1. Stress Less
I know not being able to feed your baby is pretty stressful. But the more you stress your body out emotionally and physically the more likely you are going to compromise your milk supply. So get the help the need to allow you to take a deep breath and enjoy the magic of the newborn phase. If infant weight gain is a concern, do not be afraid to start using donor milk or even formula while you work on your supply. It can help take a load off and ease the stress and pressure. If you are starting supplementation see lactation as well.
"Remember, you can't give of an empty vessel. So eat and drink up mama!"
- Rue Khosa
The Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation (FIL) is a protein present in breastmilk. It helps regulates milk supply and prevent overproduction and its associated complications. If allowed to build up in the breast it inhibits milk production. Overtime this decreases milk your overall supply. This is why it critical to ensure that the infant is emptying the breasts both effectively and efficiently. If they are not, or cannot not, you need to start pumping and see lactation immediately. Make sure to use a good breast pump Spectra, Motif and Unimom are great, reliable brands.
You know I LOVE a good supplement. Galactagogues are herbs and foods that help increase your milk supply. It is important that you pick a good and reputable brand. Not all supplements are created equal. It is equally important that you research how the ingredients are sourced and how the supplements are made. My go to’s are Mommy Knows Best, Golacta and Legendairy Milk. Also, a common mistake many moms make is stopping their prenatal vitamin after giving birth. Continue taking it or start a postnatal vitamin for as long as you are breastfeeding or are planning to conceive.
Skin-to-skin releases oxytocin and prolactin the two hormones responsible for milk production. Simple as that. Do it early, and do it often.
6. Get Help
The best chance you have to increase your supply is early intervention. The more time that passes without effective breastfeeding being established the less likely even a good IBCLC will be able to establish or restore your milk supply. After about two weeks, if there is inadequate stimulation and effective breastfeeding prolactin levels (the hormone responsible for milk production) drop to pre-pregnancy levels. Also consider getting help with siblings and the household when possible.
Breastfeeding one of the most miraculous experiences a woman and infant can have. However, the reality is, for most first time mothers it takes a while to figure it all out. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. You are not alone. You can book a virtual or in-person lactation consult with me anytime HERE! Good luck mama, you got this!