Nearly all new mothers who breastfeed their babies worry at one time or another about how much milk they are producing. Because breast milk is not quantifiable in the same way as formula, it can be easy to think that you’re not producing enough milk.
Many women think that they are not producing enough milk, but in reality, the percentage of women who have a low milk supply despite efforts to boost their milk is small.
You may think that you’re not producing enough milk if your baby nurses often or seems hungry after being fed. However, this is perfectly normal. Some babies can nurse 12 times a day and this is completely normal, because breast milk is digested much more quickly than formula, and so you can expect breastfed babies to feed more often than formula-fed babies. This doesn’t mean that there are problems with your milk supply.
Equally, some mothers may think they’re not producing enough milk if the baby spends less time at the breast or is unwilling to take both breasts whilst feeding. However, these changes are entirely normal and simply mean that your milk supply is changing to fit your baby’s needs. If your milk supply is different to that of other nursing mums or if your supply is different to when you were nursing any previous babies, you need to remember that each baby is an individual and so your milk supply will be different.
It’s also worth remembering that if your baby is thriving, your milk supply is perfectly adequate, regardless of what you may think you are producing. If your baby wets through 6-8 nappies a day, does yellowy coloured poos and seems to be gaining weight at the right rate (this will be documented at your post-natal appointments), you don’t really have anything to worry about. However, if your baby loses weight or seems to be unable to gain weight, you may have a low milk supply and so you should check with your doctor if this is the case, or if your baby has an underlying medical condition causing him to lose weight.
How you can boost your supply
There are a few ways that you can boost your milk supply if you are producing a small amount of milk. Firstly, you need to eat and drink the right sorts of foods and if you click here you can see our advice on the best foods for you and baby.
If you are trying to lose weight, a safe and healthy weight loss when breastfeeding is 500g – 1kg a week but everyone is different and has a different metabolism but it is important to eat to hunger and consume enough calories for your BMR. Once you work out your BMR a good guide is to add an extra 300-500 calories extra a day when breastfeeding – you can work out your BMR here.
It is also important to take in plenty of healthy foods – lots of different colours fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy dairy products. Eat plenty of yoghurt, milk, low fat cheese and healthy fats, such as oily fish. Make sure you drink enough water – if your urine is clear and you’re able to go to the toilet okay, then you are probably drinking enough.
Also – our Healthy Mummy range of smoothies and products are designed to help you lose weight, support milk supply and give your body all the nutrients it needs – you can see the range here You can also see feedback from mums who have used our Healthy Mummy smoothies and boosted their supply here
You should also nurse frequently for as long as your baby wants to. Forcing your baby to come off the breast when they’re not ready can cause problems with your milk supply. Try to offer both breasts at each feeding to ensure that each breast receives adequate stimulation, and try switch nursing to ensure your baby gets enough high calorie milk. When your baby has been feeding for a couple of minutes on one breast, and they start to slow down and swallow less frequently, switch them to the other breast. Do this a couple of times so that your breasts are equally stimulated, which will help to boost an ailing milk supply. This will also make sure that your baby is taking in the highest quality milk.
Make sure that you’re in the right position for breastfeeding. You may feel like you’re not producing enough milk, but you might be producing a more than adequate supply but your baby may be unable to latch on properly because you or your baby might be in the wrong position. If you are unsure about your breastfeeding position, speak to your midwife or doctor and they will be able to point you in the right direction. You should also try to avoid pacifiers and bottle feeding where possible, especially when your baby is less than 4 weeks old, as they may have difficulty from switching from teat to bottle to breast and back.
There are also a few food supplements that are thought to be effective in increasing milk supply, although their effectiveness varies from mother to mother. Fenugreek, along with Blessed Thistle, Brewer’s Yeast and Red Raspberry are all common supplements for nursing mothers. Fenugreek is thought to be the most effective supplement and it is included in our Healthy Mummy Smoothie. We also have two tasty lactation cookie recipes here that may help.
Plus also see our Milk Supply Boosting Smoothie recipe here to turn your smoothie into a serious milk boosting machine.
If you still have difficulty boosting your milk supply despite following some of the tips above, speak to your doctor.
Healthy weight loss in breastfeeding
Have you heard about our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge?
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Results from mums on the 28 Day Challenge
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You can see lots of more results and you can join here too
Ash Loses 26kgs (57 pounds) on 7 Challenges
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