A few weeks ago I experienced the greatest trauma in my breastfeeding journey. I’ve been breastfeeding, collectively, for over 4 years now and never before has anything so horrible happened to me. I can barely type the words. I lost my stockpile. All of it. Four months of pumping 3-4 times a day, expressing 4-7 ounces each time. Labeled, placed nicely in my deep freezer for safe keeping. It’s all GONE. I thought that severe engorgement was horrible, but it’s truly an awful feeling to lose so much milk. So much time was spent pumping!
How did this happen you ask? Well, I went to a press trip that turned into a family travel event. We were gone for over a week and the outlet where my deep freezer was plugged into failed. We came home to a freezer of spoiled meat, breastmilk, and other items. It’s worked fine for years and of course it’s the time we are gone that this would happen.
I’m devastated, to say the least. Anyone who has ever pumped before can relate, I’m sure. Of course, with such a huge stockpile, I hadn’t pumped in a while and my supply had regulated to just what my baby needs each day. I strongly believe in having at least a small stockpile of breastmilk on hand, since you never know what might happen, so this week I have been focusing on increasing my supply in order to return my stockpile to its former glory. In case you happen to also find yourself needing to increase your milk supply, I thought I’d offer up a few tips I’ve learned lately that have helped me.
Pump and Pump Often
For me, this is the #1 thing that has helped me to increase my milk supply. The morning is most likely when you’ll find your milk supply at it’s highest level. After Gideon nurses in the morning, I pump afterwards to get out any remaining milk. I try to pump again after I lay him down for his morning nap and then one last time after he’s in bed for the evening. The more you pump the more milk your body should produce, so pump, pump, pump!
I have the brand new Lansinoh Smart Pump and it’s been great because I can use the app to track how much I’m pumping each day, how long I’m pumping each day and, even better, see the amount of milk I’m pumping out slowly increase. It’s the incentive I need to keep going! If you haven’t read my Lansinoh SmartPump review, you should check it out! They’ve really taken pumping to a whole new level!
Just as pumping more frequently will help increase your supply, so will nursing more frequently. Try to offer your baby the breast 15 or 20 minutes before you would normally offer it. If your baby takes a pacifier, try to offer your breast instead of the pacifier. Try to stay close to baby. You’ll find he/she will probably want to nurse more often when they are with you more.
Try Lactation Cookies
I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but I make lactation cookies that are delicious! Everyone in our family loves them. I think they taste 10xs better than the standard chocolate chip cookies. They come out of the oven and stay soft and moist even 48 hours later. The recipe is so simple. Trust me, you will love my Chocolate Lovers Lactation Cookie recipe!
Take a Supplement
There are lots of supplements out there designed to help you increase your supply. You want to look for one that has fenugreek, like this supplement from Motherlove or the Milky! Breastfeeding supplement from Tia and Tamara Mowry.
Get More Fluids
Sometimes when I feel like my supply has dipped I realize I haven’t been drinking nearly enough water. You’ve gotta have fluids in you to make milk, so drink, drink, drink! If you aren’t a big fan of plain water try adding in some fresh lemon or brewing nursing tea. I try to fill up a water bottle and take it with me wherever I go so I drink more, even when I’m at home.