Keeping up with the Milk Demand
It's so hard to keep up with the demand of milk supply between nursing and pumping when you're away from your little one. I've been dealing with a dip in my supply and struggled to maintain or even produce enough for a single feeding when pumping for him. If any of these can help me increase or maintain my supply, I'm gonna try it!
( I did this on my own based on the research and my own clinical judgement... recommendations and questions should be directed to your doctor or a lactation consultant before trying any supplements)
Oatmeal & Brewer's Yeast
Galactagogues are foods or herbs that promote lactation and increase milk supply. Oatmeal and brewer's yeast (or nutritional yeast) are some along with herbals. I was never really a fan of oatmeal but I started eating it for breakfast to maintain supply. I would make a cup of steel cut oats with almond milk and a tablespoon of brewer's yeast. I usually add a dash of cinnamon and top it off with a little bit of maple syrup, dried cranberries, and walnuts for texture. You can def change it up anyway you like and cut back on the sugar. I found that the brewer's yeast yield more milk than oatmeal alone.
ps. I also add a tablespoon into my morning yogurt shake for breakfast. Although it might have a slight 'yeasty' taste, the protein shake itself was sweet enough to mask the flavor.
I had first tried the Fenugreek tea as it contained about 2 grams of fenugreek per tea bag. The goal is about 6 grams total of fenugreek per day to notice an effect. Some say that when you start smelling like maple syrup, the fenugreek is working. lol. (got pancakes with that? jkjk) When I first started the tea, I did notice a maple-ish fragrance after about 2-3 days and with an initial increase of milk supply. After that, there was no significant difference and returned back to my previous yield. The tea does have a herbal medicinal smell to it and might be hard to drink at first but the flavor wasn't overwhelming. Since the tea stopped working for me, I switched over to the capsules (Nature's Way) at 2 capsules three times a day. I tried it for a few weeks with no difference and had to stop as I was breaking out in hives at night and I felt that it was being caused by this.
Update: I tried to give fenugreek capsules a try again but went with a different brand instead. I ended up using the Nutrigold's Organic Fenugreek Gold and I definitely liked this brand better as I felt there was barely any herbal smell or aftertaste and I had no reaction to this.
Fenugreek is now widely available at most pharmacies but definitely at Whole Foods and of course Amazon.
Mother's Milk Tea
Like the fenugreek tea, this tea contains other herbals that may increase milk production. I found this tea to be naturally sweeter than the fenugreek tea alone but still had and earthy herbal taste to it. I'm not sure if I noticed an increase in supply and I haven't kept up with it from when I first bought it so I can't say for sure what the true results would have been.
Ingredients: Organic Bitter Fennel Fruit, Organic Anise Fruit, Organic Coriander Fruit, Organic Fenugreek Seed, Organic Blessed Thistle Herb, Organic Spearmint Leaf, Organic West Indian Lemongrass Leaf, Organic Lemon Verbana Leaf, Organic Marshmallow Root
Legendairy Milk Supplements
A friend had recommended this website to me as she was also a low producer and had great results with some of their supplements. I ended up buying a bundle to try out some of the different herbal combinations to see which one I liked best. Oh Boy! Was there a noticeable difference in supply and quality of milk. My milk was richer and contained the higher fat content for nutrition. I had tried Milkapalooza, Liquid Gold, and Pump Princess. The Pump Princess I found wasn't really doing that much for me as I had hoped compared to Milkapalooza and Liquid Gold.
I just ordered the Cash Cow and Liquid Gold to help maintain and boost my supply by mixing up the combinations of herbals to maximize milk production, mammary growth, milk enrichment, and prolactin release.
Cash Cow Ingredients: Organic alfalfa (leaf), organic moringa (leaf), organic goat’s rue (herb), organic nettle (leaf), vegetable capsule.
Liquid Gold Ingredients: Organic goat’s rue (herb), organic milk thistle (seed), organic shatavari (root), organic fennel (seed), organic alfalfa (leaf), organic anise (seed), vegetable capsule.
The recommended dosage is 2 capsules three times daily. The capsules are average sized and had little to almost no herbal aftertaste. Although pricey for supplements, I found this yielded the highest results for me therefor, I am going to invest into something that will help me maintain my supply as long as I can.
These lactation cookies 🍪 contain the obvious galactagogue such as oatmeal with added brewer's yeast and flaxseed meal. This recipe I found from Food.com (Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies by Noel Trujillo) was quite delish! I've made multiple batches and I've used 4 tablespoons of brewer's yeast with no difference in texture or flavor versus using 2 tablespoons. These cookies may look dry but they are chewy and moist and you'll be lucky if they last the entire week because they really taste just like cookies and I can't get enough. I haven't noticed an increase per say but maintained a steady supply. lol what is the recommended cookie intake? I usually eat anywhere between 4-5 a day. haha. I would eat more but I stop myself because they are cookies after all. But with always being hungry after pumping, I don't feel guilty and I'll eat and take all that I can get to make some milk. I like to think that these are the healthier cookie version. 👍🏻
A friend and cousin who are also nurses recommended power pumping. The idea behind power pumping is to trick your body into producing more milk by rapidly emptying the breasts. It replicates what babies do when they are “cluster feeding” which is when baby is on and off the breast often so as to signal to your body to increase supply. (- Lansinoh)
To power pump, the recommended pattern is as follows:
1.Pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
2.Pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes
3.Pump for 10 minutes then stop
I found it easiest to power pump at night after I get home from work at 10 or 11pm since I know baby won't be waking up for a feeding yet and I will have enough time to replenish milk for his dream or nutritional feeds in the middle of the night. It sounds daunting to sit there for almost an hour pumping but I use my Freemie Cups to power pump as it's more comfortable and also hands free. I set a timer and found a good distraction during the pump and rest periods. I did notice an increase and more than normal "fullness" in the morning after my power pumping session. I would be able to produce at least an extra ounce per side which was a huge win for me. It is hard for me to be consistent in finding time to pump but if you set a schedule and are dedicated, it's definitely doable!