Breastfeeding is one of those blissful experiences that can be either fabulously comforting and reassuring of your role as a mom and in the same vein positively heart-rending when the milk supply is going wonky or latching is going less than successfully and you both end up in tears. There are lots of emotions wrapped up in breastfeeding, and I've probably felt most of them. But for this post, I've been asked about my success with "getting-in" my milk supply and maintaining it (it's been different each time) and I have to chalk this one up to experience, the fabulous lactation consultants at Baylor and the awesome set up from the Antepartum team while I was still in the hospital.
|Credit: Breast Milk Counts, here|
Tips that have worked for me:
1) Just Pump It. I don't know anything that has worked better for me than this advice -- Milk is a supply and demand thing. Now since my baby only takes about 9ML an hour, I'm getting way more milk in than he needs, but still pump away because every ounce counts. Bring in fresh when possible and freeze the rest. Know that there will be times when you have to pump and dump -- it's part of life, try not to cry (trust me -- it totally happens)
1.b -- Get a good breast pump. Electric-hospital grade, if at all possible. Here's the thing. The suckers are kind of expensive, but count it as an investment and now that some insurance companies will foot the bill, especially if your baby is in the NICU or you can talk you OB into writing a prescription, getting one is even easier
In Dallas, you can reach out to the folks at Simply Moms at Baylor Dallas, the Lactation Care Center of Dallas and the La Leche League for more resources.
1.c --- Get more than two nursing bras (one to wear, one to wash, one to survive leaky boob), preferably hands-free, if you can find one. I am still looking for even better ones, so by all means send your suggestions and favorites my way, but right now, Bravado and Bella Materna are my favorites.
2) Stay hydrated. Agua is the breastfeeding mom's friend. It seems rather obvious, but you'd be surprised how much of a difference hydration makes -- not to mention, everything just flows better when you've been well saturated.
|credit: Coca Cola smartwter|
3) Amp up the protein, iron and folic acid. Steel-cut and Rolled Oats, lean meats, almonds, dark leafy greens and apricots are all examples of super foods that are rich in iron, protein and folic acid that enrich your milk and aid your body in the development of milk.
4) Mother's Milk Tea. I love this stuff. I sip on a cup at night and during the day after my cup of coffee (yes, I know that the amount of caffeine is to be limited). It's faintly sweet, mildly floral anise flavored tea has been a standby since I was feeding my eldest way back in 2006 :)
|Credit: Traditional Medicinals|
5) Sleep. There is nothing like a little bit of sleep. An exhausted body is an exhausted body and then you want to ask it do more... it might protest. I would protest. Trust me you'll feel like a new person.
Ok, these are my top 5. Which are yours? How did you learn to love and survive breastfeeding and creating breast milk.