11.10.2014

Increasing Breast Milk Supply | What Works



I'm no stranger to supply dips, as mentioned in this post, This second time around I've had to work to get my milk supply back up several times. Us all passing around colds, stomach bugs and the dreaded nursing strike took a toll. These were no minor supply dips. At one point Carson hasn't gained in weeks. When I pulled out the pump to see what we were working with, I got less than an ounce (way less than I was able to get before). I freaked and realized it was time to get to work. With the first dip (more like plummet) it took around two weeks to see a substantial increase. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to get my milk back up.

These combined methods worked for me three times. It wasn't easy. I'm not kidding when I say I made getting my supply back up my job. I spent days focusing on this, following every step without fail. It worked and was totally worth it. My supply gradually increased to beyond what it was before. I can't name any one method that did the trick. It was a combination of these listed below.

Power Pumping. I list this first because I honestly feel like this it the one thing that attributed to my increase the most. I'd been doing all the others but it wasn't until I started this that I saw the biggest boost. It could have just been that everything finally clicked at that point but I really do think the power pumping was a huge factor in getting my supply back. It was also the most time consuming.

The key to power pumping is mimicking a fierce growth spurt. You want to tell your body that your baby needs more milk. The way to do this is to pump for 10 minutes, break for 10-15 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, break for 10-15 minutes. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You want to keep this going for at least an hour. I power pumped several times a day; usually in the morning, afternoon and before bed, after Carson went to sleep. If Carson needed to nurse, I nursed him at the breast and then topped him off with whatever I'd pumped (and sometimes freezer stash) just to be sure he was still getting enough.

*Tip* Freshly pumped milk can stay at room temperature for four hours. Set up a little pumping area and keep going back to it. Don't worry about changing the bottles. Just keep pumping in them. I didn't un-hook mine until I was done with power pumping for a while. Then I would put clean flanges and botttles on for the next round. I didn't let the milk sit for longer than probably 90 minutes because I'm paranoid but there's definitely no need to change everything after each session.

Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle. If you're taking too little, it will do nothing. I took three 610mg Fenugreek 3x a day and two 390mg Blessed Thistle 3x a day.

Oatmeal. The real stuff. It's a galactagogue, meaning it's known to increase milk production. I ate it for breakfast and sometimes one other time during the day.

Mothers Milk Tea. I tired to drink at least three cups a day. The goal was five. You can also brew and then ice it. I add honey to mine. I actually like the flavor of this tea.

Lactation Cookies. Some people really like these. I did not. I ate them like crazy though. I was desperate. I think it was the brewers yeast flavor that I wasn't so keen on but I wasn't about to skimp on that. It's one of the big milk boosting ingredients. You can find brewers yeast at GNC and most health stores. Here is the recipe used.

Water. More than you want to drink, plus some.


At first I felt like nothing was working. It took days. Then, slowly it started to increase. I was able to get a few ounces from the pump when before I wasn't even able to get an ounce. Almost two weeks later, while at work after not being away from Carson for over a week, I pumped and got the same amount of ounces I was getting before the decrease. I was ecstatic. When the other dips happened in the months to follow, I was equipped with the knowledge and got to work.

Carson is almost 16 months old now and I don't see an end to nursing anytime soon. With Finley I'd had occasional dips but nothing like what we had to overcome this second time around. Cold and flu season nearly did us in but I'm so glad I pushed through and kept trying.

After varying efforts, these methods combined is what finally worked for me. I hope this can help anyone else going through the same thing. Also, I know I've said this before but KellyMom has been the greatest breastfeeding resource. You can look up just about any question over there.

Good luck and nurse on! :)


post signature

2 comments:

  1. I'm no longer nursing or pumping but I learned about power pumping too late on :/ I swear it was harder the 2nd time around too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for writing this! I'm experiencing supply issues with kid #2, and had none whatsoever with kid #1 so I have no clue what I'm doing... I've tried a few of these things but I think I need to up my game!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...