On Your Health

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Advice and Recipes To Boost Your Milk Supply

When they are breastfeeding, many new mothers may wonder if they are producing enough milk. They may look for ways to naturally boost their milk supply so their baby gets all the nutrition and antibodies that breast milk can provide.

According to Becky Drevets, an international board-certified lactation consultant at INTEGRIS Health Edmond Women’s Center, breastfeeding may seem like a natural thing that should come easy, but instinct can only go so far. In fact, three days after birth, 92 percent of new mothers said they struggled with breastfeeding. So, if you’re frustrated, you’re not alone!

Unfortunately, Oklahomans trail much of the nation when it comes to breastfeeding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 71 percent of Oklahoma babies have been breastfed, compared to about 79 percent nationwide. Oklahoma mothers are also less likely to breastfeed as time goes on — six months after birth, only about 38 percent of Oklahoma moms are still breastfeeding, compared to 49 percent nationwide.

What you can do to boost your milk supply

Drink up

The number one tip to create more milk is to stay hydrated. The National Institutes of Health says breastfeeding women should increase their intake of water and other fluids to meet their bodies' needs, but their infants do not need additional water. If properly hydrated, breast milk has adequate amounts of water for babies. While every mother’s hydration needs vary, drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water and sugar-free fluids should be your minimum.

Eat a healthy diet

A well-balanced, healthy diet is important to create enough breast milk and breast milk that has all the nutrition your baby needs. According to the experts, women who are breastfeeding need an extra 500 calories a day, but not all calories are created equal.

High-protein foods like oatmeal and eggs are good choices, but nutritious vegetables and fruits, flaxseed meal, whole grains and good fats like nuts, avocados and some oily fish like salmon are great to help boost your supply and keep up your energy.

Let your baby take the lead

Babies often set the schedule when it comes to breastfeeding. Go with your baby’s needs and feed as often as the infant demands. Lactation consultants often recommend that every time your baby is hungry, you feed them. If you are looking for a boost, feeding on demand may be the way to go as the more your baby feeds, the more your body produces.

It also helps to let your infant feed fully on each side. When your little hungry babe completely empties a breast, they get the added benefit of getting the foremilk and fatty hindmilk, which are great for their development.

Use your breast pump

Using a breast pump is especially helpful for moms who want to maintain their milk supply when they aren’t able to breastfeed. If the baby is only feeding one side, pumping the other side also ensures that the breasts continue to make milk. If you don’t have a pump yet, INTEGRIS provides a breast pump program to help you get your pump. Visit integrisbreastpumps.com for more info or call 405-951-8799 for assistance.

Take your vitamins

Breastfeeding mothers need to take some sort of daily multivitamin that contains 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). Prenatal vitamins are fine, but be sure you’re not getting more iron than you need. Breastfeeding mamas also need on average 1,300 mg of calcium per day and slightly more vitamin C than they took during pregnancy.

How to get on a pumping schedule

According to Drevets, many moms struggle with breastfeeding after returning to work. To keep up your milk supply, it’s important to speak with your supervisor about proper places to pump and figure out your pump schedule ahead of time. This makes the transition to work and pumping regularly much easier.

Read more helpful tips about returning to work and your pumping schedule in our common obstacles of breastfeeding blog post.

Recipes for healthy milk production

Nothing beats food that tastes amazing and still gives you and your baby the nutrition you both need. Here are some recipes for better milk production, including chocolate chip cookies!

If you want to bake some lactation cookies this weekend, check out this recipe from AllRecipes.com

(download the recipe)

lactation recipe

Here’s a great recipe by TheLeakyBoob.com to make a refreshing lactation lemonade.

(download the recipe)

lactation recipe

Want a delicious and hearty soup for dinner? Try this chicken barley soup from TodaysParent.com

(download the recipe)

lactation recipe

Seeing a lactation consultant for breastfeeding

To learn all of the best practices when it comes to breastfeeding, it’ important to work with a lactation consultant. There will be a lot going on right after birth, so you can schedule an appointment during your pregnancy to learn the basics. A consultant will cover proper nursing positions, feeding durations and how to get the best latch.

It is also recommended you see a consultant after giving birth to make sure breastfeeding is going smoothly and there aren’t any problems.

Lactation consultants are available throughout the INTEGRIS Women’s Health network in Oklahoma. In addition to the INTEGRIS Milk Bar in Edmond, many INTEGRIS facilities offer a number of free breastfeeding classes and support groups.

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