If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know it’s one of my favorite topics to write about. (Here are 10 Survival Tips for Moms Who Pump.)
Probably because I’ve spent the better part of the last two years hooked up to a pump.
I would do it all again.
I always come across people who say, “I hated pumping!” or “Why didn’t you just nurse?”
Insert eye roll.
Short answer? I wanted to nurse. I tried so hard to nurse. Then they lost weight. So I had to decide – what was more important? Telling people I breastfed my (skinny) baby, or feeding them the nutrients they needed?
If you are researching pumping for whatever reason, I know your pain. I know you are tired and looking for an option before you transition to formula. And before that guilt sets in – whatever you choose to feed your baby, I do believe that “fed is best.”
In celebration of hitting my goal of pumping for Beau for 9 months, I wanted to pass along the best ways to increase supply that worked for me. I want to caution this is what worked for me. I’m not a medical professional, and these may not work for you. It’s always best to talk to your doctor (and not this random girl on the Internet). But if I know anything about being a mom, a lot of times other moms really have some good advice to give from their experiences!
- Learn about milk supply. First and foremost, your supply will ebb and flow. Some days you will pump more than others. It doesn’t always mean your supply is actually decreasing. Try some of the tips below to increase supply, and don’t let yourself worry too much.
- Identify the issues. Try to find out what caused your decreased supply. If I found I had lack of sleep (umm, yes), hadn’t eaten enough, drank enough water, stressed, or had alcohol (even a glass) the night before, I saw a decrease in supply. When I figured out what possibly caused the decrease, I tried to offset that specific reason.
- Gatorade. I would usually purchase the big Gatorade at the grocery store and drink it throughout the morning. It’s a lot of liquid, but worked well to increase my supply or help it get back to my normal place.
- Oatmeal. I like oatmeal, so this one was an easy way to help increase my supply. I noticed the supply increase a couple of days after I started eating oatmeal, not right away, so it took 2-3 days to really see a difference, but every ounce matters!
- Fenugreek + Blessed Thistle. This is my go-to and I had an Amazon subscription for these I took them so much. I took 2 of each, 3 times per day and usually took them for three weeks straight, then took a week off. I always saw a decrease in supply during that week.
- Milky Mama Treats. My favorite and most delicious way to increase supply! I loved their emergency brownies, and their normal lactation cookies and brownies were absolutely delicious too. They are actually giving readers a 10% discount on their website when you use the code BORMANDCO until January 16! I would usually eat two brownies per day (lunch and dinner treats!) and always saw an increase of 2-3 ounces per day I was eating them. I usually bought the emergency brownies when I needed a quick boost after sickness or travel and they got me right back to where I was. Readers can also enter the giveaway below for a $15 Store Credit!
- Take care of your boobs. I found that certain bras or nursing pads made me very uncomfortable or caused me discomfort. Bamboobies were my favorite nursing pads, plus they are washable vs. disposable. They are soft and also long-term much less expensive than new pads every day. Enter the giveaway below for a pack of reusable pads and organic nipple balm!
- Water. While I’m known to run on coffee, it’s so important to keep drinking water throughout the day when you are pumping or nursing. Sip a few extra cups throughout the day if you’re noticing your supply dipping. Even a glass or two extra makes a big difference.
- Take a nap. Easier said than done, right? But whenever I was low on sleep, my supply totally suffered. My husband has been my biggest supporter with pumping, so whenever I could, I’d ask him to take over child care duty so I could catch up on even a little sleep. It helped!
- Regularly change your pumping membranes. You are supposed to do this about every month or so, and when I forgot to do this, I noticed a difference in my output. Make sure you are changing the membranes as often as you can, and keep an extra set in your pump bag should one break (it’s happened to me!)