I’m currently doing a series to help breastfeeding moms on their journey. Click HERE to learn about Letting Go of The Breastfeeding Guilt and HERE to learn How to Pump in Public Without Feeling Weird. I will be writing another post to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding. I’ve been very vocal about my breastfeeding challenges, so I’m trying to share all of the knowledge that I gained from the research that I found. This helped me to get from breast milk being 20-30% of my twins’ diet to it becoming 100%.
- Talk to a lactation consultant early. Don’t suffer in silence and don’t try to do it all yourself. A lactation consultant can help your baby learn how to effectively latch, help you with the optimal breastfeeding hold, help with pumping, and provide emotional support. I wished that I requested a lactation consultant earlier in my hospital stay. If a lactation consultant is unavailable while you are in the hospital, then ask the nurses for assistance. If you have twins, the book Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More! (La Leche League International Book) will be a great resource for you. If you are not on WIC, which provides lactation consultants for free, it is a lot harder to get help once you leave the hospital. I would recommend that you talk to a doula, ask the La Leche League, or check out the organization Black Mothers Breastfeeding. You can also get advice from a friend who has already gone through the process.
- Don’t go 4 hours without pumping or breastfeeding. Your milk supply is based on demand. As you remove milk, it acts as a signal to your body to produce more milk. Therefore, if you don’t remove milk frequently enough then your body assumes that you need less, and therefore produces less. There are many pages that say don’t go 6 hours without pumping. What I found is that I needed to pump at minimum every 4 hours, but in reality closer to every 2 hours to maintain my supply. If I waited 6 hours then I would experience a decrease in supply.
- Drink plenty of water. Drink about half of your weight in ounces of water. Water helps aid lactation and helps to prevent dehydration. If you get dehydrated, then you won’t be able to produce as much milk.
- Fenugreek helped me tremendously. I also noticed that the brand mattered. The Nature’s Way Fenugreek Seed 610 mg, Capsules 180ea brand worked the best for me. The best part about the fenugreek is that I noticed that my supply increased within a couple of hours of taking it.
- Oatmeal, Brewers Yeast, and/or Lactation Cookies. These all helped me to increase my milk supply. Introduce these food supplements one at a time in the order that I’m referencing. For the oatmeal, eat the rolled oats (not instant) and then add the brewers yeast to it. Warning. Twinlab Brewers Yeast-1, 18 Ounce is gross so you will need to add pure maple syrup to cover up the taste. You can either buy lactation cookies or make your own. If you have the time, then you should definitely make your own because you will save a lot of money. If not then try the Milkmakers Lactation Cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, 10 Cookies, 1 Lb 2oz.
- Your body needs sleep in order to produce milk. This piece is challenging because it’s hard to get sleep with you have an infant (or infants). Also, if you sleep longer than 4 hours, you risk reducing your supply. This was hard for me, because even though my twins started to sleep through the night, I had to pump 3 times while they slept. This left me totally exhausted. Recently, I started to let myself sleep 5-6 hours to avoid the fatigue. I try not to go longer than 6 hours because if I do, my supply goes down and then it takes a ton of work to increase it.
- Power pumping. There are a few different options for power pumping. When I power pumped I pumped every hour for about 8 hours in one day. You can also power pump over the course of an hour. Here is an article that explains this technique. This article by Kelly Mom helped me out a ton!
- Let your baby nurse as often as possible. Your baby removes milk better and more efficiently than a pump. This removal helps to signal to your body to supply more milk. If your baby cannot latch, then check out this post over at Kelly Mom that does an amazing summary on Exclusive Pumping. I wish I knew about that site when I was working on increasing my supply.
- Reduce stress. According to the site Kelly Mom, stress impacts your ability to let down milk. If your let down is slow, then it impacts your ability to effectively remove milk. Also, it can make your baby cranky if they are nursing and milk isn’t coming out slowly.
- Be patient. Milk supply comes in at different times for different people. I thought that mine was going to come in early because the initial milk came in earlier than expected. However, I plateaued and I was unable to keep up with my twins demand until they were two months. Just because your milk supply doesn’t come in immediately, doesn’t mean that it won’t. Regardless of whether it comes in or not or if it is enough to exclusively breastfeed or not, be patient with yourself and the process. Trust that you are doing the best that you can for your child(ren).
Hopefully, this helps you along your journey, please head over to the Phenomenal Moms Facebook Group to let me know how you will use these tips.
Aisha Taylor is a single mom of twins, personal financial coach, work from home entrepreneur, and #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle.” Aisha has been featured in ESSENCE and Jet Magazine. She is also the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), a movement designed to help single moms transform their finances, enjoy life, and stop living from paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal!
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