How to increase breastmilk supply
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That first month of breastfeeding was the toughest time for me. Hourly feeds and backaches from constantly sitting up to feed were the least of my problems when a couple of weeks in, I became concerned that I wasn't producing enough milk. My baby's weight didn't drop at all but various things made me start to suspect that she might like to have more to drink than she was. I may have been wrong but luckily, I had my mum, my health visitor and Dr. Google on hand to guide me on how to boost my supply!
These are the things that helped me to increase my milk supply and extra that I've only heard good things about. They still help me today as I don't plan to fully wean my little one for many more months.
- Drinking plenty of ANY fluids - my aunt, a midwife, said to me, "I hope you're drinking a lot...a breastfeeding mum should be drinking all the time. Drink everything and anything!" She clarified, of course, that she didn't mean sodas, coffee or alcohol 😀 but any and everything else. I certainly wasn't doing that in the beginning. I suppose it really should go without saying but in the early days especially, I wasn't focused enough on taking care of myself and if you're breastfeeding and having the kinds of night sweats that I was, you'll need more fluids than you've ever had in your life in order to give your baby both quality and quantity.
- Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed - just plough on. The more you do it, the easier it will get and the more your body will understand what your baby's milk requirements are and supply more to suit those needs.
- Pump - in the same way as the with breastfeeding, pumping will stimulate your body and alert it that there's a need for more milk but be careful with this one - it can lead to overproduction of milk and therefore also mastitis if you can't keep up with pumping enough to free your boobs of how much is produced.
- Non-alcoholic beer - this is one that I discovered later on around month 5 but it always works so well for me. Bitburger (pictured below) is my favourite one but I unfortunately can't find anything like it in the UK. I was spoilt for choice in Germany of course but in the UK, you can't just walk into your local supermarket and find any non-alcoholic beer options. I found the Peroni brand and I've stuck to it even though it's non-flavoured :-(. It tastes better than any of the unflavoured ones I've tried. A word of caution if you do go looking for non-alcoholic beer: there are trace amounts of alcoholic in some of those labelled "alcohol free" so if you really want no alcohol, get those clearly labelled "0.0%".
- Motherkind tea - I saw a definite difference in quantity when I drank this tea. I had always heard about it even before I got pregnant so I knew I'd try it. I initially didn't like the taste because it was a bit...grassy lol but I got used to it and knowing that it was doing what I wanted it to do made me like the taste of it even more!
- Corndough (koko [Ghana]/akamu [Nigeria]) - this made the biggest difference for me. It improves not just the quantity but also the quality of my milk as it very obviously thickens your milk while making it flow more than usual. It's amazing. It's lucky that I like the taste of it anyway or else I'd be forcing it down my throat. I get it from back home in Ghana but I know that in the UK, it's available in most African shops. It's also available online here.
- Oatmeal porridge - now this is one that I can't personally vouch for but have heard from people that it really works. I can't tell that it made much of a difference for me but friends have said that it increased their milk quantity and quality as well. I'm sure different things work for different people.
Have you tried oats to increase your breastmilk supply and did it work for you? What else worked for you that's not on this list?