Lactation Support

Hello, dear readers!

I've survived the rush of birthday season and now we can resume our regular, hectic schedule. That's good news for you because I have some great posts waiting to be shared with you! I have  jewelry boxes, a new box from Influenster to review, a couple awesome recipes, and then this post.

Today's post is something near and dear to my heart. That's breastfeeding. Mom's can never get too much support, if you asked me.

I have successfully breastfed my three kiddos.  I worked full time and pumped two or three times a day for the first year of each child's life. Once I got the OK from the pediatrician, I introduced cow's milk and gradually reduced pumping at work to a stop. But I still had a great milk supply. I know, I know. Lucky me!

My oldest had a huge appetite and even with my great milk supply, using supplements and galactogogue foods, I still had to supplement with formula.  He weaned just before he turned two because my supply changed (being pregnant does that!)

My middle daughter was completely different. She ate like a bird, so my super milk supply tended to be too much for her sometimes so I had to find ways to tone it down. She weaned at three years, but at that point it was just comfort nursing before bedtime.

I'm currently BFing the youngest. She is 22 months old now. Thankfully, she has a great appetite and is willing to try new foods.  I'm aiming to wean her near her upcoming birthday.

Before I go any further, let's briefly address the positive aspects of breastfeeding.

  • Baby is getting nourishment that can in no way be reproduced in a factory. 
  • Mama and baby are able to bond. 
  • Baby has lower rates of sickness, like respiratory issues and allergies.  
  • Mom also gets health benefits like a lower rate of breast cancer and nursing can help mom lose weight. 
However, there is no guarantee that mom will lose weight. Hormones are tricky things and maybe you'll be like me where your mom body is very happy and functional above your mentally ideal weight. So you accept the new you and help that little angel thrive.

Plus, breastmilk is FREE!!! Cans of formula are so expensive!

Let's talk about foods that can increase milk supply. My go-to food was oatmeal.  I normally eat oatmeal for breakfast 2 or 3 times a week. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Instant packets are great. I've found that all kinds of oatmeal have a positive effect on milk production. It can be a granola bar or as an ingredient in a dish and still have positive effects, like oatmeal cookies, apple crisp,  or multigrain waffles.

I also occasionally added flax seeds or chia seeds to my diet.  They are not specifically known to be lactogenic, but I figured any extra nutrients from those superfoods couldn't hurt.

Certain vegetables can be beneficial.  Sweet potatoes, fennel, and kale come to mind. Oven roasted diced sweet potatoes are so tasty!

I also used herbal supplements. I did not use these on a day-to-day basis, only if I felt like I wasn't getting enough milk.  The easiest for me was drinking herbal tea for mothers.  My favorite was Traditional Medicinals organic Mother's Milk tea.  Yogi Tea Woman's Nursing Mom tea also helped. There are other brands out there, but I tried these myself and they worked for me. I've been able to find these teas at my regular grocery store. I also used an herbal tincture for mothers that came from a health food store.  These typically contain herbs like blessed thistle, anise, coriander, fenugreek, and other flowery herbs.

Keep taking prenatal vitamins.  It might sound funny to take pregnancy vitamins, but nursing moms need all the vitamins they can get. At least take a good multivitamin. Babies do a really good job of sucking the nutrients out of you.

A food that helped my milk supply, I found quite by accident, was at Trader Joes.  The frozen chicken tikka masala with rice entree did a great job of boosting my supply.  It contains fenugreek seeds, which are lactogenic.

When I started to wean, or just needed to cut my supply down, I cut back on the oatmeal consumption and stopped the herbal tea.  I also used certain herbs to help suppress my supply. Sage, parsley, and oregano are easy to add to foods and they did noticeably work to reduce my supply.

There were foods that I ate that flavored the milk, foods the kids didn't like.  Bell peppers, spicy foods, and blue cheese would make all three very cranky. Sometimes they would just flat out refuse the boob when I ate those. That knowledge can come in handy when it's weaning time.

What about alcohol? I had heard from other moms that drinking a beer (yes, just one) helped them boost their milk supply. I think that hops may be the helpful ingredient. I don't like beer, so I tried a bottle of hard cider or glass of wine.  I found alcoholic drinks diminished my supply. Perhaps this is one to test with caution. Any more than a single drink, especially a drink with a higher alcohol content is not safe in my opinion. Alcohol can travel to the milk supply.

If you're just getting started with breastfeeding, or not, it doesn't hurt to brush up on local laws if you're planning on nursing out in public.

For example,  Nevada Revised Statues NRS 201.235
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breast feed her child in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding."

I am by no means an expert. I am not certified in anything regarding lactation or health. I am just a mom that has read a lot and tried a zillion things in the past 11 years of my motherhood experience.  I hope this is a useful piece of information for someone else.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

PS I paid for all my own stuff myself. No sponsorship here.


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