There. We said it right in the title. The entirety of this blog will be about one burning, Hulk-sized, million-dollar question: Can supplements really increase my milk supply?
Keep in mind, mama, when it comes to health and how your body reacts, outcomes will vary based on different bodies, breastfeeding supplements, and the rising sun over Aries and something about the moon…? We don’t actually know how that stuff works, so we’ll scratch the last part and stick to what we’re good at.
Before we dive into supplements that increase milk supply, let’s make sure we cover all our bases first. If you feel like you’re a little short in the milk supply department, you should first eliminate any external factors. External factors include:
Latching: Is your baby latching correctly? If you are noticing hunger cues, position the baby so their head is tilted slightly back and their ear, shoulder, and hip are aligned to ease the baby’s ability to swallow. Cup your breast in your hand as to create a “C” or “U” shape, rub your nipple across their upper lip to encourage them to open their mouth, and the baby should attempt to latch on. Signs of a good latch include: seeing the baby’s tongue if you pull the baby’s bottom lip down, you hear swallowing and not smacking noises, the baby’s chin is at the lower part of your breast, any pain or discomfort should subside after the baby latches, and the baby seems satisfied (relaxed, falls asleep, hands are open) after feeding.
- Frequency of Feeding: How often are you breastfeeding? According to Kids Health, a newborn should feed about 8-12 times a day (or “on demand”) in the first month. When your little peach is one to two months old, they may start to reduce the amount of times they feed to 7-9 times per day. In the beginning, your baby may nurse every 1.5-3 hours. As they get older, the time spent in between feedings may increase and their schedule may become more reliable. However, note that newborns should not go more than four hours between breastfeeding sessions.
- Emptying of Breasts/Length of Feeding: Don’t prematurely stop your baby from feeding. Let your baby decide when they are done. As you feed, try to empty one breast before offering the second one. Alternating breasts will make sure each side is adequately able to empty and replenish, which is especially important if you want to increase and stabilize the amount of milk you produce when you first start nursing.
- General Nutrition: Have you taken a look at your own general nutrition? After giving birth, mothers go through what is called “postnatal depletion.” This postnatal depletion is essentially the gaping nutritional, physical, and emotional “hole” we are left to heal postpartum. To do this? Mothers need to be hyper-aware of their nutrition. New moms should be eating at least three times a day, drinking plenty of water and fluids, and should not be on a low calorie diet. Need inspiration? Check out our blog post on breastfeeding diets.
While we are all guilty for being “internet doctors” and trying our best to self-diagnose, it’s important to consult your doctor or lactation consultant if you are worried you aren’t producing enough milk. Once they rule out any external factors and approve the use of supplements, then you can incorporate supplements into your diet.
Supplements to Increase Your Milk Supply
How do supplements work?
Galactogogues are substances that can help boost milk supply. These galactogogues can be found in various forms such as; supplements, herbs, lactation cookies, pharmaceuticals, teas and more.
Because Majka is in the business of clean ingredients, we’ll be focusing on more natural galactagogue supplements that increase your milk supply. When exploring breastfeeding supplements, look for options that contain some of these key ingredients:
If you’re a frequent IHOP diner or you just really love pancakes, you may have consumed fenugreek without realizing it. Why? Fenugreek is commonly used to flavor artificial maple syrup. Pushing the gooey pancake accessory aside, fenugreek is by far, one of the most well-known herbal supplements to help boost milk supply. Used for centuries, fenugreek is a leafy herb that contains phytoestrogens, plant chemicals that mimic female estrogen.
While all bodies differ, some women have noticed a boost in milk production 24 to 72 hours after adding fenugreek to their diet. Fenugreek has also been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is included on the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) List.
Often mixed into culinary creations, fennel is a licorice-tasting herb that has been used to treat digestive, menstrual, and low milk supply problems. Like fenugreek, fennel finds itself on the FDA’s GRAS list and contains phytoestrogens that imitate estrogen. In addition to being a popular breastfeeding supplement ingredient, fennel contains vitamin c, copper, folate, potassium, and fiber.
In recent years, this marigold dust has been the talk of the town when it comes to its natural benefits. Turmeric, most commonly used in India, is believed to be a galactagogue to increase breast milk production. Turmeric also has antibacterial and antiviral properties that is used to strengthen the immune system, has anti-inflammatory properties (good for reducing risk of mastitis in newly breastfeeding mothers), and can add a zip of dopamine to the brain acting as a natural antidepressant.
Another supplement that can increase milk supply is caraway seeds. Caraway seeds are similar to fennel seeds in flavor; both taste similar to anise or licorice. Caraway seeds can be used for its lactation producing qualities, as well as its digestive properties.
How to Implement Breastfeeding Supplements
There are many ways to introduce breastfeeding supplements such as the ones listed above into your diet as a new mother. There are capsules, teas, seeds, lactation cookies, and powders you can take.
Integrating an organic breastfeeding powder that encompasses all (or more!) of these galactagogue ingredients will save you time and money instead of trying to introduce each ingredient separately. Super-powders like Majka’s Nourishing Lactation Protein Powder includes their specialized lactation blend along with an assortment of other health blends like their protein, greens, and digestive enzyme blends. If you’re just looking for a boost in lactation support, Majka’s Lactation Booster will help melt away any milk-related meltdowns you’ve been experiencing. Either of these options can be easily whirred into your favorite smoothie or stirred into a glass of cashew, coconut, almond, or really any other milk or juice of your choosing.
While all of these natural breastfeeding supplements are considered safe, they are not 100 percent scientifically proven to increase breast milk supply. Get approval from your health provider before adding anything into your diet when breastfeeding and be aware of what seems to work or not.
We’ll leave you with one more piece of advice: breathe. Feeling like you’re low in milk supply or aren’t able to adequately produce enough milk for your baby can leave you feeling incredibly frustrated and discouraged. Just know, that no matter the cause, you will find a solution and you and your baby will be okay. Smile, mama. You’re doing just fine. #lovemajka #fuelingmotherhood
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