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Foods That Decrease Breast Milk

There are several foods, herbs and substances that decrease breast milk supply. Have you had a significant amount of one or more of these recently? If so, stop and watch your milk supply return.

  • Sage – more than 1 tbsp. per day.
  • Parsley – more than ½ cup per day.
  • Mint (particularly peppermint) – Frequent brushing with toothpaste containing real mint oil; more than 2 strong mints like Altoids per day, more than 1 regular-size candy cane per day.
  • Fish Oil – some women have found that this may affect milk supply; more than 1 capsule per day. Test switching to Flaxseed Oil as your Omega 3 supplement.
  • Excessive Water – more than ½ gallon per day. Too much water will throw off your electrolytes which can affect milk production. Drink periodically throughout the day and whenever you are thirsty and keep your pee light yellow in color.
  • Alcohol – more than 1 drink per day.
  • Smoking – any amount. Smoking lowers your Prolactin (milk-making hormone) levels. Moreover it, reduces the amount of fat content in your milk – so baby doesn’t gain as much weight as he normally would.
  • Medication – Pseudoephedrine which is found in most allergy or cold medications, such as Sudafed. Buproprion which is found in Wellbutrin and Zyban.
  • Caffeine – affects women and their babies differently. Experiment to see if it is affecting your milk supply.

These foods that decrease breast milk should be avoided above the quantities shown.

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4 Common Breastfeeding Mistakes That Lead To Low Milk Supply

Breastfeeding is Hard Enough, Be Sure to Avoid These Breastfeeding Mistakes that can Quickly Affect Your Milk Supply!

There are several common breastfeeding mistakes that moms make that reduce the number of feedings or end up leaving milk in the breasts, both of which will result in lower milk supply.

The 4 Most Common Breastfeeding Mistakes Are:

  • Feeding on a Schedule
  • Giving a relief bottle at night or skipping night time feedings
  • Allowing a sleepy baby to leave milk in your breasts
  • Not nursing or pumping when your breasts don’t feel full

Let’s go into all of these in detail, and what to do if you’ve made any of these breastfeeding mistakes.

Breastfeeding Mistake #1 That Can Lead to Low Milk Supply:

Breastfeeding Mistake - using the clock to tell you when to feedFeeding On A Schedule

A rigid feeding schedule will often lead to low supply because a mother’s body doesn’t work like a clock – it doesn’t produce milk at a constant rate throughout the day.

A mother’s body typically produces more milk in the morning, and less as the day goes on. This is normal. Therefore, as evening nears it’s normal for baby to ask for more frequent feedings. Often times mothers make the mistake of thinking – he just breastfed, it can’t be that – and will fail to offer the breast again, when really baby is compensating for less milk being available by breastfeeding more often. Often times also, babies will do what is called “cluster feeding” to “tank up” for a longer sleep cycle. Whenever baby is fussy, offer the breast. Even if he only nurses for a few minutes, this is good stimulation for your breasts and may be giving baby exactly what he needs.

Breastfeeding Mistake #2 That Can Lead to Low Milk Supply:

Giving A Relief Bottle At Night Or Skipping Night Time FeedingsBreastfeeding Mistake - Father feeding baby at night

Some very helpful daddies will offer to take on the role of nighttime feeder and give relief bottles so mom can get a full night’s rest. A full night’s rest is terrific, but you have to remember the number one reason for low milk supply is not breastfeeding often enough. When you go a whole night without removing any milk, it tells your body that it’s overproducing and milk production will get cut. Going long stretches without removing your milk can also bring back your monthly cycle as your body switches back to reproductive mode. It can also cause mastitis and ultimately can lead your body to start shutting down milk production!

The only way to avoid that terrible outcome and still have daddy give a night time relief bottle is to pump the same amount of milk that baby is consuming at the same he is giving the bottle – in the middle of the night! At that point you and dad are both up, which completely negates the point! Then dad will just be tired and less helpful to you the next day! Furthermore, baby may become confused by artificial bottle nipples and flow differences which will only create more breastfeeding challenges. In short, if you and dad are both up in the night, it defeats the purpose of a relief bottle and may just confuse baby.

Tips for nighttime feedings:

  • Try not to resent needing to get up with your little one. Perhaps try to think of this temporary time, as a gift you give to your baby. Interestingly, mother’s who fight nighttime feedings tend to feel more tired in the morning than those who give themselves over to this short term need.
  • Keep an early bedtime for yourself.
  • Experiment with what works best for you for nighttime feedings. Is it a breastfeeding mistake to take baby to bed with mother?
    • Some mothers find that they feel more rested if they just bring baby to bed with them and nurse while side-lying, and just sleep while baby nurses.
    • On the other hand, some mothers find they are not able to allow themselves to get into a deep sleep or get truly comfortable with baby in bed with them. These moms may find it better to get up and be fully awake and ensure that baby is actively nursing the entire time, and then return to bed after nursing is done.
    • Try both and see which works best for you. Please note however, if baby has had any difficulty with latching on, or is having difficulty with weight gain, it is highly recommended that you sit fully upright and try to stay awake for the duration of the nursing session and ensure that baby maintains a proper latch for the entire time. Side-lying nursing can be difficult to get a proper latch, and if you are drifting to sleep it is easy for baby to slip the latch. This is important if you’ve struggled with latch issues because baby may again get used to the feeling of a poor latch. Also, for weight gain, it is important to ensure that baby is actively nursing, and to use hand compressions at every opportunity.
    • Of course, baby’s safety is paramount. Never take your baby to bed if you are not comfortable with it, if you have been consuming alcohol, if you have thick heavy blankets etc. If you are going to nurse in bed, or co-sleep, please do your own research & talk with your pediatrician to ensure your baby’s safety.

Breastfeeding Mistake #3 That Can Lead to Low Milk Supply:

Breastfeeding Mistake - letting baby sleep too longAllowing A Sleepy Baby To Leave Milk In Your Breasts

You may have heard the saying, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” Although it may be tempting to let your little bundle of joy sleep for long stretches, it is very important to wake them up at least every three hours to nurse (& every 2 hours if you are trying to increase milk supply). I know, because with my first, I didn’t do this. He was so colicky and hard to get back to sleep that there was no way I was going to wake him up and face the crying again. Little did I know that if I had woken him up it would have improved his mood and his health.

With my second child, I did things differently. I woke her up diligently every 3 hours without fail and she hit all of her milestones. She was such a happy, healthy little baby. Sometimes it is almost impossible to wake up a sleeping baby for frequent breastfeeding. In order to avoid low milk supply, here’s some specific things you can try to get more active participation from babies who sleep a lot, or are mellow about nursing:

Do a diaper change: Even if baby doesn’t need one – getting baby completely naked wakes baby up and it goes hand-in-hand with the next suggestion. Be sure baby is good and awake before starting to nurse, otherwise slumber will just settle right back in.

Skin-to-skin time: Undress your baby down to the diaper before nursing and go braless (wear a button-down shirt that can be fully unbuttoned). This wakes up and energizes your baby for a good nursing session.

Play games: Stimulate baby to stay awake by tickling toes, feet and face and playing with him. Some babies can get distracted by this, but most will smile or giggle and latch back on to continue nursing. It can be a lot of fun and can help baby to more actively participate in nursing.

When all else fails to wake baby: Please don’t think I’m cruel! Get a wash cloth wet with cool water, and rub it on the back of baby’s neck – he won’t like it, but this trick works almost every time.

Once baby is good and awake, be sure he is removing as much milk as possible by:

Switch nursing: Start on one side and carefully watch for when your baby goes from feeding to comfort sucking. When you suspect comfort sucking, take your baby off and put him on the other side. Again watch for the switch to comfort sucking then switch back to the first side. Watch again and switch to the second side to finish up. It’s helpful to burp baby or change the diaper between switches to help wake baby up.

Double nursing: Instead of switch nursing you can try double nursing. To double nurse, feed your baby like usual on both sides without letting him fall asleep. Then walk around with your baby upright for 10 minutes to get all the bubbles and burps out to make room for more milk. Then nurse your baby again on both sides before letting him drift off to sleep.

Breastfeeding Mistake #4 That Can Lead to Low Milk Supply:

Not Nursing Or Pumping If Your Breasts Don’t Feel FullBreastfeeding Mistake - not pumping often enough

When it has been a long time since milk has been removed, the breasts become fuller and concentrations of a whey protein called “feedback inhibitor of lactation” or FIL increase. The higher the level of FIL, the lower the level of milk production.

An engorged breast generally equals a high concentration of FIL, and therefore can lead very quickly from an oversupply, to an undersupply. Do not wait to nurse or pump until your breasts “feel full.” Also, for many women this “full feeling” goes away as their baby grows, so do not use the fullness of your breasts as an indicator of when to nurse or pump. Doing so may actually make it so that they never feel full again!

What to do if you’ve made any of these Breastfeeding Mistakes – or are Experiencing Low Milk Supply

Correcting Low Milk Supply is Lactiful’s Speciality. If you’ve made some breastfeeding mistakes, or are having any difficulty producing milk, I encourage you to check out our website fully, there’s a lot of really great information. You can also read our article 11 Ways to Increase Low Milk Supply. Be sure to check out Lactiful Supply Max – guaranteed to correct low milk supply in 14 days or less, or your money back! Lactiful Supply Max Bottle and Booklet The Lactiful Method for Increasing Milk Supply

What breastfeeding mistakes have you made? Please share in the comments, so you can spare another mom from making the same breastfeeding mistakes!

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Producing Enough Milk?

Measure Your Milk Production And Find Out!

You won’t truly know if you are producing enough milk until you find out exactly what your daily milk production is. Fortunately there are two tests that you can use to determine if you are producing enough milk.

The Two Tests

There are two reliable methods for determining how much milk you are producing. They are the feed weight test and the pumping test. Here’s a bit about each method.

Feed Weight Test

Duration: 24 hoursRequires: Extremely accurate baby scalePros: Records weight changes before and after breastfeeding, so it’s great for mom’s who don’t respond well to pumping.

Cons: Long duration

Pumping Test

Duration: 4.5 hoursRequires: Hospital-Grade pump with good fitPros: Fast

Cons: Not great for moms who don’t respond well to pumping. Baby can- not breastfeed during the test and will need to take a bottle when hungry.

Both methods are accurate so it’s really a matter of personal preference. If you respond well to pumping and feel you can relax through the test, I’d recommend the pumping test. Even if you’ve never pumped before, but are feeling positive, I’d recommend the pumping test.

If you’re sworn enemies with all pumps or are simply feeling anxious about how much milk you’ll pump I recommend the Feed Weight Test. Here are the details of each.

Determine If You Are Producing Enough Milk :  The Feed Weight Test

You’ll first need to rent or borrow an extremely accurate baby scale such as the Tanita BLB-12 Professional or the Medela BabyWeigh II. A less accurate scale won’t be able to distinguish the slight changes in your baby’s weight that we need to measure. To find one of these scales, contact your OB / Pediatrician, your hospital, your local WIC office, or possibly a private practice Lactation Consultant. Explain that you are doing a feed weight test and need an extremely accurate baby scale such as the models listed above.

Once you have your scale you are ready to find out if you are producing enough milk. Take any 24 hour period – it doesn’t matter when you start. You’ll record the weight of your baby immediately before and immediately after each breastfeeding session.

Set your scale to display the weight in grams (g).

BEFORE you nurse, weigh baby and write this number down. It’s fine to leave his clothes and diaper on – what we’re measuring is the change in weight from before breastfeeding to after breastfeeding.

WHILE you nurse, be sure to offer both breasts.

AFTER you nurse, immediately weigh baby again and write this number down. Be sure you haven’t added or removed any clothing and you haven’t changed his diaper. It’s fine if baby has a bowel movement while nursing, just weigh him dirty. Then change him.

Your first entry might look something like this:

Feeding #1 – 2:08 pm to 2:35 pm
Weight before: 4874 g
Weight after: 4912 g

Continue to record the before and after weights for the next 24 hours for EVERY feeding. Feel free to change diapers and outfits as normal when not nursing.

After 24 hours, grab a calculator – it’s time to see if you are producing enough milk!

For each feeding, subtract the before weight from the after weight. In the example above 4912 – 4874 = 38.

Next add all the change in weights together. For example let’s say baby breastfed nine times over the twenty-four hour period. 38 + 56 + 48 + 36 + 52 + 38 + 64 + 58 + 56 = 446

Next multiply the total number of grams by .035 to convert to ounces. Continuing with our example: 446 x .035 = 15.6 ounces.

Congratulations! You now know exactly how much milk you are producing each day! 15.6 ounces in this example.

Determine If You Are Producing Enough Milk :  The Pump Test

You’ll first need a hospital-grade dual breast pump. Like the baby scale for the feed weight test, these can often be rented from a hospital, OB / Pediatrician office, WIC office or sometimes from a private practice Lactation Consultant.

Be sure to be fitted to the pump by a professional. Generally softer, flexible flanges will provide a better fit (and more comfort) than rigid, plastic flanges.

Plan a 4 hour time block when your milk supply is typical – usually mornings and early afternoon are best. You will not be able to breastfeed your baby during the test, so plan to give baby a bottle with the milk you’ll be pumping during the test. Any milk baby does not drink can be frozen for later use.

At the beginning of each hour empty both breasts completely with the hospital- grade pump (typically 10 to 20 minutes). Record, in milliliters (ml), the amount of milk you pump at each of the four pumping sessions. If your test began at 11am, your entries might look something like this:

 

PUMP TIME LEFT SIDE RIGHT SIDE
1st Hour – 11:00 am 12 ml 11 ml
2nd Hour – 12:00 pm 12 ml 13 ml
3rd Hour – 1:00 pm 6 ml 9 ml
4th Hour – 2:00 pm 10 ml 14 ml

After you’ve finished the fourth and final pumping session it’s time to do some math. Important: This test only uses the pumping numbers from the third hour and fourth hour pumping sessions. You can completely ignore the numbers from the first and second pumping sessions.

Add the four amounts from the third and fourth pumping sessions. In the above example this would be 6 + 9 + 10 + 14 = 39 ml. Remember, we’re not using any of the numbers from the first, and second pumping sessions.

Divide the total milliliters by 30 to convert to ounces. 39 / 30 = 1.3 ounces.

Divide this number by 2 to get the amount of milk your body is producing every hour. 1.3 / 2 = .65 ounces per hour.

Multiply your ounces per hour by 24 to determine how much milk you are producing each day. .65 ounces per hour x 24 hours = 15.6 ounces of milk produced per day.

Congratulations! You now know how much milk you are producing each day!

Are you producing enough milk? Now that you know how much you are producing each day you can compare it what a baby needs which is typically between 25 and 30 ounces per day. If you find that your milk supply is less than this, like it was for our example mom. Be sure to see the 11 ways to increase breast milk production.

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How To Pasteurize Breast Milk

This home method mimics the same process that milk banks use to pasteurize milk from donors. You’ll need glass bottles for pasteurizing the breast milk such as the 8 ounce Evenflo Classic Glass bottle 6 Pack. These are available online and at baby stores for $15 or less. Six bottles may be a good starting point, but don’t hesitate to get a second set to make your Be sure to get enough bottles so you’re not having to constantly wash and reuse the same bottles. Four to eight bottles is a good starting point.

Once you have the bottles wash them. Using the dishwasher is fine. Next, thaw the donated breast milk if it’s frozen, then pour 5 ounces into each bottle and screw on the cap. If you bought 8 glass bottles, you can pasteurize 40 ounces of breast milk at a time.

Next get a pot large enough to easily hold the bottles to be pasteurized while leaving a one inch space between each bottle and its neighbor. Fill the pot 4 to 5 inches with water – the water should be at the same level as the milk in the bottles or a little higher. Remember the water level will rise each time you put a bottle in the pot.

After you have test fitted the bottles and the water level, take all the bottles out of the pot and heat the water to boiling. Remove the pot from the heat, wait 1 minute and then put the bottles in the pot spacing them at least an inch from the nearest neighbor.

Wait 30 minutes and remove the bottles from the pot. Leave the caps on until you are ready to use the milk. Once the milk cools it can be consumed immediately, stored in the refrigerator for 12 hours or frozen.

Please Note: Don’t actively boil the bottles – that is not how to pasteurize breast milk! Be sure to remove the pot from the burner and let it sit for one minute before putting in the milk bottles – otherwise you could cook the milk!

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11 Ways To Increase Milk Supply

#1 Increase Breastfeeding / Pumping

Probably the best way to increase milk supply is to increase the number of times each day and each night that you are breastfeeding or pumping or both. Here are some specifics:

  • After each breastfeeding session: pump for an additional 10 minutes
  • Try to breastfeed or pump every two hours and no more than every 3 hours.
  • Add a bonus pumping session right before you go to bed.

#2 If you have to supplement, use an SNS System or give a bottle in the correct way

If your milk supply has dropped low enough to need to give a supplement (breast milk or formula) to your baby, be sure you are using either an SNS System (the preferred choice) or are giving bottles in the correct way. The Lactiful Method booklet (included with each new order of Lactiful Supply Max) details exactly how to do this in the Supplementers Plan.

#3 Speak with Someone Knowledgeable

One of the best ways to increase milk supply is to seek professional help. Contact a local lactation consultant for personalized ways to increase your milk supply. She can also determine if your baby is getting a good latch and is breastfeeding effectively. Also contact your La Leche League Leader, and attend La Leche League meetings. Support from other breastfeeding mothers can be invaluable during this challenging time.

#4 Take an Herbal Supplement

One important way to increase milk supply that works for most moms is to take a very strong herbal supplement for increasing milk supply called Lactiful Supply Max. A detailed study showed that 75% of moms see an increase in milk supply in 14 days or less with Lactiful Supply Max. It contains 8 herbal ingredients that increase milk supply and best of all it’s guaranteed. If you’re not happy with your milk supply increase, you get a full refund including all shipping fees.

#5 Skin to Skin Time

One of the simple ways to increase milk supply is to have skin to skin time with your little one – take off your shirt, and your bra and get baby all the way down to his diaper and then hold him upright against your chest. Your body will keep baby warm, but you can use a blanket around his back if you feel more comfortable. This skin to skin time actually encourages your body to make more milk. The smell of your milk, and proximity of your breasts also encourages baby to nurse more often.

#6 Sling Feed

While you go about your day, keep your baby in a sling, positioned such that your baby is just inches from your bare nipple. You want to encourage as much spontaneous nursing as possible. Some babies even prefer to nurse in this way.

#7 Nap Your Way to Success

Napping with baby will give your body the rest it needs to make more milk. In this busy world, and with the possibility of multiple children this can be very difficult. However, Prolactin (the milk-making hormone) levels rise whenever you sleep. Even a short nap causes the prolactin level to rise. Our bodies heal and regenerate while we sleep. This is probably one of the most luxurious ways to increase milk supply. Just be sure to take your baby to bed with you to breastfeed during nap time.

#8 Breastfeed Where It Is Relaxing

Achieving good letdowns has a psychological factor, so being relaxed when breastfeeding (or pumping) really helps. Create an atmosphere that is helpful for breastfeeding. Find a spot that you really enjoy sitting – or create one. It should be free of distractions, quiet and peaceful, where you can really focus on your baby and your love for him. Try playing some relaxing music for the both of you. Before you start, take some deep breaths to calm yourself and help your body to relax. This will help you to trigger faster, stronger, and more let-downs. Going to a different room in the house may be particularly important if there are people in your life that are not supportive of breastfeeding, or that you are not comfortable breastfeeding in front of. It’s also important if you find while breastfeeding that you are looking around the house and thinking of all of the things you need to get done, and this is stressing you out you need to try to ignore this feeling and remember that breastfeeding is a temporary situation that once finished, will be gone forever. One of the simple ways to increase breast milk supply is to simply sit back and enjoy this special time in your life.

#9 You, Baby and Your Breasts – for the Entire Weekend!

fun way to increase breast milk supply, if you are able, is to take the weekend to spend in bed with baby and just focus on spending time together, relaxing, and nursing. Look at it as a “baby-moon” and take a vacation at home with your baby! Maybe even spend the entire time with your shirt off, so you can freely snuggle, and nurse as often as baby feels the urge. Bring yummy snacks and fun drinks and some things to do. It’s ok to watch tv, or read, or do some hobbies. Taking this time (although not practical for all moms) can often lead to more frequent breastfeeding, and more rest for both mom and baby. It can help strengthen bonds that may have been weakened by frustrations at the breast from low milk supply, and can really be one of the terrific ways to increase milk supply.

#10 Let Go of Other Responsibilities

Understand that the most important thing at this time in your life is to breastfeed your baby and to take care of yourself. Trying to do too much takes away from the focus you need to put into breastfeeding your baby. Being successful with breastfeeding is much harder if you are stressed, tired, agitated, overworked, run-down and negative. So get some help while you focus on this most important thing. Have your partner and relatives help with cooking, cleaning and laundry. Have a babysitter watch your older children. Take time to enjoy a long hot shower. These things make all the difference and are important ways to increase milk supply.

#11 Use the Power of Your Mind (Mommy Mind Tricks!)

Visualize throughout the day your breasts filling with milk. See it vividly in your mind. Then just before nursing, visualize your milk flowing down and pouring out to satisfy your baby. While breastfeeding, focus on your baby’s face. Let that image fill your mind while you softly stroke and caress your baby. Try to practice your Mommy Mind Tricks for 2 minutes each hour.

The 11 Ways To Increase Milk Supply

Some are easy, some are hard, some are free, some are not, some are fun and some are work. The more of these 11 ways to increase milk supply you practice, the more your chances go up for increasing your milk supply and getting the breastfeeding relationship or success with the breast pump that you’ve been wanting. Stay positive and believe in yourself. You can do this!