Breastmilk, Herbs, Diet and Oils

There are many situations that I have witnessed where a mother has become so discouraged and so anxious about making breastmilk that they stress themselves dry. Or in other instances I have witnessed a mother who is not willing to keep a sufficient diet during breastfeeding. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it doesn’t work for some women, but if your really wanting to breastfeed and finding that your “not making enough milk” there are many things that we can do to help with that. So ill start with a few that I know worked for me!

breastfeeding

  1. Relax. I know its easier said than done, but stress does NOT help with milk supply. Believe me, I know how much this can have an effect. Try drinking a little lavender tea, get some rest. Take a nap on your lunch break or do something that you enjoy like going for a walk or watching your favorite T.V. show. It takes a lot for a mother to breastfeed. A lot of energy, a lot of time and a lot of sacrifice and dedication.
  2. Try and herbal tea. There is a wonderful tea blend on the market called “Mothers Milk”. Its organic and I have used it many times in a pinch and found it to be especially helpful. Besides, who doesn’t want an excuse to drink a nice hot cup of tea in the morning!
  3. Make sure your getting enough water. Water is extremely important to milk production. I have stopped myself some days just to think about my water intake. Another thing I have done that has completely turned my life around was quit drinking soda and fruit juices. This has turned my life around in many areas and I will tell you later on in another blog. Caffeinated drinks aren’t a very good thing to drink while your breastfeeding for a few reasons. One being that whatever caffeine is keeping you up, is probably going to keep baby up too, and two, most of those sodas are LOADED with sugar that is not at all good for your immune system or babies and they do a great job at keeping us dehydrated and that is what you absolutely do not want for your little one or yourself.
  4. Be sure that your eating and snacking enough. This shouldn’t be a problem as most mommas who are breastfeeding find that they eat just about as much as they did when they were pregnant. Eating and getting the right amount of calories is one thing, but getting the RIGHT calories is another. Things like fast food, sugared food and high fat and greasy foods will not do much justice here. Our milk was made to provide the best of nutrients to our babies and sadly, our standard American Diet does not offer much nutrition at all. Good foods to include in your diet that boost milk supply would be: Oats, Flax milk, Flax seed, Flax yogurt, Coconut Milk, and Tofu. I found that these foods helped me the best, but adding in things like nuts, legumes and veggies is not a bad idea either as you could be sure your baby is getting what they need. On occasion, it has been said that the brewers yeast in beer is suppose to help with supply. As there has been a lot of controversy over this as well, it is said that drinking and breastfeeding is not okay to do. Obviously getting drunk or “plastered” is not the answer but, in the past I have had up to 4oz of beer and been comfortable to feed my son as it has almost done nothing to me. On another note, since I don’t drink very often I to drink craft beers that tend to be very strong and sometimes bitter and hoppy. These are the only beers that I have found a slight increase of production in milk with. Cheap beers like Budweiser and Bud Lite will not work the same. ( My grandmother once told me that after she had my father in the hospital that the nurses gave her a glass of wine to relax so her milk would come in. )  So! Do as you please, but do it safely!
  5. There is a lot of controversy about using essential oils while breastfeeding and pregnant. While this is a topic that has many opinions, ill tell you what helped me and you can either try it for yourself or pass. When I was experiencing a lot of stress at a point in my life I was advised by a breastfeeding specialist to try using fennel essential oil around my breasts before and after a feeding. I purchased a Fennel essential oil and diluted it with almond oil before and after a feeding for about 3 days and I experienced a great increase in supply those days. While applying the oil on your breasts, spread it around the outside, underneath and higher up on the chest. Do not put the oil on the nipple as you wouldn’t want baby to get an unpleasant taste in his or her mouth.
  6.  Herbal Supplements were getting a lot of looks for a while. I don’t use them often in my house as we already include ALOT of spices in our diet with every dish but for this matter of making breastmilk…there were a few I knew I needed to avoid and others I needed to include more of in my diet. Some of the herbs known to deplete breastmilk supply are Sage, Parsley and Peppermint. Now, I know that just a few dashes of this isn’t going to completely dry someone up, but consistent use of theses herbs will not help. Try also avoiding them in any teas for the time being. As those herbs may not help, try including herbs like fenugreek, and fennel seed to your diet. If you do not enjoy the flavor of these herbs you may find that taking a supplement is easier. I have tried taking fenugreek for a couple of weeks and found that this also helped to increase supply. When looking for a good grade of supplement, always try to search for organic and or non-gmo supplements. Because you will be taking excessive amounts of a particular herb, you want to make sure that the herb or supplement that your taking is also not laced with harsh fillers or sprayed with herbicides or pesticides, as these would get to your baby through milk. A few other herbs that have been known to help boost milk production are milk thistle and chaste tree berries or “vitex” berries. These are two herbs that I have not tried myself but have had many success stories with their use for milk production.
  7. Pump, pump and pump. While you have probably heard that pumping will increase breastmilk supply I can testify for the fact that it absolutely does, and almost too good in my experience.
    Different things work for different families, but I have found that pumping put too much of a demand on my milk supply and I was getting engorged, large painful breasts when baby was not even hungry. If you are finding that your supply is not good enough, maybe try pumping as much as you can, every 2 hours for atleast 15 minutes until you start to see a change.  This may take some time and dedication but, the end results are promising.
  8. Most importantly, don’t give up. Take as much time as you need. Mothering is the most important job that any woman will have in their entire lives. Your raising the next generation, your future best friends, and the little once in a lifetime loves of your entire life!

 

Remember,  if your finding your struggling with supply, don’t forget to relax. Take some momma time to yourself. Although there may be a few more things out there on the internet that say helps with breastmilk, these are the ones I found helped me the most!! I have been going on strong since April of 2016, and I plan on going for another year!

 

Take care ladies, and enjoy your breastfeeding journeys no matter how long or short, it is precious all of the same. ❤

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