Are you a breastfeeding mum? Did you plan to exclusively breastfeed your baby while pregnant? Have you started the breastfeeding journey, and it seems like a difficult task? Do you have a low milk supply, and you feel like giving up against your will?
Please hold on a little longer. Take a moment, read this article and try again. Remember, you decided to do this, so you owe it to yourself to say you have tried your best.
I will be highlighting a few points to guide you through what helped me with my lactation struggles. So, let us dive right in.
Prepare your mind
Breastfeeding, like every other thing associated with birthing new life, is hard work. But, when you have prepared your mind for the task ahead, it becomes easier. Breastfeeding, especially for women who have problems with constant let down is hard work. The only thing that will keep you going is your determination to breastfeed and persistence.
There will be days when your milk supply will look like it has stopped. It is your persistence that will not make you give up. The role of preparing your mind ahead of this task cannot be overemphasized. The motivating factor should be the reward you will get from exclusively breastfeeding your little one. Remember, you chose to exclusively breastfeed because of the knowledge you already have about it.
Knowing your body
You must treat your body accordingly. This is why it is necessary to know your body. Give yourself time to understand how your body works. Six months is a very long time to discover so much about how your body responds to many different things on breastfeeding. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take things slowly and be flexible and ready to make changes when necessary.
Experiment with different foods
Bearing in mind that there’s nothing you cannot eat gives you a wide range of options. There are certain foods known as galactagogues that help stimulate hormones responsible for lactation. It’s okay to know them and take them. But in the case of a low milk supply, you need to try many foods. Don’t forget that we all have different bodies and different ways by which our bodies process things.
You don’t have to be limited to certain types of food. The only problem you can have with this suggestion is if the baby reacts to it. And if the baby reacts to a particular food you have taken, you can always stop and try others. So, experiment with different foods and know which one helps your milk supply.
Ensure enough calorie intake
I know so well that you want to quickly lose the weights you gained during pregnancy. You want to look ‘sexy’ again and possibly return to the weight you started with. This is not a bad wish. But remember, it took you close to ten months to get all the weight. It will also take you close to that to shed them off. With exclusive breastfeeding, you can comfortably shed the weight gained during pregnancy.
Some foods will ensure you have the right amount of energy. Therefore, get to work, research these foods and plan around them. Don’t go on a fasting spree because you don’t want to add weight. You need all the energy for the task ahead.
Drink, Drink, Drink!!!
Ensuring lots of fluid intake during this breastfeeding journey is very important. It helps to achieve a better outcome. You need to also remember that breastmilk is majorly made of water. Even though drinking enough water does not directly affect your milk supply, it helps your general health. It helps maintain glowing skin, your lips will not dry out, and you will look fresh and healthy.
A way to know when you are becoming dehydrated is when your urine color appears so dark. I am sure you want to look well taken care of during this period. A way to ensure this is to stay hydrated.
Have a pumping routine
It is necessary to consider having a breast pump when you have decided to exclusively breastfeed. Breast pumps are not only useful for working mums. If you have a high supply of milk, you can manage to do without buying, especially if you are with the baby most of the time. But, If your milk supply is low, you need to consider owning a breast pump- manual or electric.
A way to improve low milk supply is to have a breast pumping routine. One of the rules of pumping is to frequently get milk off the breast. This will help the body to know that there is a demand for milk production. When this has been established, the body will find a way to adjust to this routine. Hence, it is not just enough to eat foods that help in lactation. It is also necessary to pump effectively and remove the milk that has been produced.
Another advantage of pumping is that you know the amount of milk the baby is having at every feed. This will take away the worries of not knowing if the baby has had enough milk or not. Trust me, this alone gives every mom nightmares.
Cancel out scheduled feeding
I know you have learned a lot about scheduling breastfeeding time for babies. But in this case, I will suggest that you feed the baby on demand. As much as you pump, you should also put the baby to the breast. Babies sometimes effectively get more milk directly than when you pump. When you breastfeed this way, it helps the body know that there’s a high demand for breast milk. The body will then adjust accordingly.
You may be worried that a baby is gaining too much weight by feeding on demand. Most weight gained during the first six months by the baby will still be shed off when the baby becomes mobile and active. So, don’t put the baby on a schedule of every two or three hours. Feed the baby as you get the cue from him or her.
Learn to take a break
I know that there are lots of things you want to catch up on. You also want to get busy and effectively manage the home. But you need to learn to take breaks and rest. Make sure to take adequate rest, especially when the baby is sleeping. Also, choose to ask for help when you need it.
There is a need for you to replenish any lost nutrients from your body resulting from breastfeeding. Sometimes, you don’t get enough to replace what you lost from the food that you take. There is, therefore, a need to supplement with multivitamins.
You can opt for some breastfeeding supplement brands in the market. Another option is to continue the prenatal supplement you were taking during pregnancy. All these will ensure you have good health, and your skin will look fresh too. Who doesn’t want that?
The process of being pregnant for nine months is a rigorous one. A lot happened in between, and now the baby has arrived. With the baby’s arrival comes a great deal of work too. I hope that you have been able to get the necessary knowledge needed to navigate the breastfeeding journey. These suggestions will ensure you achieve all-around healthy living during this period. So that at the end of the day, both you and the baby will have a great experience.