In this post, I want to talk about How to increase milk supply and nurse your baby correctly. The number one complaint that I’ve heard from first-time nursing mothers is the pain that it causes. The other complaint is the amount of time it takes.
I have heard that while at the hospital mothers are taught to nurse 15 minutes both sides. The theory behind this is it takes this long for the baby to totally strip you of milk and cream.
How to nurse your baby correctly
When your milk lets down it takes only a few minutes for the baby to drain you. He’s barely sucking at this point only swallowing. Then as the milk decreases he will begin sucking hard. I should time this process but I’m going to guess it takes about three minutes from the time they latch on until they drain you. Let’s think conservatively and say 5 minutes. That gives you another 10 whole minutes of hard sucking which is pretty much unproductive except for making you sore. Also if you continue to nurse that one side for this long you’re going to have probably two more let downs of milk, if you are a good producer of milk.
So, once he has drained you the first time you help them strip you of the cream and get on with the other side. To do this you start at the base of the breast and apply pressure as you work towards the nipple. At the same time you are giving him the cream and emptying any still-full milk ducts. Usually the side of the breast will still feel full where the gravitational pull isn’t so strong. Do this for about another minute and you’re good. Switch sides and repeat.
This eliminates both problems mentioned above.
I was introduced to something this year that I had never heard of. It’s called the shield. I spoke with two women within just a day or two of each other who had both used this. Because of hospital instructions they had to wear this for months because it simply hurt too much to nurse otherwise.
Admittedly it hurts quite a bit in those first couple of days prior to your milk coming in but after about a week it shouldn’t hurt so much. When they first latch on you may have to grit your teeth for just a second but then you should be ok. By the second week of nursing if the baby is latched on correctly and your milk supply is good then it should not be painful to nurse and a shield past the second week should not be necessary.
Let me quickly explain why I would be against this. God made us so incredible, so uniquely, that when a baby nurses, the nipple is sensitive enough to “read” the saliva of the baby. Just like when you’re pregnant if the baby needs something your body will crave it. It’s the same with nursing. If that baby is in need of a certain nutrient then your body will crave a food that has it in it.
The shield makes it impossible for your body to “read” the baby. So, if you must use the shield, if it were me, I would discard it as quickly as I could.
With each pregnancy it seems that it has been harder and harder for me to produce. Although my babies have always been nice and chunky it’s bothered me that my production has never been the same as it was with my first child.
Our fifth child has perhaps given us more gray hair than all five of them put together.
At three months she came down with infantile botulism. You begin to be paralyzed from the head down. The first thing I noticed was her inability to nurse properly. Her suction wasn’t strong.
We were very scared and had no idea what to do. This problem started on a Wednesday afternoon and by Friday we were in the ER with a three-month old baby who couldn’t hold up her own head and overall appeared paralysed. Within 30 minutes of arriving at the ER she coded blue. They quickly intabated her (put an oxygen tube down her and a machine was breathing for her) and life-flighted her to St. Louis Children’s Hospital where it took another 12 hours just to figure out what was wrong.
I was still nursing her full-time however she hadn’t nursed in 24 hours so I was engorged and hurting. I began pumping but once thoroughly empty it was as if my body quit producing. I did everything I knew to bring up my milk supply because the doc wanted 3 oz every 3 hours. I was only giving 2 1/2.
How to increase milk supply
Looking back now I don’t believe that there was anything else I could have done. Several nurses said considering all the stress I had been through I was doing well. I still cried when they had to supplement with formula for the first time. None of our babies had ever formula.
Low milk supply is normally fixable. Most of the time it’s due to not eating or drinking enough. Most women are afraid of gaining weight therefore try to starve themselves. You will not produce milk if you’re not eating enough. You should also be drinking a half a gallon of water per day.
If you are eating good and drinking the right amount and you’re still not producing then here’s a couple of other things that you can try.
I have revisited a remedy that didn’t work for me at the hospital. I believe that my body was too stressed to produce anymore than what it was.
Hops. In the hospital I was drinking both the tea (which tastes like dirty socks) and taking the capsule. I was having issues with my milk getting too low the other day and found those Hops capsules in the vitamin cabinet. I took 2 and sometime throughout the night my milk supply had come back up to full production.
My sister-in-law likes fenugreek. It works well for her.
I’ve heard from several people that a bowl of oatmeal every morning works great. If you are a blood type A or even B, I would highly recommend that you try this. I cannot eat oatmeal. It makes me gain weight.
My midwife recommends something called Maxi Milk. It’s sold at mountainmeadows.com
Some have had success with Mother’s Milk Tea. I would have to drink too much for it to be worth the expense.
More tips on how to nurse your baby successfully.
Post a comment below on how you increase milk supply and tips you have learned on how to nurse your baby correctly.