After I had V (pictured in this collage of cuteness, as a healthy, albeit tubby, baby), I wasn’t producing enough milk to nurse her. At the beginning, she cried a lot and my nipples felt like someone was rubbing a wood filer over them.
The doctor suggested that I supplement with formula, but after reading how much sugar many of the brands had in them, and being adverse to the way she smelled after ingesting formula, I decided I needed to up my nursing game. And yes, you read that right. She had a strange smell to me after having formula. I’m not sure that other mothers notice this about their formula-fed babies, but I sure did.
I scoured the internet for tips on how to encourage breastmilk production. Some of the tips were insane. No, like certifiable, with papers, insane. But some of them actually worked.
Here are some that I tried, and one that I didn’t.
1. Drink Beer
Now this one was kind of insane to me and I never actually tried it. However, studies have been conducted on this and allegedly you can get the same outcome by substituting non-alcoholic beer (yeah, sounds like anti-fun) with the alcoholic version. According to a publication by Koletzko and Lehner, in “Breastfeeding and Beer,” prolactin secretions are stimulated when drinking beer. “There are clear indications that beer can stimulate prolactin secretion which may enhance lactogenesis both in non-lactating humans and in experimental animals. The component in beer responsible for the effect on prolactin secretion is not the alcohol content but polysaccharide from barley, which explains that the effect on prolactin can also be induced by non-alcoholic beer.”
Translated into non-academic speak: A molecule called, “poly-whatevs” in barley, which is in beer, found in both the fun and un-fun versions, stimulates breastmilk.
2. Eat or Drink More
Everything in moderation, right. Having a baby doesn’t mean that you need to develop a ramp that’ll deliver food straight from In-N-Out (Cali reference, sorry) to your mouth – but if you do end up developing this, I want in on the royalties.
The goal is to add a moderate amount of calories to your daily limit. I added 300 calories onto my daily calorie intake, and I upped my intake of water to what was recommended for my height, weight, and lifestyle, and I started producing a bucketload of breastmilk. For the first time in my life, I was producing enough to store. Oh, and I guarded that liquid gold with my life.
3. Make Sure You’re Nursing Properly
Join a lactation group, or even ask the hospital where you delivered your little one, or your midwife about how to properly nurse. Both you and your firstborn are new at this, so it could very well be a case of the blind leading the blind.
4. Continue to Nurse No Matter What
Do this even if you think nothing is coming out. If you’re nursing, you’ll know that you’re producing milk because it’ll drip when your baby is nursing sometimes. Plus, seeing as none of our breasts are see-through, this is pretty much the only way to know. Oh, that and your baby will be as quiet as a church mouse.
5. Hot Brick Drop The Pacifiers and Bottles
Now ditching the bottles might be a challenge if you have to return to work soon after having your baby, but if you’re one of the lucky ones and can stay with your baby for at least two to three weeks after having your baby, then I’d suggest trying this method.
I literally never gave V pacifiers and, at the beginning, I used bottles sparingly. This helped with her latch, which in turn helped with production of milk.
I gave you my tips, but what are yours? What ways worked for you in the production of breastmilk?
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