It can be very stressful when you’re not producing enough milk for your baby. Especially if your baby is fussing & crying. You’re certainly not alone. Many women face the possibility of insufficient milk supply. I’ve been there. Here are 10 things that you can try:
- Make sure that low milk supply is actually the issue. It’s actually a common misconception. Many women fear that is low (it’s hard to tell when your breastfeeding!), but often it isn’t. Fussy babies can fuss for many reasons, check out 14 tips for colic here.
- Breastfeed on demand and express, especially after their first morning feed & after baby’s bedtime.
- Look at your baby whilst feeding. I understand that looking at a screen might be preferable at times. But looking at your baby whilst feeding can stimulate the hormones which increase your supply. And can bring you happiness & fill your heart with gratitude. Much more than any screen can.
- Eat well. I understand that it’s not always easy, cooking & eating while juggling the needs of your baby. But there are ways. ie. Ask someone to cook something for you. Or stock the pantry with quick healthy foods like fruit, veggies, nuts & seeds. Avoid stocking the pantry with foods of little or no nutritional value.
- Lower your stress. The learning curve with any baby is hard enough. Avoid additional stress in the first year if possible, ie. moving house. I had to move house during my babe’s 4 month sleep regression and it wasn’t fun. Unfortunately my Mum was diagnosed with aggressive terminal cancer & subsequently passed in that first 12 months also. So I saw first hand what extreme stress can do to one’s breast milk supply.
- Cultivate Calm. It’s amazing what 5 minutes of downtime daily can do for your mental health. Just 5 minutes. No screens, no responsibilities, no demands. Simply breathe, listen to some relaxing music, guided meditation, sit in the back yard & watch the birds, jump in the shower, whatever works for you. You just need to commit to this downtime daily. It’s worth it.
- Let your baby nipple fiddle if you can tolerate it. Or your partner. If that’s what they want to do. Or do it yourself. Excuse my bluntness, but it will stimulate milk supply.
- Get more sleep. Or just rest. Sleep when baby sleeps. I know you’ve probably heard it before and dismissed it. Look at the state of the house right? Maybe you’ll feel better if you put that load of washing on. Maybe. But if you’re sleep deprived, there’s only one thing that will improve your mental and physical health, including your milk supply. And that is sleep. So go to bed early and sleep during one of their naps. Try it for a day or two. See for yourself how much better you can feel. Then you can do the housework in half the time..
- Try Herbal Medicine. There’s a long history of using herbs to promote breast milk. I found blessed thistle & fenugreek to work well.
- Try Chinese Medicine. Chinese Herbs such as Si-Wu-Tang was originally listed in the Prescriptions from the Great Peace Imperial Grace Pharmacy and has been used as a basic formula in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of women’s illnesses since the 12th century..¹ However, talking to a Herbalist first for a prescription specific to your situation will give you the best results. And to make sure they’re OK to take with anything else that you’re taking. At Freedom Chinese Medicine, you can have a 30 min Telehealth/ Video consult with one of our experienced herbalists, then have the herbs posted to you.
- Make lactation cookies. Better still, get someone else to make them for you. Or buy them, but they tend to be overpriced unfortunately.. They’re simple to make; once you find brewer’s yeast, add oats, ground linseed or LSA & a bunch of other goodies for your nutrition. Limiting the refined sugar is a good idea.
Dr Elaine Hickman
B.H.Sc.TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac. (Beijing)
Elaine has trained and worked in various settings, both in Australia and China. She has over 20 years experience in treating many health problems. Elaine loves to provide a health care experience for people that is respectful, effective, empowering and enjoyable. Elaine has particular expertise in Women’s Health, Children’s Health, Family Medicine and Wellness promotion. She brings extra understanding and knowledge to the table having been through infertility herself.
Elaine is available
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday
Call (03) 9486 5966
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586461/.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 790474. Published online 2013 Feb 14. doi: 10.1155/2013/790474
Use of Herbal Dietary Supplement Si-Wu-Tang and Health-Related Quality of Life in Postpartum Women: A Population-Based Correlational Study. Pei-Jen Chang, 1 Ching-Chun Lin, 2 Yi Chun Chen, 3 Chao-Hua Chuang, 4 Yu-Ching Tseng, 2 Wu-Shiun Hsieh, 5 Shio-Jean Lin, 6 and Pau-Chung Chen 2 , 7 , 8 ,*