Thursday, July 18, 2013
Breastfeeding: What I do to Keep A Healthy Milk Supply
Breastfeeding offers great benefits for baby and mother. Here are some things that I do to keep a healthy milk supply. I also notice a boost in supply while doing these things.
Staying hydrated is important for nursing mothers. Think about it, how is your body going to make and give another person fluids if it doesn't have enough for itself?
Tip: Fill up a giant water bottle and carry it around with you. That way you only have to fill it up maybe twice, depending on how much it holds. My husband fills mine up for me. This is a good husband job.
Breast-milk Boosting Foods
Certain foods really benefit a nursing mother. The ones that I have researched and noticed a boost with are oatmeal, carrots, cashews, other raw nuts and seeds, beans, brown rice, asparagus, and other healthy foods. Basically, the vegan diet. Healthy vegans are the epitome of healthy milk making.
Tip: Healthy instant oatmeals (Rachel Ray makes one), individual pouches of trail mix (Trader Joe's makes them), and portable produce (bananas, apples, carrot sticks, etc.) make healthy eating easier when you are a busy momma.
Continuing Prenatal Vitamins
I continue to take my prenatal vitamins as a back-up or insurance of sorts. For the days when I want to eat Italian ice as a snack instead of granola with almond milk and blueberries.
Tip: Carry a few around in a pill box or zip baggie in your purse for when you are on the go and forget to take your vitamin. Don't just throw them in there, however. Your baby will soon be getting into things and thinking ahead about how to store things safely, is always a good thing.
I notice a huge difference in my milk supply when I rest versus when I can't. Your body has a 24 hour job to do, so rest is key.
Tip: Sleep when the baby sleeps. I would tell people that was easier said than done until I actually started doing it. I get in a safe position for naps and the baby nurses and we sleep at her nap time. She'll latch on and off if she wake up and still wants to eat. However, if you cannot do this safely, I would not recommend doing so. When baby is sleeping in the swing, I also take that opportunity to rest. Even sitting with your feet up and relaxing when you can, is better than nothing.
Milk Making Tea
I love Mother's Milk tea by Traditional Medicinals. What a noticeable difference when I consistently drink the recommended 3- 5 cups per day. Plus, that is an added 3- 5 cups of fluids per day to add to your hydration.
Tip: In the morning, brew 3- 5 cups and keep it in the refrigerator to drink as iced tea throughout the day. I make mine with my Keurig's hot water, so there is always one brewed there at all times and I just go and grab it when I get a chance.
Staying relaxed and stress-free does wonders for me. When I am relaxed, comfortable, and happy I notice lots of let downs during nursing.
Tip: If you are worried about something, give your lactation consultant, your baby's pediatrician, or the maternity ward at the hospital a call. The hospital where my baby was born offers a 24/7 baby hotline that you can call whenever for whatever. I also really adore my lactation consultants and the baby's doctor office. They have been really helpful if I have a quick question and would like to set my mind at ease, rather than worry about it. I've come to realize that things are often no big deal and nothing to be concerned about, however the support of others is important for any new mom. There is also a free breastfeeding support group at the hospital. I also found mom and baby yoga class to be a great way to bond with baby and other moms, and nursing your baby during class is encouraged. Things like that will help you become comfortable nursing in public so that you will have successful feedings. I can recite my state's breastfeeding laws so in case anyone gives me a hard time I can respond to them in true momma bear fashion. I think confidence helps with all this as well.
I love the feeling while nursing (especially during my baby's first morning feed), having full breasts and seeing excess milk in the corners of her mouth. What a wonderful feeling to no longer worry about milk supply like in the first few days and weeks, right? Staying hydrated and taking good care of myself will ensure that I can breastfeed my little one for as long as she wants to. The longer you breastfeed, the more the benefits percentage increases for you and baby. The risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer also decrease even more the longer you can breastfeed. That is a win win for all of us! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Wishing lots of milky success to my fellow breastfeeding mommas!