If you Google ways to increase your breast milk supply, you’ll find a wide range of advice, not all of it healthy. Ideas range from prescription medicines to drinking Gatorade, and most of them are poor choices. Many advocate increasing refined sugar intake through sugary drinks and fruit juices.

If your breast milk supply is low, the first two things you need to ask yourself is, “Are you getting enough to eat?” and “Are you drinking enough water?” While sugar can help increase milk supply, extra sugar can also lead to diaper rashes. Instead of fruit juices or refined foods, reach for fruit and water first. Here are four simple, healthy ways to increase your breast milk supply.

Hydration

Proper hydration is the number one key to keeping a good milk supply flowing. Drinks like Gatorade, with all of their artificial flavors, colorings, and additives, actually hinder your milk supply. A good rule of thumb is to drink an 8-oz glass of water every time you breastfeed and carry around a water bottle to sip on throughout the day. Make sure most of what you drink is water, but if the idea of plain water is unappealing, other options do exist.

Other good sources for hydration include coconut water and fruit infusions. Besides tasting great, coconut water is a great source of minerals and electrolytes. Fruit infusions are flavored waters that have traces of vitamins and minerals; they are easy to make at home. Although it may be easier said than done for some, try to avoid caffeinated beverages. If you do drink coffee or tea, make sure to drink extra water.

On the other hand, too much water in the system can inhibit breast milk production. Stay hydrated, but don’t keep adding fluids to the body if hydration is not the problem.

Breast Pumping

While not the first go-to for many mothers, pumping, if done in addition to nursing, can be a highly effective way to increase supply. Tricks include pumping after each nursing session, adding an extra pumping session or two during the day, cluster pumping, power pumping, and nursing vacations.

Cluster pumping is when you nurse and pump every half hour or hour for a couple of hours.

Power pumping is like interval training for breastfeeding. Plan to do this for a couple of days. Pick an hour where you can sit and relax. Pump for twenty minutes, rest for ten, pump again for ten, rest for ten, then pump again for ten minutes.

Nursing vacations include spending two to three days, trying to relax and nurse and pump as often as possible.

All of these techniques help increase supply by mimicking the increased demand from a baby during a growth spurt. Simply put, increased demand for milk will increase the supply.

Natural Galactagogues

Because breast milk production is maintained by local feedback mechanisms (autocrine control), more frequent and more thorough emptying of the breast typically results in an increase in supply. A galactagogue is a substance that promotes lactation in humans and other animals. Natural galactagogues include foods, herbs, teas, and nutritional supplements. If the breast milk supply is low, even after breast pumping, it may be time to look at galactagogues, but do consider a thorough evaluation with a natural health care practitioner who is familiar with maternal health issues. Maternal hypothyroidism is a common cause of low breast milk production, and medications can also reduce milk as well. For more on increasing breast milk production see the long version of this article, Galactagogues Foods, Herbs, and other Ways to Increase Breast Milk Production. Breast milk is only as good as the diet the breastfeeding mom ingests. If there is diaper rash present, it’s more often than not caused by Candida. Here’s how to kill it. And see more on hypothyroidism here.

Sources:

organiclifestylemagazine.com

mom365.com

breastfeedinginc.ca

askdrsears.com

kellymom.com

Originally posted 2015-10-24 10:16:13.

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