and herbs can support their milk production. In my clinic many mothers have reported an increase in milk supply after using herbal medicine. It is important to educate yourself even before your baby is born, on how to prepare yourself for those first few weeks after birth to suppor the onset and continuous milk production. Good nutrition can make a difference in the quality of breast milk but also can help mothers recover from a childbirth.

Tips on how to increase milk supply

  • Always feed at the same time
  • Warm face towels used as compresses can stimulate breast milk production
  • Try massaging the breast gently
  • Eat a well balanced diet, as breast feeding uses a lot of energy and nutrients
  • Drink enough fluids, at least 2 litres of water a day
  • Include a source of protein in your daily diet (fish, grass fed organic meat or vegetable protein, chicken soup, nuts and seeds, eggs)
  • Calcium – a major ingredient in breast milk. Include calcium rich foods in every meal (tahini, sesame seeds, almonds, broccoli, sardines with the bones, yoghurt and cheese)
  • Make sure you rebuild Iron stores with iron rich foods – green leafy vegetables, wholegrain breads, nuts, red meat, fish and dried fruit
  • Eat at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day
  • Include healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, flax seed oil, cod liver oil, butter and supplement with essential fatty acids
  • Include foods like fennel, oats, green drinks, fresh juices, chamomile, chicken soup, avocado
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Ask your naturopath what herbs are suitable for you to help you increase milk supply

Some foods can pass into breast milk so it’s best to avoid them:

  • Caffeine
  • Black tea
  • Alcohol
  • Cola drinks
  • Fried and extremely fatty foods
  • Greasy take away food

Tanya MarinovicConsult with Tanya Marinovic

Tanya Marinovic is a practising Naturopath and dedicated mother of two. Tanya knows from first hand experience, about the ins and outs of breast feeding, so if you are having any issues or just need a few more tips and guidance book in to see Tanya at Mr Vitamins Clinic

Learn more about Tanya here

Tanya Marinovic