August 4, 2010

Breastfeeding Struggles: Milk Supply Woes

While breastfeeding is surely natural and normal it isn't always easy. There are no bottles to judge whether or not your baby is eating the recommended amount ounces. It can be a struggle in knowing if you're feeding too often or too little, especially if you have a fast nurser. It can hurt and one can develop milk supply worries.

But rest assured, while it may not be easy for everyone many breastfeeding issues can be avoided or solved relatively quick.

Kellymom is a great resource.

Dr. Sears
has great information on his page as well.

You can also find a local Le Leche League group or visit their
website to get some great info on breastfeeding and breastfeeding legislation.

Dealing with some breastfeeding issues can be daunting, but have no fear there IS help if you need it!


Milk Supply Concerns:

First you need to decide if there is actually a supply issue. Why do you feel that way? If the baby is gaining weight (even if slowly) and wetting 6-8 diapers a day, and that means 24 hours, then you don't have an issue. The fussiness and constant nursing could be from other issues.

If you do have supply issues there are many things you can try such as galactagogue's to help increase milk supply. Those include fenugreek and blessed thistle.

You can increase your fluid intake and make sure you are eating enough.

You can also try block feeding. Nurse on one breast for 3 feedings and then switch breasts. That can ensure the baby is getting enough of the hind milk!

You can also make Lactation Aid Cookies:
Here are the ingrediants:

1 C butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
4 T water
2 T flaxseed meal (no subs)
2 Lg eggs
1 t vanilla
2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
3 C Thick cut oats
1 C Chocolate chips
2 T Brewers Yeast (no substitutions)

and here's how to prepare them

Preheat oven at 375.

Mix 2 T of flaxseed meal and water, set aside 3-5 minutes.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs.
Stir flaxseed mix into butter mix and add vanilla.
Beat until well blended.
Sift: dry ingredients, except oats and choc chips.
Add butter mix to dry ing.
Stir in the oats and then the choc chips.
Drop on parchmant paper on baking sheet.
Bake 8-12 minutes.

Why do they work?

Because the main ingredients promote healthy lactation and are just plain full of nutrients

Oatmeal is a frequently recommended food for increasing milk supply, possibly because it contains iron and nursing mothers are often iron deficient. It's also a good source of fiber, and I'm told that if you ask a dairy farmer what they do to increase milk yield, they say that they increase fiber intake.

Brewer's yeast has long been recommended to increase milk supply, though there are some doubts that it does the trick. It does contain lots of B vitamins - another area where nursing mothers may be deficient. At a minimum it might give you a bit more energy. When eaten in large amounts it also might give your baby a "yeasty" smelling diaper, and I'm not sure if it's recommended for mothers who are struggling with thrush. The recipe said 'no substitutions' for this ingredient, but I couldn't find brewer's yeast in time, so used nutritional yeast instead.

Flaxseed oil (this recipe calls for flaxseed meal) is considered by some to be a galactagogue, but I had a hard time finding much on its effects. It does contain Omega-3 fatty acids, and many nursing mothers are deficient in that area because our stores are used in breastmilk. Omega 3s from fish oil are considered a promising therapy for preventing and treating postpartum depression (see the podcast I did on this topic), but the Omega 3s in flaxseed oil are a different form and are not viewed as effective for this purpose.


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