Breast Milk: How to Increase and Maintain the Flow

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As many of you know, I am a HUGE proponent of breast feeding, even though I am completely unable to produce breast milk myself, due to a surgery I had as a teenager. (You can read more about my story by clicking here.) So enamored am I by this healthy, natural, miracle liquid for growing babies, that I’ve gone to great lengths to procure breast milk for my baby girl.
Tessa is going to be 10 months old on the 10th of July, and so far she has been 100% exclusively breast fed with donor milk from amazing moms! That’s THOUSANDS of ounces of milk pumped for my baby girl. To say I am grateful to these generous moms doesn’t even begin to cover it!
I’ve been itching to share information on the breast milk production side of things (instead of my incessant posting from the babies nutritional side) and so I am excited to share this article by Leslie Vandever, a mom, a professional journalist, and a freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. It’s packed with great information I’d love to share, by someone far more qualified to share it than myself, hehe.

Breast Milk: How to Increase and Maintain the Flow

First: Yay, you! You chose to breastfeed your baby!
The physical and emotional benefits she’ll get from this most natural nourishment include a stronger immune system and increased resistance to infections and disease, a decreased risk for developing allergies, and she’ll have stronger teeth with fewer cavities. You get some benefits too: quicker weight loss following birth and a decreased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
In addition, breast milk provides substances that help calm your baby as she nurses. Nursing releases “feel-good” chemicals in your brain that are calming and soothing to you, as well. And let’s not forget the simple joy of cuddling your baby, skin-to-skin, as she gets all the nutrition she needs to thrive.
As time passes, your little one will learn to latch on to your nipples and suck more efficiently. As she grows, your body will naturally adjust to her needs, producing more milk, more consistently. Nevertheless, you may sometimes wonder if your baby is getting enough milk.
First, make sure that your baby is latching and sucking effectively. This, all by itself, may be the culprit. Talk with your doctor or pediatrician about how to help her if you think she’s having problems.
Next, understand that your baby’s interest in feeding may ebb and wane, just like yours. Keep in mind that as she grows, she’ll be able to get all she needs during a feeding session much faster. Infants tend to grow in spurts, and during a growth spurt, your baby will want more to eat. It may take your body a little bit of time to catch up with her appetite, but it will.
Then, make sure you’re not experiencing any health conditions or taking any medications that might affect your ability to produce milk. Smoking can affect milk production; so can some types of birth control. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.
If it’s clear that your baby is healthy and sucking well, and that there aren’t any medical, medication, or other problems affecting your milk supply, there are several ways to stimulate your body to produce—and keep producing—more.
Start by breastfeeding more often. Increase the number of feedings (up to 12 in 24 hours) and let your baby stop feeding when she wants to. Be sure to offer both breasts during each feeding— this stimulates equal milk production on both sides. The more your little one eats, the more milk your body will produce.
After breastfeeding, pump your breasts for several minutes to stimulate additional milk production. Hand expressing or using a hand-pump may not be enough; consider renting a hospital-grade pump. Put expressed/pumped milk into hard plastic or glass containers and freeze, storing for three to six months in the back of the freezer. (Never store breast milk on the freezer door.) Use the stored milk when you know you won’t be able to breastfeed during an outing, etc.
Don’t give your baby a pacifier (“dummy,” “binky,” “soother”). Make your “mama-nipple” her “go-to” nipple. Skin-to-skin contact with your little one is important, too, so try to increase it. Put her, wearing only a diaper, on your bare chest with a cloth or sheet covering both of you.
Finally, if none of this helps, talk to your doctor about trying a medicine or herbal preparation formulated to stimulate milk production. For more health information, click here.
Leslie Vandever is a mom, a professional journalist, and a freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in the foothills of Northern California.

References:

• Milk Supply Issues. (2013, Mar 3) La Leche League International. Retrieved on May 18, 2014 from http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbmilksupplyissues.html
• Breastfeeding. (2012, July 16) Women’sHealth.gov. Office on Women’s Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved on May 19, 2014 from http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/common-challenges/index.html#b
• Low Milk Production. (n.d.) Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved on May 19, 2014 from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/pregnancy_and_childbirth/low_milk_production_90,P02888/
• The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby and Mom. (n.d.) Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved on May 19, 2014 from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/pregnancy/hic-the-benefits-of-breastfeeding-for-baby-and-for-mom.aspx
• How Do I Breastfeed? (2014, April 14) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved on May 19, 2014 from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/breastfeeding/conditioninfo/Pages/how-is-it-done.aspx
• Breast Milk Storage: Do’s and Don’ts. (2012, April 6) Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on May 19, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breast-milk-storage/art-20046350?pg=1
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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

One thought on “Breast Milk: How to Increase and Maintain the Flow

  • 4 October, 2014 at 4:59 pm
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    I breastfed all three of my boys, the dr could not believe that it was breast milk in a bottle one day, so I emptied it out and refilled it within 5 min (4oz) he asked my what I did to make it so good I told him I used the Tea Mothers Milk. I swear by it.

    Reply

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