Galactagogues and Increasing Breast Milk Production
Proper hydration is the number one key to keeping a good milk supply flowing. Drinks like Gatorade, with all of their artificial flavors, colorings, and additives, actually hinder your milk supply. A good rule of thumb is to drink an 8-oz glass of water every time you breastfeed and carry around a water bottle to sip on throughout the day. Make sure most of what you drink is water, but if the idea of plain water is unappealing, other options do exist.
On the other hand, too much water in the system can inhibit breast milk production. Stay hydrated, but don't keep adding fluids to the body if hydration is not the problem.
Pumping, if done in addition to nursing, can be a highly effective way to increase supply. Tricks include pumping after each nursing session, adding an extra pumping session or two during the day, cluster pumping, power pumping, and nursing vacations.
Cluster pumping is when you nurse and pump every half hour or hour for a couple of hours.
Power pumping is like interval training for breastfeeding. Plan to do this for a couple of days. Pick an hour where you can sit and relax. Pump for twenty minutes, rest for ten, pump again for ten, rest for ten, then pump again for ten minutes. Nursing vacations include spending two to three days, trying to relax and nurse and pump as often as possible.
All of these techniques help increase supply by mimicking the increased demand. Simply put, increased demand for milk will increase the supply.
A galactagogue is a substance that promotes lactation in humans and other animals. Natural galactagogues include foods, herbs, teas, and nutritional supplements. If the breast milk supply is low, even after breast pumping, it may be time to look at galactagogues.
Excerpt from an OrganicLifeStyleMagazine.com article.
The following are galactagogues:
|fennel seed||red raspberry leaves|
|almonds||Inositol/Choline (B Vitamins)|
|chaste tree fruit|
|papaya (some say green works better)|
See also Breast Pump Resources page for more information on breast pumps.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Inducing Lactation
How can I increase my breast milk supply?
Are there health risks from breastfeeding?
The biggest risks are side effects from excessive use of Domperidone and Mastitis (warning:NSFW). The chances of having the latter can be lessened with Lecithin and proper latch techniques. The Piercings and Lactation page (warning:NSFW) addresses this concern as well.