Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wow! You have a lot of milk

I hear this alot and just thought I would tell everybody some of my "secrets" to a great milk supply.

Drink LOTS of water and fluids

Rest as much as you can. I know this is hard but it really is important.

Pump as often as you can. At *least* 8 times a day, but more is better.

If you feel a letdown between your normal pumping times go and pump! Even if you have to hand express DO IT!! (BTW... Learning HOW to hand express can be very valuable. If you are ever stuck somewhere without your pump it could come in very handy, no pun intended)

Pump near your baby or look at a picture of your baby while pumping.

Record your babies cries or sounds and listen to that while pumping.

Relax while you are pumping. Listen to soft music, read a book or look at a magazine. Do not stare at your breasts waiting for the milk to come out.

Use the correct size breast shield. Your nipple should not rub against the side of the shield. If it does then you need a bigger size. Not only will the bigger size help your supply it will make your nipples less sore. The standard 24mm is usually too small for most women. A little pain is normal but if you are continuously in pain then something is wrong. You should speak with a LC if you are in pain. They can also help you chose the breastshield that is the best fit for your breasts.

Use a hospital grade pump. If you can not use one try to get one that has a letdown feature.. If you cant do that then start pumping with the pump on the lowest suction and fastest speed.. Slowly increase the suction until you are comfortable

Pump both of your breasts at the same time.

Pump for at least 15 minutes. If your are still getting milk pump for 2 minutes after the last drop. You want to make sure you fully empty your breasts.

Compression compression compression!!! Massage your breasts before and during pumping.

Keep your breasts warm. Cold air or having your breasts cold can restrict the milk flow.

Pump at least once during the night. Do not ever go more than 5 hours without pumping.

Do not ever go more than 5 hours without pumping.

Do not ever go more than 5 hours without pumping... Very important... The "supply" works on a supply and demand basis.. if you are not demanding then your breasts will not supply.

Maintain a healthy diet; take supplements where needed. Get your hemoglobin checked. Breastmilk is made by taking vitamins and nutrients from your blood. If you are lacking these then your milk will be lacking these and anemia could result in poor supply.

These are just some ideas. There are always things like galactogues that can help enhance your milk supply but your best bet is to use the "supply and demand" route. Galactogues can help but sometimes they are mis-used or over-used. You might become dependant on them so try to steer away from them, but by all means use them if you need to help augment your supply. Here is a list of herbal galactogues as well as some more tips for a good milk supply.


Shari said...

Great tips! I too have an abundant milk supply, only I'm just not as sure how I got mine there as you are.

I do have one tip to add, that really helped me.

My babies were in the NICU for 4 weeks. I had my husband video record me nursing them for the first time. Then I could watch this video when I was pumping at home. I also got other video to watch, but the nursing one helped the most. If you're shy, you can delete it later. It works better than just a picture, and it has the sounds combined!

carebear said...

Thanks so much for these tips!! I have been dealing with a nasty case of mastitis that just would NOT go away even after two courses of antibiotics and it has dried me up a bit. I have been pumping every two hours, going three at night too. I'm exhausted, but my supply is slowly coming back now.
I just had my first breastfeeding experience with my preemie today. It was wonderful. Thanks again for the tips. I really appreciate them. Good luck to your sweet little one!