As one of those women who never had any trouble producing more than enough milk for my son, the need to research into boosting my milk supply wasn’t very high. My doctor mentioned, at my six week appointment, that if I needed any help, there were various things she was able to offer me. Judging by her reaction when I told her I had just pumped six ounces of milk from one side that morning, I knew I was going to be just fine.
Two months into my sons nursing, I decided I would do some research on milk production and pumping in general, and what I found surprised me a great deal. Most breastfeeding mothers have trouble pumping out more than three ounces in one sitting. Asking around to other mothers I knew, most of them used electronic pumps, and a lot of them also included powder formula’s in their meal schedule because they felt the baby was not getting enough.
I want to offer you ladies a few tips that might help to solve your ability to pump out.
1. Try a Hand pump
With a hand pump, you have control over how much milk you pull out, they don’t hurt like electronic pumps and they are incredibly convenient for travel or shopping trips. ((They also tone out arm muscles. Who doesn’t want that?))
I know that being able to do things and pump at the same time makes electronic pumps more appealing, but they don’t really simulate the same kind of suction your child uses– and you can completely pump out both sides with a hand pump in 8-10 minutes.
While in the hospital, the Le Leche instructor had said, “You’ll feel 8 nibbles and a four second pause”, as though nursing is a mechanical event.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I could feel the drawing out of milk as he nursed, that was all I cared about…. it was sweet relief to my aching back and shoulders!
When I used a hand pump, I put into practice the “8 nibble 4 second pause” pump method, and gradually increased it to 12.
2. Always pump out when your child has missed a feeding
Your body will need to adjust as your child spans his/her feeding times out beyond the three hours, but if you went out for a shopping day, when you come home, if it isn’t feeding time pump out. If it is feeding time, pump out at least one side and let him/her feed off of the other.
Any time you feel “full”, pump out. You can even pump out and still nurse, and it wont bother your supply.
The more used to pump stimulation your body is, the higher likely you are to being able to pump well.
Fenugreek has been the number one leading recommended herbal remedy for milk production. But, I quickly grew tired of the constant sweating and damp armpits that I switched to Blessed Thistle. Blessed Thistle is found in most herbal blends for lacation support.
Blessed Thistle is a native Mediterranean plant, it works wonders in helping with your digestive system by stimulating the juices in your stomach that break down fats, this helps to pick up the appetite, ((although, I did not find that in my case)) and relieve upset stomachs and gas. ((I wonder if using this herb, would the transmitting through your breast milk also help with Colic in your child?))
Blessed Thistle is antibacterial which has treated a number of infectious illnesses, and an anti-inflamitory, which can help to counter painful menstruation and respiratory allergies.
The benefits of using Blessed Thistle were immediately noticed in my system. I felt healthier, brighter and happier, and I could definitely tell the difference in my digestion!
**Do not use Blessed Thistle if you have allergies to artichoke.
**Always discuss herbal supplemental use with your pediatrician or ob/gyn before taking them.
**Certain reactions to herbs might not be the same for everyone, if you experience any allergic reaction, contact a physician immediately.
4. Drink Lots, and Lots, and LOTS of Water
I had the problem of never being hydrated during pregnancy, and having high blood pressure, and swollen everything— and now that I’ve been breastfeeding for a 12 and a half months, I have still never been fully hydrated in a year and nine months. But I sure have produced a lot of milk.
I drink anywhere from 64-76oz of water a day. Sounds like a lot? Buy a 32oz water bottle that you unscew a cap from, and gulp it down a couple of times a day. Fill it back up, and drink a good 8-12oz before bed, and every time you get up to breastfeed and use the restroom, drink another 8-12oz before going back to sleep. ((Come on ladies, you don’t get to sleep through the night anyway, getting up to use the restroom is no biggie.))
5. Breastfeed your child for every feeding, don’t supplement formula unless you absolutely have to.
In my research, I found that if you do not breastfeed consistently, your milk production is going to be low. The value of milk depends on the amount being stimulated by your baby.
While some of you are working mothers who do not have the chance to stay at home with your children, you can still pump out all day long at work. Take a break every three hours and go off to pump and then put your milk in the fridge or a well chilled cooler bag.
But the time my son was 4 months old, I had the equivalent of 2 gallons of milk stored in my freezer, and I was still regularly pumping off enough milk that I have since then poured another two gallon equivalent down the drain.
Storing Extra Milk:
There are lots of storage options available to you, I preferred to us the Playtex Nurser bottles, with the drop in liners. These are incredibly easy to freeze and thaw, and they hold almost five ounces when topped to the rim. When thawing them, place them inside of the bottle, screw the cap on, and let stand in room temp water- or if you do not need them right away, just stand in the refrigerator.
When needing to heat them for feeding to your baby, simply stand them upside down under the hottest water from your faucet until it reaches the desired temperature.
I understand freeze space can be very limited, I myself only have a refrigerator, but three ziplock bags full of these liners shuffled easily into a corner I designated as “His”. As time went on and he began eating cereals, I thawed the milk from oldest to newest and made a ziplock bag full of milk-ice cubes to use in his hot cereals.
I wish you all the best of luck! Please let me know how these tips worked out for you!
If you are already pumping off enough milk, feel free to share what helped best with you too!
Dana Villa-Smith first started posting Christian inspirational writings to WordPress as she entered into part-time Christian ministry. She and her husband currently live in Texas with their beautiful little boy. In the busy times of motherhood, she enjoys getting to take a breath from time to time to sit and spill her imagination onto paper. Find her Writer’s Page at: https://www.facebook.com/dvillasmith