Friday, August 26, 2016

What New Moms Need to Know about Breast Milk Supply - Supplements, Maternal Weight and Feeding Frequency

While breastmilk nutrients do not vary significantly from a healthy mom in the US to a mom in a third world country, there are supplements you should take while breastfeeding.

Prenatal Vitamins
Continuing to take your prenatal vitamins is essential due to the daily intake of vitamin B needed. Not only is this vitamin necessary for maintaining milk supply, but a deficiency in the mother's diet has been linked to lethargy and colic in the infant.

There is nothing more detrimental to milk supply that breast tenderness.  This can be due to poor latch so take a look at proper breastfeeding techniques, but sharp shooting pains in between feedings are often caused by yeast which is often preventable.  Probiotics are recommended if you were given any antibiotics during labor and delivery. They aid in restoring the mother's normal intestinal flora thereby thwarting yeast infections.  We recommend a live culture probiotic.  This is an over the counter medication, but the type with live cultures must be refrigerated so ask your pharmacist as they are kept behind the counter in a refrigerator.

Water does not make milk, but not drinking to thirst can decrease milk supply.  Stay hydrated by drinking to thirst, not a certain amount.

Obtaining and additional 200-500 calories is optimal for milk production, but the source of these calories is not as important.  If you want to kill two birds with one stone, supplement your diet with known galactagogues to help maintain milk supply such as lactation cookies and bars.

Not usually seen as a supplement, but it is a little know fact that breastmilk volume is higher in women who exercise.  This is likely because blood volume increases with exercise and blood is used to make breastmilk.

Breastfeeding Style
Mothers who breastfeed more frequently enjoy a healthier milk supply and a healthier weight. Studies show a correlation between frequent feedings and weight loss in nursing mothers.

Happy Breastfeeding,

Resouces:  Breastfeeding and Human Lactation by Riordan and Auerbach

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