We all know that human milk is the best way to nurture your baby. That feeling, knowing that your body is able to create the perfect food for a small human being and that you can feed your baby even if you are in the middle of nowhere, it is amazing! Moreover, your body is able to know exactly what your baby needs, thus it can change the milk’s composition in order to ensure him adequate nutrients.
Breast milk contains strong antibodies, antitoxins, growth factors and hormones that are specific to the human race. Many scientists believe that human milk makes the healing process easier and helps to have a better overall health. You will not find all these in milk formula.
Sometimes you may find yourself in situations that make you think your milk supply has decreased. When you think that you aren’t producing enough milk to cover your baby’s needs, you decide to boost your supply.
Some women may want to increase their milk production even though they have a medical condition that simply doesn’t allow them to do that.
Next, I want to provide you some precious information about some products that may help you overcome this challenge.
Galactogogues may be a real help in situations like this. However, you must remember that any of these will not solve your problem if it is caused by non-effective milk extraction. If for some reason your baby is not able to extract milk frequently and effectively, there are no supplements that could help you boost your supply enough to cover your needs.
First of all, my advice for you is before taking any supplements, check with your doctor or your certified lactation consultant. They are generally considered safe and there are no known side effects. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry, right?
The most common way to supplement your milk supply is probably using FENUGREEK. Your lactation consultant is the only one who can establish after an evaluation, what is the right dose for your particular case.
If you notice that your milk supply has increased in a 24 to 48 hour period that is a sign you have been prescribed the right dose of fenugreek. Also, fenugreek has a particular smell. In some cases, if the mother has a medical condition, fenugreek may affect her milk supply.
Alfalfa is a popular, nutritious, often used galactagogue; however, it generally used combined with several others. If you have Lupus or another autoimmune disease, it is best to avoid it as
Alfalfa seeds and sprouts contain L-canavanine, which has been found to cause or exacerbate lupus symptoms.
Some mothers choose to boost their milk supply using NON-ALCOHOLIC BEER. The galactagogue effect of this type of beer is not certain yet, however, in some cases it worked. Be careful! Try to avoid alcohol as it does imply some risks for your baby. The neurological delay is not to be neglected! Alcohol may increase the oxytocin level, the hormone responsible for the release of milk, but at the same time will reduce your prolactin level, the hormone responsible for milk production.
Caraway seeds are another type of galactagogue known for its ant colic and anti-flatulence effect. It is often used to help increase the milk flow in nursing mothers. It can be found in different combinations with other galactagogues.
Fennel is also frequently used by breastfeeding mothers. However, the number of studies made on humans at this moment is limited. There are two studies that revealed a certain increase in some parameters: milk volume fat content and weight gain of the baby when nursing mothers were treated with products containing fennel. The W.H.O. doesn’t impose any restrictions on the quantity of infusion from fennel seeds or fruit to be used by a nursing mother. Some studies recommend limiting the duration of treatment to maximum two weeks.
Hop cones, not as famous as the previous ones, however, if you are also experiencing stress, apart from your low milk supply, this could be a very effective solution. It helps mothers release tension and have a relaxing sleep. It also improves your milk ejection reflex.
Goat’s rue is definitely not the most famous one. This helps especially mothers who have an insufficient glandular tissue, in the sense that it actually helps develop tissue. It belongs to the same family as fenugreek and it also has diabetic properties. One of its compounds is beneficial in many cases of PCOS. If you are experiencing this issue, Goat’s rue can be the most appropriate galactagogue for you.
Spirulina supplements also help boost your immunity and help enhance your mental health. Although spirulina contains is rich in proteins, vitamins, iron and other minerals, scientific research supporting the use of this algae is limited. It is best to ask for your doctor’s or your lactation consultant’s opinion before you use spirulina supplements while breastfeeding.
Moringa powder is another supplement that you may not have heard so much about before.
Moringa amazingly contains 46 types of antioxidants and 92 nutrients. It also contains essential amino acids carotenoids and high contents of calcium and potassium.
Dandelion leaves are considered to be lactogenic and good to use when milk is slow to come in. Young dandelion leaves on which chemicals have not been used can be cooked or even added to a salad.
Dill seed is often included in many popular commercial galactagogue products because it seems to work especially well when combined with other galactagogues. Dill seed is also thought to be one of the herbs that help facilitate milk ejection.
A balanced diet which contains oatmeal, barley, millet, sesame seeds, quinoa, almonds, flaxseed and brewer’s yeast will help you to maintain your milk supply at a good level.
The decision to use galactagogue supplements and in what quantity should only be made after taking into consideration your circumstances and your personal comfort level, along with the input of your lactation consultant and /or healthcare providers.
You can share this information with your IBCLC lactation consultant, in order to decide together which the best option for you is.
Next, I will offer you a TODO list to use whenever you experience a decrease in your milk supply.
-Make sure the baby is nursing efficiently. If the milk is not efficiently extracted from the breasts, you may experience a decrease in your milk supply;
–Nurse frequently as long as your baby is actively nursing;
– Apply breast compressions to keep your baby feeding longer;
–Avoid bottles and pacifiers, give your baby only breast milk, without even the smallest quantity of water or tea as well as solid foods before 6 months of age;
– Don’t panic. Stress can deplete your milk supply more than anything else. Take a deep breath and repeat to yourself that everything will be ok!
– Focus on what you, together with your IBCLC consultant, can do to help increase your milk supply as soon as possible.
Many women (who did not have any medical issues to interfere) are successful in their attempts.
– Don’t blame yourself or think that you are a bad mother if you are forced by your circumstances to use a formula for a short period. You are the best mother to your baby!
-Consider pumping when needed;
–Sleep while your baby sleeps.