Sunday, 3 February 2013
Remember hearing the slogan "the breast is the best"? Well, no doubt about that. Breast milk is indeed the best type of food to give to your baby from birth until they are ready for solid food.
Even after your baby has started solid foods (6 months onward) it is still advised to continue to supplement their diet with breast milk.
Some women visit lactation consultants quite often and fail to produce sufficient breast milk after following these simple steps:
1. Keep the baby on the breast for an hour every two to three hours
2. Use a breast pump after each feed or every hour or two
3. Drink plenty of water
4. Get plenty of rest
5. Eat 500 extra calories everyday
6. Massage the breasts
While the above are all things that will aid in breast milk production, some women try all to no avail. It can be very distressing to a mother when she realizes that she cannot depend on her body to feed her newborn child. Breast milk can diminish even after a few weeks of good flow. The reason for diminishing breast milk in the early post-natal stages is largely unknown but it is believed to be affected by:
1. Lack of rest
3. Fewer breast feedings
5. Poor diet
6. Issues relating to digestion and blood works
7. Post-natal depression
TELL-TALE SIGNS OF LOW BREAST MILK PRODUCTION
1. Baby is always hungry after most feedings even after staying on the breast continually for several hours everyday.
2. Baby pulls and tugs at the breasts shortly after he/she starts feeding.
3. Breasts are really soft, you are unable to feel milk-weight in them and there is little or no milk flow after giving the nipples a squeeze.
4. You are pumping much less breast-milk than before.
5. Baby fails to gain weight or loses weight after 3 weeks to 4 weeks after birth.
Note if you baby fails to gain weight or loses weight, check with your doctor. You may have to start him/her on a recommended formula to supplement breast milk.
HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS THAT STIMULATE BREAST MILK PRODUCTION
1. FENUGREEK - This is the favorite for many lactating moms, and the first supplement that helped in my situation. I bought 610mg tablets at the pharmacy. Fenugreek helped my milk flow in less than 48 hours. This is an incredible plant which is used not only for breast milk supply, but also for reducing blood sugar levels. It is advised however, that if a mother is diabetic, fenugreek should be avoided as not to interfere with prescribed diabetes medication. It is recommended that you take 2 to 3 tablets 3 times daily. I never encountered any side effects except my urine smelling like maple syrup. That was quite a pleasant smelling side effect to me!
2. BLESSED THISTLE - This is also another amazing herb that can help to stimulate glands to produce more milk. I could not find this as a bottled supplement in tablet form, so I bought the dried herb at a herbal health store. It is quite cheap and just a teaspoon steeped in boiling water for 5 minutes is quite effective. Blessed thistle complements the power of fenugreek for breast milk production, and it is pleasant tasting too. I never encountered any side-effects from this herb, but DO NOT MISTAKE FOR milk thistle. They are two very different herbs.
3. ANISE & CORIANDER - These two herbs can be found at your general grocery store. They are common cooking spices, but also beneficial in helping to stimulate breast milk flow. I bought them in powdered form and steeped 1 teaspoon of each along with the blessed thistle in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain, sweeten and enjoy. Anise is very pleasant to taste and coriander does not have too much of a strong taste although too much may taste bitter. No side effects, just great taste. I drink this tea in the mornings and at night before I go to bed.
4. MOTHER'S ORGANIC MILK TEA. This can be found at some herbal shops or food stores. It consists of several 16 tea bags with mixture of fenugreek, blessed thistle, stinging nettle, bitter fennel among others known to stimulate breast milk flow. This tea can be has twice daily as you like.
5. VITANICA LACTATION BLEND. Great for mothers who have difficulty with initiating adequate milk flow or have difficulty maintaining a sufficient supply of milk.This formulation takes advantage of the decades and centuries of experience women have with galactogue herbs as well as modern clinical research in the use of natural therapies to aid in the function of nursing.