Preparing For Your Next Baby When You Have Struggled With Low Milk Supply In The Past
If you have struggled with low milk supply with one or more previous babies, you probably know there is a good chance you might have low milk supply problems with your next baby. Rather than hope for the best, take maters into your own hands so that breastfeeding can get off to the best start possible. This article is all about what you can do to ensure breastfeeding success for your next child.
Before Baby Is Born
The first step is to review the 27 causes of low milk supply. If your low milk supply is caused by any of these, the fix can be fairly easy and quick. If hyperthyroidism was the cause, your doctor can treat it with medication throughout your pregnancy. If inverted nipples was the cause, you can use the Avent Niplette. Or if PCOS was the cause, your doctor can prescribe metformin.
There are many, many more causes of low milk supply and information about how to fix them is in the linked article above.
Next, if you took herbs to increase your milk supply with an earlier child, you should consider planting an herb garden of those herbs you took last time. The best herbs are often those you grow yourself because you have complete control over the soil, planting, fertilizing and harvesting. If you’re not due for 2 or more months, consider starting your own personal lactation herbal garden or if gardening is not your thing, order an herbal blend, such as Lactiful Supply Max, so it is on hand.
?Once you’re pregnant with your next child and have reviewed the causes of low milk supply and considered starting your own herb garden, it’s time to be proactive and take herbs that help prepare your milk supply. Here are the herbs that will get your supply off to the best start:
Use: General milk increase
Contraindications: Lupus and other autoimmune disorders
Sources: Health food stores, online
Use: Hormone balancing, increase breast tissue
Sources: Some health food stores, online
Use: General milk increase, glandular tissue generation
Sources: Some health food stores, online
In the second and third trimesters take Alfalfa and Saw Palmetto:
Alfalfa – Take 1 tablet (500 Mg) three times a day with meals.
Saw Palmetto – Take 1 capsule (540 Mg) in the morning and 1 capsule at night.
In the third trimester also take Goat’s Rue.
Goat’s Rue – Take 1 capsule (500 mg) 4 times per day but with only a small amount of water (1 to 2 ounces). Additionally, avoid all liquids 20 minutes before and after each dose.
Next, prepare your home, your mind and your life for your new baby. Are there any home projects you should finish before baby arrives? Getting any projects done before baby arrives will give you more time to breastfeed the new baby. Preparing and freezing meals reduces stress and workload after baby arrives.
If you work, are you able to bank up hours at work and extend your maternity leave? Can you set up a work-from-home agreement with your employer and have more time to spend with baby?
If you have a pump, consider if you need to buy a new one. Often suction power decreases after a year of average use. If you don’t own a pump, perhaps now is a good time to purchase one.
Once you reach week 36 in your pregnancy, begin pumping once a day for 10 minutes (as long as this is okay with your health care provider). Each week add a new 10 minute pumping session. Spread out the sessions as much as you can. For instance in week 38 pump once in the morning and once at night. In week 39 pump morning, afternoon and night. Don’t worry if no milk is expressed during these pumping sessions. The purpose of this pre-birth pumping is not to generate milk but to stimulate the breasts and let them know it’s almost showtime. Early stimulation increases the number of breastfeeding hormone receptors that are established which sets your milk production ceiling or maximum milk production. We want your maximum milk production set as high as possible.
After Baby Is Born
Once baby is born breastfeed as soon as possible. Within 30 minutes is ideal, but it should be no more than an hour. Put this in your birth plan so your medical team knows your wishes.
Be sure to breastfeed every time baby cries and let no more than 3 hours pass from the start of one breastfeeding session to the start of the next. Treat 3 hours as the maximum allowed time between the start of one session and the start of the next, even if you have to wake baby. Better yet, aim to breastfeed every 2 to 2 and a half hours to better your chances of maximizing your milk supply. Continue this strategy until baby is at least 6 weeks old.
Every time you breastfeed be sure baby breastfeeds on both breasts. Alternate which side you start on with each nursing. Aim for 10 minutes of active nursing before switching to the other side. Tickle baby’s cheeks and toes to keep him alert and really actively nursing for a minimum of 10 minutes, then switch to the other side (if baby is still actively nursing continue to nurse on the same side until baby settles into comfort sucking – do not automatically switch at 10 minutes – that’s a minimum, not a maximum). See our article on not allowing a sleepy baby to leave milk in your breasts for tips to encourage a sleepy baby to breastfeed actively.
After each time you breastfeed, pump for 7 minutes on each side or until milk stops flowing.
On day four, begin taking your herbal supplement. You may wish to start with a lower than recommended dose and build up to a full dose over the course of a week so that you can gently ease your body into the herbs.
If you suffer from engorgement when your milk comes in do not use cabbage leaves to relieve the symptoms as this can also reduce your milk supply.
And finally, see our article index for many, many helpful articles about low milk supply, pumping and breastfeeding.
The good news is that breastfeeding and milk supply generally get better with each successive child. That coupled with these recommended preparations are sure to give you a much better breastfeeding experience with your new baby! Best of luck to you and your family and congratulations on your pregnancy!