I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. The whole breast milk thing was hard for me – pumping, the nursing, all of it.
I post a lot about breastfeeding – increasing supply, power pumping, pumping at work, keeping pumping gear clean the easy way, etc. Below I have a short-list of all the top takeaways I got from ‘experts’ on breastfeeding and breast milk. These tidbits came from lactation specialist, pediatricians, nurses, and other mothers of multiple children who seemed like they knew their sh*t.
For what is worth, some of these practices and beliefs may be true and useful but not all of them. I did my best to stick to many of them, many times, but not all the time.
- Don’t have dairy while nursing (like, before, during or after): I was told that dairy, not matter how much or how little throughout the day, will give a newborn terrible gas and disrupt sleep when they then digest it through your breastmilk. There is plenty on this topic on the internet completely disputing this claim or adamantly “verifying it”. I am not expect, I am just simply passing along some bad news for some of us cheese and latte lovers. After a horrible experience with a colicky first child, I stuck to limiting my diary in-take to almost zero for the few first weeks with my second and slowly increased it overtime. I am not sure I have the right kind of beta-test results to claim this helped one way or another, but it definitely didn’t hurt. Our second was way, way more chill – who knews if that was personality, nurture, or diet.
- Don’t consume caffeine while nursing (like, before, during or after- again). This is pretty much the exact same as above. I was told caffeine would influence my baby in horrible ways – sleep and colic. First child – drank it anyway. Second child, steered clear for the most part (but not fully). It may have helped – again with the nature vs. nurture. But what I can say, limiting caffeine doesn’t hurt.
- Drink lots of water: Supply, health, blah, blah, blah.
- Eat Oats: Apparently this can increase your supply. Real oats, not minute-made packets.
- Eat a lot of protein: Some unknown science behind supply. I didn’t argue – I love peanut butter and homemade protein balls.
- Drink warm or room temperature drinks: Something to do with letdowns. I did my best here. Unless it is the dead of summer, it’s not so hard.
- Drinks caffeine free tea: Sure, why not. Warm and no caffeine.
- Keep your breasts warm before and during pumping. This one actually felt pretty nice to me, so I didn’t argue. I used a small heating pad for this.
- Stay away from cold drinks and foods (like popsicles) before nursing: Again, apparently some people believe this interrupts your bodies letdown or milk production in someway. I am not sure there is a lot of science behind it, but maybe.
- Power pump: This works, even though it is miserable.
- Pump regularly: Yeah, supply and demand. It’s a thing.
- Nurse regularly
- Use skin-to-skin contact: Nature
- Use a lubricant to pump to avoid raw and tortured nipples: 100000% true.
- Rest/Sleep and meditate to relax your body: Stress and lack of sleep will apparently disrupt your body’s ability to produce milk or allow a letdown. Haha! It’s like God is trying to play a funny trick on new moms – ohhhh just relax and sleep!
- Take supplements to increase supply: I post about some products here, many of which I tried or used regularly.