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Top tips for increasing milk supply leading into a growth spurt

I remember as if it was yesterday. My twins, Florence and Charles were just about to hit 6months old and it was well and truly peak season for milk production. 

I still have the records (we use to write every feed down with volumes recorded) of them drinking up to 1litre of my milk each a day. That equals, yes, 2L coming from my boobs. Phew. 

Is your baby going through a growth spurt right now? You will notice, and I say this a lot to our customers, that on your breastfeeding journey the amount of milk your baby needs will go up and down quite considerably. Coincidently, it kind of fits with the whole rollercoaster life of being a mum though don’t you agree!?

One week your boobs will be engorged and on the precipice of mastitis, the next they will be sucked dry and looking like pancakes and you cannot keep up. The later occurs mainly during growth spurts which for my babies were around 3 and 6 months of age but for others it can be more frequent. Your Maternal Child Health Nurse will often supply you with a list of expected ages when you may need some extra milk.

Here are a few tips for you to help keep up with those little guzzlers…

  • Get back on the pumping train, after 1 or two feeds try and express a little more milk and this will help teach your body to make more
  • Be consistent with your feeding, every 3-4 hours. If you are only feeding your baby 1-2 times a day then perhaps think of expressing an additional feed in between those two feeds. Or as I said earlier, pump after you finish the feed.
  • You have heard it before but are you doing it? 3L of fluids per day if you are feeding. If you are drinking coffee you need to add an extra 2 glasses on top of this as it will be dehydrating you. Go for herbal teas, room temperature water and coconut water.
  • Don’t under estimate your calorie intake. Have a think. Are you really eating enough? Your body needs approximately 25% more food so make sure you have an extra snack of quality food and try to ensure each meal is ‘decent’ and contains good fats (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, protein (nuts and seeds, meat, fish, eggs) and quality carbs (buckwheat, spelt, oats, quinoa, brown rice etc).
  • Sleep and rest. Yes, I know it is a complete joke when you have a newborn but let’s try. If you are exhausted, your body is only focused on trying to keep you up and about. If you give yourself some self love and attention you will be amazed at how your body responds. It will have more energy to produce that milk. Remember you can not pour from an empty cup.
  • At each meal, try adding in to your diet some of the below galactagogue foods i.e. have quinoa with your stirfry, add fennel to your next lot of roasted vegetables, add almonds and walnuts to your next salad, 1tbs of ground flaxseed meal to your muesli, make a brown rice congee or use brown rice instead of pasta.
  • Grab some lactation herbal tea from our friends such as mamabodytea.com and www.lovetea.com
  • Think about seeing a naturopath or herbalist. Some of my favourite herbs I would make in to mixes for my breastfeeding mums include: St Mary’s Thistle, Asparagus, Fenugreek, Fennel, Nettle, Withania and Goats Rue. Make sure you get professional advice on this before diving in to taking liquid herbs.
  • Buy some Franjos! As if I was not going to say that ;-) Breakfast, lunch and snacks – we have you covered when you do not have the time to think about it. We suggest you have 2-3 biscuits / crackers or 60gm of muesli 4-5 hours prior to the feed that is a bit low for you. i.e. your late afternoon / evening supply is low. So, have a few biscuits after lunch and you should notice a difference. Or enjoy a lunch of crackers and dip with salad and extra protein such as left over chicken from last nights dinner.

 

Galactagogue list

Certain foods have a reputation for encouraging milk production. These foods and herbs are known as ‘Galactagogues’.

  • Whole oats
  • Flaxseeds
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Fennel seeds
  • Fennel bulb
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Nettle
  • Dill
  • Green Papaya
  • Brown rice
  • Beetroot
  • Almonds
  • Sesame
  • Walnuts
  • Barley
  • Se vegetables (dulse, hijiki and kombu)
  • Alfalfa
  • Dandelion leaves

Try and use these where you can.

Good luck Mumma, you got this x