Boosting your milk supply

Welcome if you are reading this you too are experiencing a possible low milk supply. This could be for a variety of reasons such as deciding not to continue exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), period of illness for either you or baby which has stopped you exclusively breastfeeding or you want to restart after weaning baby to the bottle and they are not taking to the bottle well.

If you were breastfeeding you probably felt like a dairy cow with your baby connected to your breast every 2-3 hours for up to an hour a time and wondering whether they were actually getting what they need from you. The answer was yes especially if baby was producing 6 or more wet nappies a day and roughly 3/4 lovely yellow coloured poo’s a day. Yes it’s true baby will lose some weight in their first couple of weeks but they will regain this. Remember baby was permanently connected to you from the minute the placenta and umbilical cord formed. There is no need to worry as baby’s can lose up to 10% of their birth weight any more and you midwife / health visitor will work with you to monitor babies progress against the percentile chart.

There are many “options” to increase your milk production but let me remind you none of them are 100% guaranteed. The one I’m commenting on is the one that I have decided to use after I had a period of illness and wasn’t able to breastfeed my baby for over a week.

I must admit I’m not in love with the idea of breastfeeding and wasn’t really wanting to do it until I gave birth. I had this sudden pang of guilt that I needed to give my baby the best and what’s more natural than ready made mother’s milk.

Now I’m going to let you in on a secret that not many share. Exclusive expressing is much more tiring and tying than exclusive breastfeeding. Exclusive expressing is when you are purely expressing your milk and giving to your baby. Combination expressing is when you are supplementing either with the breast or bottle and expressing between. I opted for combination between formula and expressing.

One of the methods I tried was to do an hour of expressing split as follows:

  • 15 minutes expressing
  • 5 minute break
  • 10 minutes expressing
  • 10 minutes break
  • 10 minutes expressing
  • 10 minutes break

I did this twice a day for a week and it did help bring back the milk in my left breast which had significantly reduced. I also took the herbal supplement fenugreek which is suppose to help but I found it did nothing other than add another item to my daily to do list.

The best time to do your cluster expressing is after you’ve fed your little one. However, if your not breastfeeding and purely expressing try to do a cluster session in between your regular session. It is recommended to express on the same schedule as a feed on demand baby every 2-3 hours.

If you are having a down spell keep at it it will get better. Good luck and let me know how you get on.

RegarI ds

Katherine xo

Edit: I stopped expressing for a week because Christmas got in the way and I decided to have a couple of bottles of beer. Even though they say the amount of alcohol that passes is minimal I couldn’t face pumping and dumping again. I have slowly returned to expressing and my supply is quite low but considered my boobs still leak when the little one cries is probably s good thing. I’ll keep you posted on whether I regain my supply or not.

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