Last week, I wrote about the hardest part of motherhood for me, breastfeeding. This week, I’d like to share everything I have tried at some point during the past eight months to increase my supply. Some of these were done concurrently, while most of the time I cycle through and do one or two things at a time.
Botanicals/Supplements: There are so many botanicals that can be used to support the body during lactation. Initially, I used fenugreek capsules, moringa, and brewers yeast. Then I went to the ND clinic and my intern made me a botanical tincture with goat’s rue, hops, chamomile, fennel, and fenugreek.
Essential Oils: Applying specific essential oils topically over the mammary glands can increase lactation. I made a rollerball blend using the following essential oils: basil, fennel, and clary sage, and used it two to three times daily for a week.
Power Pumping: Supply and demand is the body’s main way of regulating supply. The more frequently breasts are emptied, the more breastmilk the body will make. Power pumping means pumping for 40 minutes in an hour, broken up into chunks: 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off, 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, 10 minutes on. This signals the body that demand is high and it needs to increase its supply.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine: The AOM clinic is fantastic, and I went for five acupuncture sessions in a seven day period. There are specific points to help with lactation and overall tonification of the body. Not only was it beneficial for my supply, but it was also relaxing. I also was prescribed granules of a blend of lactation-supporting herbs, and another Chinese herb that looks and tastes like styrofoam. Moxa was another tool that we used over specific points on the body.
Trying different pumps: I’ve used four different breast pumps and many pumping accessories. My body doesn’t respond well to pumping, but I’ve finally settled on one that doesn’t cause pain!
What I’ve learned through this whole process is that building milk supply can be a long process and a continuous journey. Breast milk donation is another option that we use since pumping doesn’t get out the amount of milk Jade consumes when I’m away from her. There are two organizations that support breast milk donation without financial compensation, Eats on Feets and Human Milk for Human Babies.