For nursing mothers, ensuring that you have an ample supply of breast milk available for your baby is a constant concern. Fatigue, poor diet, stress and dehydration can all play a role in decreasing your ability to lactate optimally. Fortunately, there are several ways you can increase your breast milk supply naturally.
According to the La Leche League International website, many women worry they do not have an ample breast milk supply if their babies begin to nurse more frequently and for longer periods of time. This, however, is often a sign that the baby is experiencing a growth spurt and, by nursing more, he will naturally cause an increase in the milk supply. The La Leche League assures that the more a baby nurses, the more milk a mother’s breasts will contain to provide for the baby’s increased nutritional needs. During this time, a mother should allow the baby to nurse as much as he would like to build up her milk supply.
For a lactating woman to produce an ample supply of milk and replace the fluids that she is losing from her own body in the process, she must drink plenty of fluids–preferably water–throughout the day. The Mayo Clinic reports that the Institute of Medicine recommends breast-feeding women should drink approximately 13 cups of fluid every day. If you are nursing, be certain to drink water throughout the day and keep a container of water near you every time you sit down to breast feed.
A number of herbs have been used for centuries by women attempting to increase their supply of breast milk. The two most commonly used herbs are fenugreek and blessed thistle. Both can be consumed, powdered, in capsule form. The leaves, stems and flowers of blessed thistle can also be stewed in hot water to produce an aromatic tea that provides both extra fluids and the herb’s lactation-enhancing properties.
Mother’s Milk Tea is a commercially prepared tea that combines both fenugreek and blessed thistle, along with a number of other herbs thought to stimulate milk production, including coriander and aniseed.
Lactation is hard work. A nursing mother who is not receiving enough rest or sleep will be pushing her body to the limit when it comes to producing enough high-quality milk. If you’re concerned about your breast milk supply, set aside a few days to rest to let your body divert its resources to producing milk.