I'm a pretty go-with-the-flow mom. I have 3 babies under the age of 4, which results in a busy home and very active daytime hours. I love breastfeeding my babies but I've had to work to be successful in continuing longer than five months. My first baby had a rocky start with nursing and the doctor encouraged me to start supplementing with formula pretty early. My second child up and quit wanting to breastfeed once she experienced the convenience of a bottle. I resisted for about a month, but when she continually refused to turn her head to nurse, I gave in and transitioned her to bottle feeding. My 3rd child has been the easiest and he seemingly loves nursing. However, I'm once again having a milk supply issue. My little guy is a tiny 25% on the weight spectrum, encouraging me to look into options for increasing milk supply. He still feeds every hour and a half at 5 months old, leading me to believe he would drink much more if he had the option. Here are some tips my research has provide for increasing milk supply while breastfeeding, plus some favorites for making my nursing experience simpler.
Logically, giving your baby a bottle tells your body to make that much less milk. However, it can be tricky to resist appeasing your baby with a "bottle on demand" if your milk doesn't seem to be enough. I've found that if I do give baby a bottle, it's helpful to pump a few extra times to encourage increased supply. In my case, my 5 month old baby is 25% on the weight scale, indicating to me that he could benefit from quite a bit more milk each feeding. I've tried giving my baby an extra "top off" bottle after each feeding, nursing more often, and pumping more to increase supply per feeding. Because I have two other young children to care for, an added bottle each feeding is by far the easiest, but won't necessarily help me in long term nursing goals.
Kelly Mom has some good tips on increasing milk supply.
Breastfeeding makes me feel like I'm thirsty all the time. It's good to note that drinking tons of water doesn't directly increase breastmilk supply. I've found intentional liquids are necessary; my supply is definitely affected when I forget to drink water. I also struggle with feeling like I'm not eating enough. Realistically, I think breastfeeding is positively impacted by all of the above: adequate liquids, healthy meals, and ample rest.
What you wear can have a substantial impact on a comfortable nursing experience. I have some darling dresses that I won't be able to wear until I'm finished nursing. Fortunately there are a lot of stylish clothing options designed especially with nursing moms in mind. Bun Maternity offers a large variety of clothing options for nursing moms. I especially love their comfortable nursing tanks. The versatile designs allow a busy mom to go about her day, seamlessly and discreetly incorporating breastfeeding at anytime. Bun Maternity tank tops are available in a wide spectrum of colors and easily unclasp at the shoulder for discrete breastfeeding access. Before Bun Maternity, I was always stretching out the necklines of my tops, or having to bear my mid-drift under a nursing cover. Bun Maternity's dresses are also stylish and flattering, made from soft knit material and innovative panels and slits for discrete breastfeeding. Bun Maternity's line of nursing wear also includes t-shirts, hoodies and ponchos. I really appreciate not having to discard style or compromise comfort while nursing my baby. From bump to baby and breastfeeding, Bun Maternity's deliciously soft and double functioning clothing fashions take moms seamlessly throughout all seasons of the baby rearing journey. Plus Bun Maternity's awesome styles are made in the USA!
Mother's Milk Tea is pretty great for encouraging milk supply. It's made from organic herbs that encourage increased milk supply and has a pleasant licorice taste. It's also soothing when you have allergies or a sore throat, a double benefit! I've also heard good things about Fenugreek capsules. I just picked up a bottle and am interested to find out how these affect my milk supply.
What breastfeeding tips have you found that helped with nursing and meeting your desired goals? We'd love to hear your ideas shared in the comments. Breastfeeding is a topic that sparks many opinions. Few things are more precious than nourishing your baby in the early days, weeks and months of his precious little life. Breastfeeding also helps maximize the bond between mother and baby, and breastmilk has lots of invaluable antibodies to help baby grow strong and build their immunity.
And then when baby's tummy is full, sometimes other events occur...