Breast milk is far better for your baby than formula and contains antibodies plus all the nutrients that a baby needs to get them started on the best developmental path.
The World Health Organization recommends breast feeding for at least the first six months to provide the greatest benefit. Unfortunately, in today’s world full of working moms, this can be a challenge.
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Expressing milk has become very important to see to baby’s nutritional needs while allowing mom to return to her working life.
Many women find that their milk supply starts to decrease when they return to work.
Here are some effective tips to help increase the amount of expressed breast milk that you produce.
Your body needs a healthy supply of energy and nutrients in order to manufacture breast milk.
Your body will use that store of fats that were created during pregnancy, but make sure you are also eat plenty of natural fats – butter, lard, coconut oil, olive oil, and nuts are good places to start.
You will also need to drink plenty of water. Eating a healthy balanced diet and increasing your intake of liquids will help increase the amount of milk your body can produce.
While vitamin and mineral supplements can help with your nutritional needs, it is far better to get your essential nutrients from solid food when you can.
Plenty of leafy greens will supply you with most of the nutrients you need. Also keep your protein intake up.
2. The Breast Pump
There are a wide range of breast pumps available on the market. It is recommended to invest in a quality pump and ensure that it is the right fit.
Every breast is different and choosing a flange that fits over your breast snugly is essential.
Read the instructions carefully and make sure that you are using the pump correctly. If you aren’t, the milk will not flow and you could even hurt yourself while expressing.
There is the further option of choosing between a manual and automatic pump. Pumping manually can become quite frustrating and tiring and is not ideally suited for expressing large amounts of breast milk.
It may be more beneficial to buy an automatic pump from the start.
It should take about 10 to 15 minutes to empty each breast. A double pump that expresses both breasts at once will halve the time you need to express milk.
This is ideal if you are back at work soon after birth and can quickly express on a tea and lunch break.
3. Express Often
Your body is magical and will always produce as much milk as you need (except in rare circumstances).
In other words, if you express milk more often, your body will compensate and simply manufacture more, increasing the volume that you can express at one time and even how often you can express. Expressing immediately after each breastfeed is the number one recommended way to increase the volume of milk you produce.
4. Don’t Stress
If you are worried and concerned about being able to produce enough milk to express while still breast feeding your baby, it can have detrimental effects on your milk production.
It is important to stay calm and relaxed while feeding baby as well as when expressing milk.
Try to take some time for yourself each day to rest and relax. Try some meditation, or join our free creating calm course.
5. Stimulate Production
There are certain signals that the brain instinctively recognizes as a sign to tell the body to produce milk and trigger your let down.
This includes the sound of a baby crying, skin-to-skin contact with your infant, even just their smell or an image of them can be effective.
Holding your baby close to your body while expressing, even if they are asleep, will help you express milk more easily.
6. Don’t Overdo It
If you are using the correct pump and method, it shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes to empty each breast.
It isn’t recommended to keep pumping after this amount of time has passed even if you haven’t expressed what you believe is sufficient milk.
Rather give your breasts time to manufacture more milk and try again in 2 to 3 hours. Expressing for too long can damage your sensitive nipples making it painful and uncomfortable to express in the future.
Always keep in mind that baby’s nutrition and health are the priority and if you aren’t able to express enough milk to meet their needs, there is no shame in supplementing with formula.