By Ndidi Adekunle
All experienced mothers have learnt that the size of a woman’s ‘mammary glands’ does not necessarily guarantee a good volume of milk supply. Boosting the quantity of milk supply then becomes an art to be learned.
Do bear in mind that it’s a two way journey involving first, your breast feeding technique, and secondly, foods that boost your milk supply. Heres’ an effective guide to help you boost your milk supply and confidence while at it.
1. Breastfeed Often: The more your baby suckles, the more your milk ‘letdown.’ Latch baby on every 2 hours and have him suckle or use a breast pump to stimulate milk flow. This frequent suckling is bound to stimulate the glands and get the milk production going. Do not be discouraged when ‘nothing’ seems to be coming out. Keep at it and soon enough, you’re sure to say your ‘eureka!’
2. Ensure Proper Latching On: Poor latching onto the nipple will definitely bring about a low supply of milk if it isn’t dealt with appropriately. When your baby latches on to the breast properly, the jaw and tongue movement compress and release the milk ducts effectively. This brings about the desired milk ‘letdown’ and a successful journey of same from your breasts into your baby’s mouth without fuss.
3. Empty Each Breast: It’s necessary that you keep feeding from one breast until it’s empty (relatively) before you move on to the other breast. If for instance your baby while still on the other breast, decides she’s had enough, just note which breast it is she fed from last and start from that breast when next you have to feed her.
4. Express Some If You Must: Expressing milk helps to ensure that your let down continues. You can also express the left over milk in a breast to empty it when your baby is satisfied. Get yourself a premium brand of electric breast pumps. If you have nipple issues (too large, inverted or else), you can ask for appropriate nipple shields to help you along. Pump for about 20 minutes after feeds, even if milk is no longer coming out. The ‘pumping’ is your main goal. It will set off the chain reaction that will ensure the supply of milk.
5. Eat Breast Milk Boosting Foods: Such foods are called ‘lactogenic’ foods or ‘galactagogoues.’ Now, with a combination of constant latching, pumping, and eating these lactogenic foods, all other things being equal, you ought to be well set on the path to hitch free breast feeding. Find a list of top 5 lactogenic foods;
- oatmeal- this food is said to help relaxation, which is necessary for the production of oxytocin, a major hormone in the production of breast milk.
- spinach and all dark green, leafy vegetables (the local ‘ugu’ and ‘efo’ come to mind easily). They contain calcium, iron, vitamins K, A, and folate. Also they are known to contain phyto-oestrogen, a plant version of the oestrogen hormone required in the maintenance of breast tissue health and lactation.
- brown rice- this whole grain promotes the production of serotonin in the brain, which in turn helps the production of prolactin, an important hormone involved in lactation.
- water- as a nursing mother, you should not allow yourself get dehydrated.