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Monday, January 25, 2010

Increasing Milk Production

Welcome to January’s Carnival of Breastfeeding

For this month, bloggers are tasked to compile the best breastfeeding blog posts and website pages on a specific breastfeeding topic they are passionate about. In my case, the top question that Pinoy moms always ask me is about tips on maintaining or increasing their milk supply. I edited the standard email I send out to these moms and included several links from webpages or blogs which I believe are particularly useful.

Check out the other bloggers’ posts which will be updated throughout the day and you will get a comprehensive compilation of the best breastfeeding resources arranged according to topic.

Here are my tips on increasing milk production:

1. As you know, baby is more efficient in drawing out milk than a breast pump. So you need to pump MORE TIMES than your baby feeds. I pump before my baby wakes up and I pump during weekends (even when am not working) either before or after she nurses. I previously wrote a post on maintaining my milk supply which outlines my pumping schedule during the work day.

2. Schedule power pumping sessions.A lot of moms swear by power pumping sessions. I've tried it a couple of times and it does add to my output for the day. You can read about power pumping here.

3. Eat well and eat lactogenic foods such as oatmeal, flaxseed, coconut juice. You can find more about lactogenic foods from MobiMotherhood or download a list of foods from here.

4. Take galactagogues (substances that increase milk). Locally, the most common galactagogue Pinay moms use is the humble malunggay. Very rich in calcium and other vitamins, it is plentiful and cheap. If you're a Pinay mom abroad and don't have easy access to malunggay, there are several other galactagogues you can take like fenugreek, blessed thistle, even Horlicks! Kellymom has a comprehensive index on herbs to increase milk and herbs to avoid while breastfeeding.

5. Having a double pump and learning how to balance the pump with one hand allowed me to do breast compressions while pumping. I'm not sure if it does increase production, but my milk output always increases when I do breast compressions while pumping. Although technically, under the theory of "more milk out, more milk production", milk production should increase when you do compressions. According to Dr. Jack Newman, the purpose of breast compressions is to help a sucking baby drink more milk and simulate let down or the milk ejection reflex. You can check out a video on breast compressions from YouTube.

6. In one of my e-groups, several moms also take prescription drugs such as domperidone (locally known as Motilium) or Reglan. Domperidone is said to be really effective but was banned by the US FDA, although pro-breastfeeding doctors have made their position about this matter clear here. I have not tried taking domperidone or reglan to increase my milk production -- the thought of prescription drugs mixing in my milk just scares me. You can read all about domperidone here.

7. Stay hydrated but not overly so. Among the tips I heard about milk supply was to drink to thirst but not more than that. Apparently, too much water can also kill your supply. Read about that here.

8. Finally, the one thing that all new moms forget about but is very important for increasing and maintaining milk production is to rest, relax and sleep!

Check out the other compilations here:

Breastfeeding 1-2-3: Thrush and Breastfeeding

Good Enough Mum: Filling the Information Gap

Baby Dust Diaries: Inspiration For a Nursing Mama's Soul

Hobo Mama: Full-term breastfeeding posts and pages
Motherwear: My favorite web resources for some common breastfeeding concerns


Charisse said...

Hi, Jenny:

Stumbled upon your blog here and love it! Read about your niece and saddened by the lack of breastfeeding-friendly hospitals but heartened by her progress. When I was a student, I saw miracles every day in the NICU at Texas Children's Hospital. Your sister is very blessed to have you at her side to help her gain confidence as a new mom. I remember it was very tough for me to figure out breastfeeding with my first son. Keep up the good work and maraming salamat!

Movie Dad said...

Great resources! I really like the list of lactogenic foods. Thanks for the great post.

Unknown said...

That previous comment that says Movie Dad is actually from Paige @Baby Dust Diaries

Movie Dad is my hubby and we were sharing the computer last night!

Lauren Wayne said...

I didn't know about malunggay! You learn something every day. I loved oatmeal cookies in the early days of nursing. No idea if they were necessary or not — but they were tasty. :) I definitely did the breast compressions, too, and that Dr. Jack Newman link was one I referred to that helped a lot.

One thing I would add that helped us is to have lots of skin-to-skin contact with your baby and allow him/her to nurse at will when you and your baby are together. That seems to really help, too!

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