Lately, I’ve been sharing my pump sessions and milk supply on Instagram stories, and I’ve received a lot of DMs from moms with questions. This blog post has one goal: TO HELP MOMS, and what better space than here and now to share what I’ve learned. At the end of the day a fed baby is BEST – whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding, pumping to feed by the bottle, supplementing with formula, or exclusively “formula-feeding,” you do what’s best for your little one, okay?!
Pumping has become my sport.
As of today, my son has been in our lives for three months, and in this time I have somehow managed to stock my freezer with about 2,000 ounces of milk. (I need a deep freezer, bad.) This doesn’t include the freshly pumped 15 – 20 ounces I keep in the fridge at all times. Pumping has become my sport.
Pumping hasn’t always been this easy for me. I struggled to breastfeed my first child. During the beginning though things went rather smoothly. I was able to store milk in the freezer, and I managed to keep about 10 -15 ounces in the fridge at all times. This worked — for a little —
Once I went back to work, things became even more challenging. I didn’t have a designate space to pump and was forced to do so in a cube with a shower rod and curtain for privacy. The stress of making food combined with not having a private space to pump added to my frustrations and subtracted from my supply. (We won’t discuss how illegal it is to not have a designated space at your place of work.)
After month five I just gave up, because a fed babe is BEST, and those five months of nursing even though a struggle still mattered. This time around, however, I am determined to breastfeed for at least nine months – and mainly because baby formula is EXPENSIVE.
So here are 6 tips to help all my mom friends, and although some are super simple – if done well – they work.
Your diet matters.
Drink More Water Make More Milk
Some say a myth, some say the truth, I say if not enough fluids can cause your milk supply to lag then evidently drinking the required amount of fluids per day should help maintain your supply. I’m not suggesting forcing fluids instead replace the juice and soda with water. It’s recommended that we follow the 8×8 rule, drinking about a half a gallon a day. I strive for this daily, and I believe it has had a significant impact on my supply.
How does breastfeeding work?
Supply and Demand
Natural stimulation. Sis, put that baby on your boob and let the little one help your supply. Your body makes milk based on the law of supply and demand. As long as baby latches on correctly, your body will respond by producing milk.
Nursing babies typically have a side they gravitate to, rotate baby to each breast; at a minimum allowing them about 10 minutes per side. This also helps to even out the boobies. You’ll still have big boob, little boob problems but over time it will correct itself. Note: If the baby falls asleep while nursing, take your finger and gently wiggle under the chin to encourage baby to continue nursing.
Even after nursing, I usually pump for a few more minutes (10 -15 minutes) to allow my breast to release any milk left behind the baby or from my Haakaa. I talk Haakaa in the next section.
Pump, Pump, Pump — it up!
Pump & Store Momma
I shared the Haakaa Manual Breast Pump on my Instagram stories, and for a lot of moms, this was a new thing! The Haakaa helps to capture your let down from the side your baby is not nursing on. So instead of losing milk to a breast pad or your t-shirt, you’re able to catch, save, and store the milk. Typically I’m able to capture about 3 ounces on the non-nursing side. I keep a storage bag handy during the session to transfer the milk there and then rotate baby and the haakaa to the opposite breast. By the end of that session, I’ll have about 6 ounces just from a Haakaa!
Once the baby is fed, burped, and settled, I use the Medela Pump and Style electric pump to express any remaining milk. Typically, allowing myself to get a few more ounces and a reminder to my body that we have to continue making milk!
Rest Momma, Please!
Get Some Rest
This was hard for me with my first child. I had extreme mommy guilt and didn’t sleep when the baby slept. I found everything else to do. Everything. Now that it’s two of them tag teaming me – I sleep.
Even if I don’t sleep the entire time they are napping — and I’m only able to get 20 – 30 minutes, when I rise my breasts are ready for a release! Again, even if it isn’t a 5-ounce or 8-ounce session — what I do produce is added to our fridge stash and keeps me ahead.
Stick to Your Schedule
Timing is Everything.
It’s imperative to stick to a schedule. Especially in the first three months. I know this is a tall order and a lot to ask, but you have to pump regularly. In the first 3 months I was pumping about 6 – 8 times a day — and I was exhausted, but this is how my liquid gold grew tremendously. This is essentially because you’re pumping tons more than your infant can take in – thus the freezing and storing of milk begins.
Once you make it through the first three months, you can adjust to something more manageable, but still keep a schedule!
Do what works for your body and your family, but a minimum of 5-6 sessions a day should be the goal.
Products that really help!
There are a ton of products on the market claiming to increase your milk supply. I have had success with a few, but I want to reiterate that nothing increase your supply more than natural stimulation from your baby.
Some of my favorite products are linked here:
Milkmakers Lactation Cookies – not only are these cookies delicious, the ingredients, such a flax seed which claim to support milk supply.
Mrs. Patel’s Lactation Tea – with this tea, I added it to my morning routine. I’d have a cup of tea and try to relax a little before #StayAtHomeMom life required me to clock-in. The tea is quite tasty, with a little lemon and honey it was a great morning treat.
Legendairy Milk – from my personal experience I saw the great increase in my milk supply after using Legendairy Milk’s Pump Princess organic lactation blend. I’d follow the instructions with the supplements for best results.
What worked best for you? Share your tips below.