Veterans of breastfeeding know that those first few months are crucial- you need the support, the knowledge, and “the milk” to keep going. Breastfeeding your child is not just creating a special bond between mother and child, but is also providing the nutrients needed to grow a healthy baby. Sometimes, those new to BF can get overwhelmed (been there!)- from so much pressure early on to “get it right.” Without the right guidance or support, moms could be throwing in the towel too early if they run into hurdles.
One of the main concerns when you are a first time BF, is whether or not you have “enough” milk. It can be hard, like when you pump and you aren’t getting more than an ounce. And your breasts, which were once pretty large, are now seeming smaller and “soft” in comparison. Surfing on the internet can sometimes do the opposite of what you wanted too- it can scare you into thinking that you just aren’t providing what you need to for your child and need to give up.
Contrary to popular belief, soft breasts are a good sign! From what I have learned and experienced, soft breasts are OK mama. If your baby is eating every couple of hours, they are showing good signs of latching on, and they seem happy, then you are doing good. In fact, what is happening, is that your body is making exactly the right amount of milk for baby– which results in soft breasts. It’s ok if you’re not “pumping enough,” think about it- most of us don’t have access to hospital grade pumps, and your baby’s sucking reflex is a hell of a lot stronger than that $30 pump you have!
I know, I know, it can be frustrating. If you’re trying to store up any amount of milk, just in case you want to run an errand alone, but you’re not pumping enough, this can make you go a little crazy at times. I’ve been there. Yet don’t let this make you start to question whether or not you are making enough milk. Really, if your baby wasn’t getting enough, you would recognize the signs. Which (I would hope) would be obvious to you, such as a sunken in soft spot, rings underneath the eyes, lack of energy, etc. These are danger signs of an undernourished baby! However, if your little one is happy, smiling, and growing, then it’s all gravy baby!
So, chances are if you clicked on this post, you feel like you need to increase your breast milk. This is understandable. Sometimes we just want to “make sure,” we are doing everything we can to provide enough for our little people, because we love them:)
Here are three things you can do today, to help get the milk flowing:
- Drink water- Yeah, this sounds easy, but a lot of us don’t do it. You need to stay hydrated while you BF. This means drinking water- lots and lots of water. Increase your water consumption, and drink it all day long. Yeah, you’ll have to pee…a lot. Yet you’ll be helping your body, and your milk. Personally, I like to slam a glass of water in the morning to start my day right. You can also keep a glass of water on the table, and every time you walk by, take a gulp. You’ll be setting a good habit, and hopefully you’ll see some changes in a positive way.
- Eat oatmeal- There’s something magical about oatmeal, and I’ve heard about it time and time again- that it helps increase your milk. Some say it’s because of the iron, which can be a factor if your iron levels are low (more iron equals a possible increase in breast milk). Others say it’s because it’s comforting and relaxing. When we are relaxed, and not stressed about milk, it seems to flow easier (this is another reason why you shouldn’t stress out about it!). So start your morning off with oatmeal (don’t forget the water!) and see what it can do.
- Pump- I’ve found that this works the best out of all 3, which is to pump, pump, pump (especially if you’re trying to generate more milk to freeze). One of the reasons you may feel like you don’t have “enough,” is because baby is drinking it all, and when you pump, you aren’t getting zilch. What you need to do, is signal to your body that it needs to make more. How do you do that? By pumping. Yes, you will be dry pumping a lot, and it can be boring and irritating. Doing this for a few days though, will increase your milk- you’ll be sending the signals to your body to make more, and soon it will deliver, resulting in an increase in milk supply. I remember a good friend told me to pump first thing in the morning- chances are you’ll get something, which will be incentive to keep going.
I hope that this has given you peace of mind. Remember that you are doing the best you can, and so far, you’re providing exactly what baby needs. Just that you’re reading this proves that you want to do the right thing, so give yourself a pat on the back! Don’t give up, and keep trying!!
Oh, and when your milk is really going strong, freeze your leftovers!!!
Do you have any tips to increase breast milk? Share in the comments below!
*Blessings & Love*
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