After you've gone through the huge event that is childbirth and are finally holding this little miracle in your arms, the next thing you start focusing on is how to nourish your baby.
For some people, breast milk comes easily, and they always have enough. For others it can be a real challenge! Both Caitlin and I were struggling with milk supply when we had our first babies. The combination of recovering from C-sections, sleep deprivation, and the slow arrival of our milk itself all added more stress and worry in our first week adapting to motherhood.
We wanted to write about supply boosting tips that are based in our own breastfeeding experience. Here are 5 useful tips that we hope help you::
1. Breastfeed your baby
Obvious, right? But we cannot emphasize enough the importance of stimulating the breast to encourage milk to flow. Before deciding that your supply is simply low (unless told so by a medical professional), give it a week.
Your baby may have challenges with latching, or you are worry that your baby doesn't get enough, or you just may feel like giving up. It is of course totally ok if you need to stop for your own mental health. But if you'd like to continue trying, this is the best place to start. If your baby isn't interested, or is sleeping, you can try pumping as a the next best form of stimulation. We found a great article on pumping at night, from a friend of the company, so check out more on this at Mom Loves Best.
I know, I know. I was tired to hear people say "you should sleep when your baby is asleep." Because in my case, that only happened if I didn't have baby clothes to wash, diapers to order and put away, food to cook, or desperately need to shower the spit up out of my hair.
In the absence of sleep, relax your mind. Do a little thing that brings you joy and a sense of ease. It can be simple self care, like listening to your favorite songs, looking at pictures of your baby and a gratitude practice for the little miracle you have created. Maybe you want to call your best friend and laugh, or finally accept help from a family member, partner, or your very nice neighbor.
If you like to practice mindfulness, taking 10 minutes every day to meditate has been shown to be effective in calming your mind, and reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.
3. Nourish your self
The breastfeeding mother's body needs nutrition in order to nourish their baby. Of course, whatever we eat, baby gets a taste of as well. But not only that, eating nutritious healthy food in general also improves energy, mood, and strength at a time in life when you need it most.
Many lactation consultants recommend eating lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water, and healthy protein for overall wellness. Drinking organic lactation teas, and consuming lactation cookies, of course, also help!
You may have had a lactation consultant recommend an herbal supplement which can help with milk supply. Common supplements include blessed thistle, fenugreek, or raspberry leaf in form of pills or capsules. You can find all of these in health stores near you. Companies like Legendairy Milk also make great options to purchase online.
5. Support Systems
Being a mother is hard work, sometimes it can be frustrating, challenging, and for some of us a toll on our mental health. What helps tremendously is a support system. That may be family, friends, other moms, psychotherapy, or some other form of person to person physical, emotional, or mental support. For breastfeeding-specific support, we recommend La Leche League highly.
Because you are not alone, mamas! Nor are you meant to do this alone.
Join mothers group, breastfeeding groups, or any organization that not only can help and support your breastfeeding journey, but also support you as a mother and a human being.
We hope this has been helpful, and if you need something reach out! You can find us here or at firstname.lastname@example.org.