Concerned About Milk Supply? Avoid These Common Mistakes.
- August 31, 2021
Many women who choose to breastfeed their babies are aware of the benefits. Breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of allergies and eczema, diverse microbiomes, reduces the risk of SIDS, and overall provides the perfect ratio of nutrients for your baby. The list of advantages also extends to mom’s health, reducing the risk of certain cancers and type 2 diabetes while supporting a healthy weight.
But knowing all of this can make it extra stressful or challenging if you are worried about your supply dropping. With the right support, most women can breastfeed and produce enough milk to nurture their little ones. So if you are concerned about your supply, take a deep breath and make sure you aren’t making these common mistakes:
1. You aren’t drinking enough fluids. Hydration is crucial for milk supply. The amount of milk you can produce is dependent on how much you’re hydrated. This isn’t just due to frequent feedings; milk is about eighty percent water. Many women notice that they feel incredibly thirsty as soon as they start a nursing session as the body signals the need for more water.
If you are breastfeeding, it’s essential to drink plenty of fluids each day. The best way to keep track of how much you’re drinking is by constantly carrying a water bottle with you and taking sips throughout the day, especially during and after feedings.
2. You aren’t eating enough nutrient-rich calories. To support adequate milk production, nursing moms need to eat enough food. It’s recommended that nursing moms eat 450 to 500 extra calories daily, so as you establish your milk supply, you want to make sure you are eating regularly. Cutting calories or over restricting can lead to significant drops in your milk supply.
At the same time, foods with empty calories like sweets are devoid of any nutrients that add to your health. Eating nutrient-rich foods ensures you are getting enough micronutrients. Vitamins and minerals are not only essential for the health of you and your baby. If you aren’t getting these nutrients in your diet (or your prenatal supplements), there will be less available in your breastmilk for your baby.
3. Your meals are low in protein. Protein, which is found in foods like meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds, is an essential component of milk. It’s not only a building block for your body but a major component of breast milk.
Protein helps to promote healthy growth and development in babies while also providing all the essential amino acids that are vital for lactating mothers. If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, you may experience a dip in milk supply. The general recommendation is that nursing moms need an additional 25 grams of protein each day. Protein powder added to a nutrient-rich smoothie is an easy go-to for moms who need to boost their supply.
4. You’re stressed out. Stress can be a concern for nursing moms because of the effects on milk production. Stress affects the production of hormones that encourage breastmilk production. This can be a catch-22 because worrying about your milk supply can up your feelings of stress.
So what can you do to ensure a healthy supply? A good way to relax is by taking a warm bath or meditating. Other ways to reduce stress include practicing yoga, deep breathing exercises (even while nursing), and spending time with friends and family who can provide emotional support.
5. You aren’t nursing often enough. Nursing your baby stimulates your breast milk production. If supply is a concern, it’s important to nurse frequently and on-demand. Frequent feedings will help boost prolactin levels which are responsible for stimulating breastmilk production and release. You can also pump in between nursing sessions or feel like your baby isn’t completely emptying your breasts during feedings.
Breastfeeding is an adventure, and every mother has a different experience. If you are seriously concerned about your milk supply, make sure you try all of the above. If you are still struggling, the best thing to do is reach out to a lactation consultant who can give you individualized support.
Our Postpartum & Lactation Protein Powder can contribute towards giving your body the nutrition it needs to help you continue to make milk for your baby in one easy scoop per day. See our product page for more information.