Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Comprehensive Guide to Increasing Breast Milk Supply

Your body makes milk on a supply and demand basis. Although we don't need ounce markers on the side of our breasts to know the baby is getting enough, we tend to fret over milk supply.   Here is a comprehensive guide to ease your worries and address your concerns.

Is my baby getting enough?
When your baby is first born, his wet diapers should increase daily. On day one, he should have at least one, day two, he should have two, up until day six. After six days of age, they have six to eight pale wet diapers daily and three to four "cottage cheese and mustard" stools. Other ways we can tell the baby is getting enough milk is that he makes quiet swallowing sounds at the breast. The breast feel full before the feeding and softer afterward. The baby seems satisfied after twenty minutes of swallowing. Babies may loose 7-10% of their birth weight, but begin regaining at day 6 and gain 5-7 ounces per week on the average until 6 months of age. The stools can change at 4-6 weeks of age. Only if your baby is not gaining well, invest in a good baby scale that you can use to monitor breast milk intake and growth.
Do I need to drink more water?
Water does not make milk, but make sure you are drinking to thirst. If you are dehydrated your body does not function optimally.  
Can I increase my milk supply with supplements?
If you want a boost increasing milk supply, there are several galactagogues on the market. Fenugreek is safe and effective and can be found in most areas. Make sure you are talking a quality brand like Nature's Herbs or Natures way in an appropriate quantity.  You should take 600-626 mg capsules that only contain Fenugreek.  This normally increases milk supply in about 48 hours.  If you are an average size mom, you should take three capsules, three times daily so 9 per day.  Plus size moms can take up to 5  600-626 mg capsules per dosage for a total of 15 per day.  Make sure you are not getting loose stools and check milk supply after 3 days by nursing the first session in the morning and then double pumping with a good quality double pump like the Hygeia EnJoye LBI, Spectra S2, or the Ameda Purely Yours breast pump for 15 minutes. If you don't own a quality pump, hospital grade breast pump rentals are available monthly for delivery nationwide.

How much is enough?
You should be yielding 2.5 oz per lb of baby's body weight per day.  To calculate if you are making the appropriate amount take your baby's weight for example 8 lb multiply by 2.5 which in this case would equal 20 oz per day.  Then divide by 8 times per day for a baby under 6 months.  This means from both breasts you should be making 2.5 oz for an 8 lb baby.  Here is a link to a page where you will find to an easy to read milk intake feeding supply chart.
Can my baby help increase my milk supply?
Yes!  If your infant will suckle at the breast, this is a highly effective way of increasing milk supply.  Offer the breast every 2 hours with a longer stretch at night for a minimum of 12 feedings per day.  If the infant will suckle for at least 20 minutes each time, your milk supply should increase by day 6.  Remember, breast milk adheres to the supply and demand rule, so the more you demand, the better the supply.
Can I increase my milk supply with a breast pump?
Yes!  If your baby will nurse frequently even if milk supply is low, use the baby; but if your baby will not latch or will not stay latched long enough for you to get adequate stimulation, by all means use a quality pump like the Hygeia EnJoye CordlessSpectra S2Ameda Finesse or the Ameda Platinum Breast Pump.  If your baby is under six months old, you should be pumping or nursing at least 8 times per day for 10-15 minutes of double pumping.
If you are already nursing eight times per day, use your breast pump to simulate a growth spurt.  Studies show that you need one hour of additional stimulation per day to increase milk supply.  Pump an additional 10-15 minutes three times per day for five days in a row to simulate a growth spurt and increase milk supply.  If you miss a day, start the process over. You can accomplish this by moving feedings and or pumping to every 2 hours instead of every three or pump.  Frequency is better than duration for increasing milk supply so don't cheat by making pumping times longer.  They need to be more often.
Are there other supplements that help with maintaining milk supply?
There are several other supplements that I would recommend substituting for snacks. Instead of a candy bar, grab a Boobie Bar.  Instead of a cookie, grab a Milkmakers Lactation Cookie.  Moms do need an additional 500 calories per day to make milk.  Most of us get them instinctively, but if you are already over your calorie limit, a good mothers milk tea is a good option.  

Are there other tips for maintaining a healthy milk supply?
Busy moms can sometimes miss feeding and or pumping.  Don't just forget them, make up for missed pumping times at work when at home or put later in the day pumping closer together if you have a meeting.  If you are out for a short time and someone else is fed the baby before you could make it back, make sure to pump immediately upon return.  This helps milk supply as well as restocking your freezer.
Is my body capable of making enough milk?  
Insufficient milk supply syndrome is actually very rare.  A mother with a complete mastectomy on one breast can still nourish a baby just as a mother of twins can nourish two. Most milks supply issues are about mismanagement of stimulation of the breast and insufficient extraction of the milk, making your body think it doesn't need to make more.  
What other tips do you have for managing milk supply?

  • Nurse within the first 30 min to 1 hour after birth, delaying the bath for skin to skin contact.
  • Try to minimize engorgement and don't leave engorgement unresolved.  Nurse often, waking the baby every 2-3 hours.  Use warm compresses and a breast pump if the breasts are too hard for the baby to latch on.  The first day, the baby tends to sleep longer after the initial hour after birth, but continue to try and after that 6-10 hour period increase your efforts.
  • Don't miss feeding unless you are pumping.
  • Don't forget about growth spurts when you are working.  If you are away from your baby at the 3 week, 6 week, 3 month or 6 month time period, pump every 2 hours instead of every 3 for a total of 11-12 nursing or pumping sessions per day.
  • Delay solid foods until the baby had not only double his birth weight but is sitting alone unassisted.  Sitting without help (even from a Boppy) coincides with the loss of a tongue thrust reflex that indicates readiness for solids.
  • Feed solids only after breastmilk.  Breastmilk is still the main source of nutrition for at least the first year so do not fill the baby up on inferior food.  Nurse or give breastmilk first.  Besides, who wants green beans on your breast?

Here's to a healthy milk supply!

Fenugreek: One Remedy for Milk Production by Kathleen Huggins, RN, MS
Fenugreek: Overlooked but not Forgotten by Rima Jensen, MD

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Breast Milk Intake Scale: Infant Weight - How Much Breast Milk

One of the top questions we get, is how much do I leave for my baby in a bottle when I am away at work?  After all, your breasts don't come with ounce markers because your baby feeds on demand.  But for moms who are working or away from their baby short term, it is important to know how to determine how much milk is appropriate to leave.  For infants up to six months old, the quickest way to determine this is to take your baby's current weight rounding up to the nearest half pound and multiply by 2.5.  For example, a baby who is 10 lbs will need 25 ounces per day.  Then divide by the number of feedings per day, normally 8 for an infant under six months of age.  Therefore 25 ounces divided by 8 feedings is 3.12 ounces per bottle which we will round up to the nearest quarter ounce.  In other words, leave 31/4 ounces for a 10 lb baby for every 3 hours that you will be away.  Also leaving an extra frozen bottle is a good idea for emergencies.  Here is a link to a breast milk intake chart for those of you who are like me and have a mental block when it comes to math.
Breast Milk Intake Chart
If you are trying to determine breast milk intake in those early days for your peace of mind or if your baby doctor is indicating that your baby is slow to gain weight, an affordable accurate baby scale with memory is a great tool.

Remember, diapers are a great indicator that your baby is getting enough.  Infants from day 6 through 6 weeks should have 6-8 wet diapers per day and 3-4 dirty diapers larger than a silver dollar.  Also note that older babies who are on solid food do not use this chart.  At that age, they take an average of 24-32 oz per day in addition to three solid meals per day.  When feeding solid foods, breastfeed first as breastmilk is still the main source of nutrition.  

If you still have concerns, having an affordable accurate digital baby scale is a plus.  Choose a digital baby scale that is accurate within 5 grams and has memory for before and after feeds to give you an idea of your baby's breast milk intake.

Best wishes!

Monday, July 11, 2016

World Breastfeeding Week 2016

World Breastfeeding Week is upon us! The theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2016 is Breastfeeding:  A Key to Sustainable Development.  Breastfeeding has so many benefits, but this year the focus is sustainability.  A few of the key points that are being used as the focus for this year are:

No Poverty - Breastfeeding is naturally a low-cost way of feeding babies that does not put an economic burden on the household.

Zero Hunger - Breastfeeding is food security for infant through age two and helps prevent hunger, malnutrition and obesity.

Health & Well Being - Breastfeeding improves the development, health and well being of the infant as well as improves health of the mother.

Education - Breastfeeding improves mental and cognitive development and therefore improves learning.  Educating our children help sustain the future of society as a whole.

Many breastfeeding coalitions will be hosting World Breastfeeding Week events during August 1st-7th.  Lactation Connection supports these endeavors such as the Big Latch On with donated Amamante Nursingwear auction items for these events.  If you know of an event in your area, please comment with a link to the event so local moms can attend.

Our company, Lactation Connection has been promoting breastfeeding since 1993 and provides quality affordable products to nursing mothers as the need arises.  In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we will be offering our lowest prices of the year on nursing bras, nursing gowns and nursing pajamas.  Nursingwear is more than a luxury, it helps mothers feel comfortable promoting sustained breastfeeding past the first year.  So take advantage of our $10 nursing bras, $15 nursing gowns, and $20 nursing pajamas during our World Breastfeeding Week flash sale!  When sharing this sale, don't forget the #wbw2016 hashtag.

Believe it or not, new couples and new mothers still do not all know about the benefits of breastfeeding.  Spread the word!

Happy #wbw2016