Congratulations on your efforts at breastfeeding and on your new baby! This can be a very challenging yet very rewarding experience and we would be honored to help you in any way that we can. Please understand there is no perfect answer on how to increase your milk supply, there are many reasons your milk supply may be low, and this is simply meant to educate you to options that we support and can prescribe if appropriate. There are many non- prescription or natural products that have been utilized for many years which we also encourage.
A breastfeeding store here in the Rice Village we like is ‘A Woman’s Work’ at 4101 Greenbrier Street #210., (713) 524-3700. You can also rent hospital grade breast pumps here for affordable prices. There are certified lactation specialists at A Woman’s Work, and in your local community that you can look for prior to delivery and schedule an appointment with if you would like.
Some basic breast supply suggestions are as follows:
- Drinking plenty of fluids. You should be drinking non-caffeinated beverages and using the restroom frequently and noticing clear, light colored (dilute) urine.
- Drink Mother’s Milk Tea 3 – 5 times per day. Purchased at Central Market, Whole Foods, A Woman’s Work.
- Fenugreek 3 capsules 3 times per day. Purchased at Central Market, Whole Foods, A Woman’s Work. This is an herbal supplement that has been around for many years and is used frequently by lactation specialists. You will typically notice an increase in your milk supply in 48 – 72 hours.
- Some pediatricians also suggest drinking malt. You can have this in the form of malted milk 2-3 times per day.
- A prescription medication we can provide is Reglan 10mg three times per day. Many patients do very well with this medication and for some it can double their milk supply in a 48 hour period! However, if you have a history of depression or are currently experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression this is a medication that could make those symptoms worse. It can also increase fatigue and increase gastrointestinal movement (it is a GI motility agent with a side effect of increasing milk supply). Most people do not get diarrhea but if you have a history of irritable bowel syndrome you would want to start at a low dose and increase slowly to avoid these potential side effects. Thus, it goes without saying, all medications whether prescription or over the counter, have potential side effects so we always want to be careful.
- Increased demand equals increased supply. The more you nurse or pump and demand of your breast the more your body realizes you need to make more. We call it a ’48 hour pump-athon’☺ Try nursing and pumping every 2-2.5 hours for 48 hours (this includes waking up at night) and then go back to your regular schedule). I know this sounds exhausting and it is, but it can reap many benefits for your milk supply.
- Remember, there are also many medications that can reduce your milk supply. Some medications that are safe during pregnancy are not safe during lactation. For example, antihistamines like Benadryl , Zyrtec, Allegra, etc, these medication can dry up your milk. So please call us if you are breastfeeding and need clarification on the safety of a medication while breastfeeding.
- The last suggestion can be one of the most difficult for some people and that is to sleep when the baby sleeps. Stress and sleep deprivation can definitely affect your milk supply and the more sleep you get and the more continuous sleep you can get (a goal of 5 hours at one time when your baby will let you) will help your milk supply.
We hope this information is helpful to you and please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you through this incredibly rewarding and bonding experience.
Best Wishes from the CWCC Doctors and Staff