This is the second in my Nursing Tips series. I am writing these to myself as a reminder for future needs I may have. I also hope that any Mama’s reading may be able to glean a bit of help from it if they find themselves in a similar situation. As always, these are simply my [not always right] thoughts, and none are recommendations for you. Please seek professional help if you need! Other posts in the series:
- Our Rainbow; the start of this particular journey
- Nursing Tips: Infection
- Nursing Tips: Ties
- Nursing Tips: Supply
- Nursing Tips: List of Herbs
Since I started this Nursing Tips series, a very dear friend of mine suffered a severe heart attack. In an effort to team up with a few other ladies, I’ve been increasing my supply and pumping every day. This has been a particular challenge for me because I thought I wasn’t a good pumper, and wondered if I still could since my struggles early on with Aury. But it’s proven to be much more successful than I anticipated, and we feel blessed to be able to love on them in this way. Meanwhile, focusing on keeping supply UP!
I’ve always said I struggle with my milk supply, but if I were to take a good hard look at our last several children, I’d realize it was only with Adyn & Kendra. With Adyn, I was quite petite and fit, and probably didn’t eat enough calories if I’m being honest. With Kendra, I became severely sick after her birth, and so supply issues were a given. Since then, I’ve never had a problem.
Here are measures I’ve taken to proactively make sure supply stayed up, just in case:
When I was pregnant with Colby, we bought a pair of Dwarf Nigerian goats. I figured their milk would be an excellent supplement if I needed the help. They never bred while we had them (but were awfully fun for our two littles to play with!), and I never needed their milk. We’ve since moved [far, far, far] away from goats, and now keep a homestead flock of dairy ewes that keep me content with a back up in the event that our babes would need it.
When I feel like I’m running shy (or when I’m trying to build supply, like now, as I’m pumping for Max), I take a dropper full of WishGarden’s Mil Rich (there’s another brand called More Milk Plus) tincture every time I nurse. I also drink a minimum of a quart of Mother’s Milk herbal tea per day (preferably more). I have been having loaded oatmeal most mornings. And I’ve taken fennel and blessed thistle, switching off which one daily to keep my body awake (instead of acclimated to them individually). I’m boosting my calories, but making sure they’re nutrient-rich. More nuts, cheeses, bone broth, pastured proteins, dark chocolate (ha!), and always yogurt to support my digestive system as it deals with the new onslaught of goodness. Oh, and drink more fluids. Don’t waste your fluid space: drink herbal tea. ❤
The quickest way I’ve gotten a boost in production is by drinking 8oz of beer. I really have no favor toward the flavor, so for me, it’s an act of love and one I’ve only done a couple of times in my years of lactating. But it does the trick quick-like. Some gals say that adding a tablespoon of brewer’s yeast to their daily regime acts similarly as well.
Here is a list of things *I* do. It is by no means comprehensive, suggested, or in any particular order. I’d recommend you research and find a professional to walk you through your lactating journey, as needed. Lactation consults are truly your best friend. I’d recommend Amber Ham Langelier in a heartbeat. She’s Aury & my breastfeeding hero.
- brewers yeast – 1 T. / day.
- yeasty beer – 8oz makes for a quick boost (consider barley / hops if you’d prefer no alcohol)
- fenugreek – 1 T. / day herb, or 2 droppers of extract (for some, fenugreek decreases milk – be careful!)
- fennel – same as fenugreek
- blessed thistle – same as fenugreek
- Milk Rich or More Mother’s Milk tincture – 1 dropper each nursing, or every 3-4 hours; this is my quick, lazy go-to
- Traditional Medicinals “Mothers Milk” tea; another lazy go-to when I don’t have better quality herbal tea at my leisure — I usually have a home-made version of this tea at my disposal
- pumping can be an effective tool toward increasing production. I, however, have no experience in the methods one can take to use it like this. Research it, if interested.
Supporting my body for increased production (I usually make into tea infusion)
- red raspberry leaf
- red rooibos
Things to AVOID while breastfeeding (or be wise/moderate about)
- lots of other herbs/etc, but these are my guilty pleasures that I need reminded against
- … I want to note here, too, that steamed cabbage leaves can be used to decrease milk production, so be careful when considering it to help breast infections.
After finishing this post up, I just decided to take an extra step and add another post to my Nursing Tips series that is simply a list of herbs that I (or others) like to use during lactation seasons, why I use them, etc. Be patient – it’s coming!