Breast milk is the best food for your baby. It contains enough nutrients essential for the baby’s growth until about 4 to 6 months of age. Breastfeeding can remarkably lower your child’s risk from many types of infections and allergies. It may also protect your child from health issues like eczema, asthma, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Breastfeeding does not only benefit the baby, but women who choose to breastfeed can lower their risk for developing breast cancer and diabetes later on in life.
Breastfeeding can be really challenging for the first two weeks, while you and your baby are still establishing a routine. However, many women worry that their milk supply will not be enough for their baby. Here are some helpful tips to increase your milk supply:
1. Breastfeed and pump frequently. This will increase your milk supply within 48 hours. If your baby doesn’t feed that much, pump both breasts for 10 to 15 minutes each after every feeding. An increase in milk supply is expected after 2 to 4 days of extra pumping.
2. Take time to relax. Although motherhood can be at times stressful, you need to go out of your way to relax. Find an area in your house relaxing enough so you can pump. Stress can hinder your natural ability to release milk. Try massaging your breasts and applying warm compresses before feeding.
3. If possible, try to limit formula feedings. This will reduce your baby’s demand for breast milk. Remember, if you breastfeed or pump more frequently, the more your body produces breast milk.
4. Pump both breasts at the same time. This will allow your body to produce the hormone prolactin, which is responsible for milk production.
5. Increase your fluid intake. Drink more water, juice and milk to stay hydrated. Proper hydration promotes milk production. Limit drinks that contain caffeine like coffee and soda. Too much intake of caffeine can cause irritability to your baby. Aside from that, it can also interfere with your baby’s sleep.
6. Stop smoking. It is not only detrimental for your health, but it can reduce your milk supply. Nicotine can also alter the taste of milk, and it can affect your baby’s sleep pattern.
7. Evaluate your birth control options. Birth control pills containing estrogen can interfere with your production of milk. Discuss with your doctor as to what options are available for you.
8. Stay healthy. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. Proper nutrition is essential in not only having a good milk supply, but also in making sure you are producing a good quality of milk for your baby. Try to exercise when you can in order to attain optimum health.
Breastfeeding is really recommended because of its numerous health benefits. Although commercial formula may be readily purchased, it can never take the place of breast milk. In order to have adequate milk supply, a woman should also take good care of herself. A woman after all nourishes her baby not only in the womb, but also after birth through breastfeeding.