Breastfeeding Tips and Information on Mother's Milk Supply including how to increase milk supply, breast milk production, and techniques such as babymoon and power pumping.
Breast Milk Production
Knowing your breastfed baby is getting enough is key to the new moms breastfeeding success. Your body makes milk on a supply and demand basis. We don't need ounce markers on the side of our breasts to know the baby is getting enough. What goes in must come out so counting wet and dirty diapers initially is essential to keeping breastfeeding on the right track. When your baby is first born, his wet diapers should increase daily. On day one, he should have at least one, day two, he should have two, up until day six. After six days of age, they have six to eight pale wet diapers daily and three to four mustard colored stools. Other ways we can tell the baby is getting enough milk is that he makes quiet swallowing sounds at the breast. The breast feel full before the feeding and softer afterward. The baby seems satisfied after twenty minutes of swallowing. Babies may loose 8-10% of their birth weight, but begin regaining at day 6 and gain 5-7 ounces per week on the average until 6 months of age. The stools can change at 4-6 weeks of age. (See our Growth and Development page for more information on growth spurts.) If you can't tell if a diaper is wet, hold a new one in one hand and the old one in the other. You will be able to feel a weight difference if the diaper is wet. Dirty diapers should only be counted if the stool is silver dollar sized or larger, not just a stain. So as I said before, what goes in must come out. If you baby is nursing well and getting enough milk, the proof will be in the pudding or in this case in the diaper. And yes, there is an App for that:
A notebook works just as well if you aren't glued to your phone.
Breast Milk Supply
Breast milk supply depends on the age and weight of that baby, but at any age it takes approximately 20 minutes of swallowing for the baby to take in enough milk for proper growth. Below is a breast milk production chart for babies under six months. To calculate milk supply, nurse for the first morning feeding as usual and then three hours later pump with a quality double pump for 15 minutes. Use these numbers to help determine your production. Please note that if you are not comfortable with or used to your breast pump, output may vary. Other pumping variations can occur if you are not using a professional grade breast pump or if your breast shield size is not offering the proper fit.
Increasing Milk Supply
Make sure you are drinking to thirst and still taking your prenatal vitamins. If you want a boost increasing milk supply, there are several methods outlined below.
Breastfeeding Supplements are the easiest method for increasing milk supply. Fenugreek is safe and effective and it increases milk supply in most women in just 48-72 hours when taken in a quality brand like Nature's Herbs or Nature's Way and in the appropriate dosage. The appropriate dosage for an average size mom is three capsules three times daily for a total of 9 capsules per day. Plus size moms can take up to 5 capsules three times daily for a total of 15 per day. Decrease dosage if moms stools become too loose. Blessed Thistle can also be taken in combination with Fenugreek for added effect. Each dosage would be 3 Fenugreek capsules plus 2 Blessed Thistle capsules. Do not take more than 5 capsules of either herb or combination of the two at one time and no more than 15 capsules per day. Making sure the extra calories you need for breastfeeding ie 500 per day are used wisely is also beneficial. Lactation cookies
are a great way to ensure these extra calories have milk boosting benefits.
Babymoon is term used for getting skin to skin with your baby with lots of opportunity to feed. Take your baby to bed for a nap, keep your baby close in a sling with breast exposed, don't plan any trips out of the house and even have grandma watch the older children if need be. This method will usually yield results in 3-5 days.
Power Pumping is another method for increasing milk supply. It takes at least an hour of additional stimulation for 5 days in a row to increase milk supply. You can accomplish this with a good double pump by expressing your milk for 10 minutes of double pumping three times a day for five days in a row. Another option is to place your pump in the most traveled area of your home, a hall perhaps or even the kitchen. Then every time you pass the pump, use it to double pump for 3-5 minutes. Don't bother to take the bottles off, the breast milk is good at room temperature for up to 10 hours. At the end of the day, feed that milk to the baby and then do a full double pumping for 15 minutes to stock pile your freezer.
Overactive Milk Supply (Hyper-lactation)
Overactive milk supply is
diagnosed when a mother who is more than 8 weeks postpartum has extreme
leakage or has a baby who gags from the forceful letdown of her
overabundant supply. Some remedies include less stimulation if she is
nursing and pumping a combination of more than 8 times per day for more
than 10 minutes of double pumping. Lifting the baby above breast level
to feed using pillows or leaning back in a recliner may also help this
problem. Moms should also wear a nursing sleep bra at night to avoid
the additional let downs gravity or no support can cause.