Hi friends! It is national Breastfeeding Week- August 1st through 7th! I'm sharing a little bit of my experience, knowledge and products that worked well for me on this journey.
I am a mom of two beautiful little girls. My oldest was a preemie IUGR baby, taken straight to the NICU and after many lactation consultant visits I decided to exclusively pump. With my second it was a little different, I had experience, strength and support to try all things to get her to latch, I'm leaving so many details out but I decided to exclusively pump after a few weeks. Breast feeding is HARD, exclusively pumping is HARD and extremely time consuming. We do what we gotta do, baby is still fed, happy and healthy!
Both babies were C-section babies and my milk took a while to come in both times. My older one was lucky enough to get donor milk in the NICU (SO incredibly thankful for mamas who donate breast milk, seriously no words can express the gratitude) and the second time around we supplemented with formula for a couple of weeks until I established my supply. When I struggled with my supply my MIL, my mom and my sister in law all jumped in to help. My MIL and mom made Indian snacks with different herbs snacks and cut up fresh/raw coconut for me and my sister in law sent me Mrs. Patel's Lactation treats which I'll talk about in detail below.
Diet and Supplements to support breastfeeding and/or pumping
If you're breastfeeding and/or pumping, one of the most important things you can do to increase milk supply is ensure you have good foundation when it comes to nutrition. Eat whole foods- use seasonings and spices so that you don't get bored with your meals. Eat a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein and fat. Choose a variety of whole grains and include oats in your diet. Oats are high in fiber, iron and have been known to boost milk supply. Overnight oats were perfect for me as a grab and go breakfast. Try to get plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet-fresh, frozen or canned are all good choices. Include lean meats and plant based protein in your diet. Add avocados, nuts, and coconut oil to boost healthy fats in your diet and milk.
Supplements are great but they are just that...supplements. They are there to supplement your diet and provide support. Overall diet is key! Talk to your healthcare professionals before taking any supplements. Below are some things that worked well for me and helped boost my milk supply. The best supplements are the ones made from whole foods and natural herbs.
What worked for me:
For nursing mamas, nurse on demand or per pediatrician recommendations and pump after nursing! I know this is hard and exhausting, take it as it is- just a recommendation! If you're pumping, try to pump every time baby feeds. If you're pumping more than baby is taking you can build a small freezer stash that can help later!
Protein and Hydration
I really had to focus on increasing my protein and water intake. Try to incorporate some protein in each meal and snack. You don't have to overdo it, you want at least 1 gram per kg body weight. One thing I noticed is I'm SO hungry all the time with pumping so a little extra protein keeps me full longer. Keep water with you all the times. I feel it's easier to drink more water when I have a reusable bottle with a straw. Drink to quench your thirst and then some, again you don't have to overdo it. Listen to your body!
Mrs. Patel's Lactation Treats
My sister in law sent me some of their Lactation Treats which I felt were life changing! It could have just been timing and my body was finally ready to make enough milk but for the first time in weeks I didn't have to stress about whether I was going to pump enough for each feeding! I ate them for about a week before I saw a difference. They are so rich in nutrients, made with real whole foods and herbs. Check out their website for more information about each product. I loved their products so much I ended up joining their Ambassador program for a month! I loved their chai which I drank hot or cold, recipes below. The cookies are so delicious and filling, packed with coconut oil and brewer's yeast. The herbal tea was perfect for evening time, very comforting.
Upspring Milk Flow
This Berry Drink from Upspring Milk Flow is delicious and full of electrolytes to keep you well hydrated. It also contains galactagogues fenugreek and blessed thistle- both known to increase milk supply for most women. I have a recipe that reminds me of a Starbucks "Pink Drink"- recipe below!
Mother's Milk Lactation Tea
Mother's milk tea is the most popular lactation tea around and for good reason! It contains fennel, fenugreek and blessed thistle, all the ingredients to support breastfeeding and/or pumping. You can easily find this tea at your local grocery store, target, Walmart, etc.
I can't end this post without giving credit to my amazing husband who has helped me in every single possible way to do what's best for me and our babies. He has done it all, learned how to use the pump for me, set timers at the hospital so we don't miss a pump, washes pump parts and bottles at all odd hours of the day/night, orders my pump parts for me, feeds the baby so I can pump in peace, ordering formula when I was struggling and letting me know IT'S OKAY, and the list goes on! We always say fed is best, we use formula when needed. I couldn't do breastfeeding/pumping without you my love!
Get help if you need!
If you're struggling with breastfeeding and/or pumping, latching, supply issues- talk to your doctor and get in touch with a lactation specialist. You may have to go through a few of them before you find one you can connect with and learn from. Your pediatrician should have contacts and resources for you. I know it's exhausting, you have a new baby and maybe other babies at home already and you don't need anything else on your plate but many will do consults via phone or virtually now to make it convenient for new moms. I am not a lactation specialist, I am writing this post based on my personal experiences and my professional research as a Registered Dietitian.
Mrs. Patel's Chai latte
- Follow instructions on package to make a concentrated brew.
- Steam milk of choice and add sweetener or flavored syrup if you'd like!
- Combine and enjoy hot!
- Follow instructions on package to make a concentrated brew.
- Place the mixture in a glass jar (do not strain, keep it all together)
- Once it cools, refrigerate overnight
- When you're ready to drink, strain and add your favorite cold milk- 4- 6 oz (I like coconut milk), any sweetener or flavored syrup. Add ice.
- Mix and enjoy!
Berry Drink (reminds me of a Starbucks Pink Drink)
- 1 packet Upspring Milk Flow Berry Drink
- ¼ cup Tazo Passion Herbal Tea (Target or Walmart- Skip if you can't find it)
- 1 cup coconut milk (original or vanilla)
- Freeze dried strawberries (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker or a mason jar with a lid. Shake until well blended. Add additional ice if desired. Enjoy!
Happy breastfeeding and/or pumping my friends!
Pumps I've used: Spectra S2, Motif Luna, Elvie. I use the Motif Luna the most, Elvie when I need to pump cord free. This post is not endorsed or sponsored in any way.