Is my baby getting enough breastmilk? How do I boost supply?
From everything you have learnt about healthy eating and breastfeeding you know it is important to add 500 calories to any meal plan. Breastfeeding in particular can burn a lot of energy especially for women who are exclusively breastfeeding.
If you have a vigorous exercise regimen then you may have to factor in adding even more calories to your diet. Having a healthy diet is important for both you and your baby to gain the essential amounts of nutrients.
With exercising and breastfeeding listen to your body, if you’re hungry you need to add an extra healthy snack to your diet.
The Healthy Mummy meal plans provide options for fantastic healthy snack options. The smoothies are also a great way to fill you up, give you a good source of nutrients, give you fluids and boost your calorie intake.
When you are breastfeeding your breasts will be heavier than normal. It is important to make sure you have an appropriately fitting bra that is firm but not too tight. You do not want to restrict the blood flow and cause blocked ducts.
Dramatically exercising and reducing your calorie count can also affect you breast milk supply. You need to remain healthy so you can be healthy for your baby. There are some foods that are known to increase and boost milk supply including fenugreek, brewers yeast, blessed thistle, oats, asparagus, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, salmon, linseed and LSA, brown rice and apricots. There are some great recipes on the blog such as Lactation Cookies using the above ingredients. Fenugreek is the most recommended to boost supply. It is recommended to have 500 mg per day. It can take up to 2 weeks to take affect on the supply. Many studies support the use of fenugreek rather than prescription medications to boost breastmilk supply.
Fluid intake is also important when exercising and for milk production. If you’re exercising and sweating vigorously then you have not enough fluid retaining to produce breastmilk. When exercising make sure you increase your water intake by 500ml – 1 litre depending on the length of exercise and the weather. In warmer weather you may need more water.
Other ways to boost breast milk supply
- Feed baby more regularly (2-3 hourly) and offer both sides
- Make sure your baby is attached properly and draining the breast
- Express by hand or using a breast pump after feeds for 10-15 minutes per side
- Cuddle your baby, love hormones and smelling baby help with supply
- Apply warmth to the breast for 10 minutes before a feed to help release the milk ducts
- Massage the breast gently before feeds
- Try and relax, rest, take time out
Signs baby is getting enough milk
- 5-8 very wet nappies
- Yellow mustard coloured stools may be pasty to runny texture
- Pink healthy skin
- Weight gain and normal growth
- Settled baby between feeds
If you have any concerns speak to a medical professional (Midwife, Health Nurse, Doctor, Lactation Consultant).