How to Increase Breast Milk Naturally at Home: A Guide for Breastfeeding Moms
Breast milk is the best possible nutrition source for newborns. It provides all essential nutrients and antibodies that help protect infants from infections and diseases. However, some breastfeeding moms struggle to produce enough milk, which can be a cause of concern. While there are several over-the-counter lactation supplements available, many women prefer natural methods to increase breast milk production. In this article, we’ll explore some proven ways to boost breast milk supply naturally at home.
Implement a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is crucial for milk production. It is essential to consume enough calories and nutrients to produce milk. Breastfeeding moms should aim to eat a balanced diet that includes whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. They should also include foods that are known to improve breast milk production. Some of the best foods for lactation include:
– Oatmeal: It is rich in iron, fiber, and protein, and helps maintain blood sugar levels.
– Fennel seeds: They contain essential oils that boost milk production.
– Fenugreek: It is an herb that stimulates the production of milk-making hormones.
– Brewer’s yeast: It is a good source of iron, B-vitamins, and chromium, which promote lactation.
– Garlic: It is believed to help increase milk production, and also adds flavor to food.
Moms can also consume beverages that promote lactation, such as herbal teas, milk-based drinks, and fresh fruit juices. It is important to include variety in the daily diet to avoid monotony and boredom. Eating a variety of healthy foods also ensures that the mother receives all of the nutrients she needs to produce high-quality milk.
Maintain Proper Hydration
Drinking enough water is essential for milk production. Breast milk is 90% water, and dehydration can negatively impact milk supply. Therefore, breastfeeding moms should aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. They can also include other fluids, such as fresh juices, coconut water, and milk.
It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re taking care of your baby. Here are some tips to stay hydrated:
– Keep a water bottle within reach.
– Drink a glass of water every time you breastfeed.
– Drink water with every meal and snack.
– Consume hydrating fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, cucumber, and tomatoes.
Moms should be careful to drink enough water but avoid over-hydrating, which can also be dangerous. Drinking more water than necessary will not increase breast milk production.
Increase Breastfeeding Frequency
The more often a baby nurses, the more milk the mother’s body produces. Frequent breastfeeding helps stimulate milk production and signals the body to produce more milk. Newborns need to be fed around eight to twelve times within a 24-hour period. Moms should also avoid any long gaps between feedings.
Here are some practical tips to encourage more frequent breastfeeding:
– Keep your baby close. It’s easier to notice signs of hunger when your baby is near.
– Feed on demand. Try to breastfeed whenever your baby shows signs of hunger.
– Offer both breasts at each feeding to encourage better milk flow.
– Make sure your baby is latched on properly to ensure maximum milk transfer.
– Avoid using formula supplements, as this may reduce milk production.
It’s essential to remember that frequent breastfeeding does not mean stressing the baby; babies may feed for different durations each time, so it’s best to follow their lead.
Allow for Proper Rest and Relaxation
Stress and fatigue can significantly impact milk production. It’s vital for breastfeeding moms to take care of themselves physically and mentally. Rest, relaxation and stress management strategies can help create an optimal environment for milk production.
Here are some tips to encourage moms to rest and relax:
– Take short naps whenever possible.
– Ask for help from family or friends to manage household chores.
– Avoid taking on too many commitments outside of taking care of the baby.
– Practice deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to manage stress.
– Get moderate amounts of exercise like walking, cardio, and yoga.
Taking care of oneself also has many benefits beyond milk production, including supporting emotional and physical well-being.
Engage in Breast Massage
Breast massage can help promote better milk flow and reduce the risk of clogged milk ducts. It encourages milk production and improves the baby’s feeding experience. The massage helps stretch and soften the breast tissue, which makes it easier for milk to flow out.
Here are some tips for moms to practice breast massage:
– Use warm compresses before massaging to ensure better blood flow and milk letdown.
– Apply some massage oil or breast milk, and massage gently in a circular motion.
– Start from the outer parts of the breast and work your way inwards.
– Use different massage techniques such as firm pressure, gentle strokes, and kneading to encourage milk flow.
A Breastfeeding mom can also use a breast pump before or after massaging to increase milk flow.
Use Breastfeeding Aids
Sometimes, despite following all of the tips discussed above, some mom might face difficulties when breastfeeding. Here are some breastfeeding aids that can help address specific breastfeeding challenges:
– Breast pumps: They help stimulate milk production and express milk to increase supply.
– Nipple shields: They are used for flat or inverted nipples that can make breastfeeding difficult.
– Lactation cookies: They are made with ingredients that promote lactation and taste delicious.
– Nursing bras and pads: Nursing pads help with leaks and nursing bras provide support to the breasts.
Make sure you consult a lactation consultant or doctor before using any of these aids to ensure they are suitable for you and your baby’s needs.
Breastfeeding is an exceptional opportunity to bond with your baby and provide them with everything they need to thrive. While some women may face challenges during the breastfeeding journey, there are several natural ways to increase breast milk production at home. It’s essential to maintain a healthy diet, proper hydration, frequent breastfeeding, rest and relaxation, breast massage, and use of breastfeeding aids, as they can all contribute to better milk flow. Make sure to consult with a doctor or lactation consultant if you face any challenges during breastfeeding.