A decreasing supply of breast milk supply is a cause for concern for many new mothers. Ideally when the baby nurses frequently, the mother will produce enough milk to breastfeed the baby. However in certain cases the production of breast milk might drop significantly.
This can be caused by a range of factors such as an unhealthy diet with less than five hundred calories per day, lack of body fluids, stress and a lack of adequate sleep. Increasing breast milk is possible if you keep certain things in mind.
Allow your baby to breastfeed frequently or use a breast pump to stimulate the supply of milk. Allowing the baby to suckle for longer periods of time ensures that a message is sent across to the body to produce more milk. It is a good idea to offer both breasts at the time of feeding. Do not stop feeding or time the duration for the breastfeeding and instead allow your baby to stop feeding naturally. You can also use breast compression to increase the flow of milk.
Drink plenty of water to increase your breast milk supply. In fact doctors recommend having at least 20 to 40 ounces of daily fluids in the form of water and juices. This keeps the body hydrated and helps in replenishing the lost fluids. In addition to this you also need to watch your diet. Vegetables and fruits rich in vitamins and minerals, along with protein based foods like meats help in optimal milk production.
Do not go on weight loss diets when you are breastfeeding as it can cause fatigue and lead to lesser breast milk production. Instead increase your daily calorie intake by more than 500 to ensure proper energy for breastfeeding. In addition to this you need to reduce stress and massage your breasts regularly to stimulate the milk flow.
Certain herbs like fenugreek and blessed thistle help in increasing breast milk production. This can be consumed in the form of capsules. Mother’s milk tea is also said to promote breast milk in two to three days. Other herbal galactagogues or medications to induce breast milk include anise, alfalfa, nettle, fennel, burdock and vervain.
It is however a good idea to consult a health care provider before opting for these herbal solutions. Oatmeal when consumed regularly is said to increase breast milk significantly.
In certain cases doctors might prescribe medications such as domperidone, raglan or metoclopramide and Chlorpromazine to induce breast milk production. Consult a doctor before opting for these medications and make sure that you understand their side effects.