Tips for Lactating Mothers: How to Stay Healthy and Manage Your Milk Supply
It’s no secret that lactating (or breastfeeding) can be stressful on the body, and not just because it requires you to constantly have a supply of oatmeal on hand. Lactating can put quite a strain on your body, especially if you aren’t feeding your child as often as they demand. In addition to general stressors from not having enough time or energy to deal with your little one’s constant demands for food at all hours of the night, there are also some more specific things that can throw off a breastfeeding mom’s milk production. There are even some steps you can take to avoid these pitfalls in the future should you choose to nurse another child when the time comes.
Here are some helpful suggestions for keeping your body healthy while still finding ways to manage your supply and keep up with your baby’s demands:
Watch your diet
Breast milk is made up of many different nutrients, as well as antibodies that are specific to your baby. For this reason, breastfeeding babies are very susceptible to allergies. Depending on your family’s history of allergies, you may want to take extra steps to avoid introducing allergens into your baby’s diet. One way to help do this is to avoid eating certain foods during your pregnancy and breastfeeding period. Some of these foods include peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, and soy. If you have a family history of allergies, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about this further. They can provide you with specific recommendations on what to avoid and when, as well as offer advice on how you can best avoid an allergic reaction in your baby.
Regular exercise can help improve a breastfeeding mom’s supply and even ease the stress that comes with the constant demand for food from your baby. There are a few ways that exercise can help with your breastfeeding, specifically and the positive health benefits associated with exercise in general. Some of these include lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes, improving your sleep quality, and getting rid of any extra weight you might be carrying.
All of these factors can help improve your mood and make your life with a new baby that much easier. Your supply is affected by the amount of stress your body is under. Exercise can help to reduce the amount of stress you feel, and also increase your confidence. Your baby can sense your stress, and may respond with colic or crying. Exercise can help reduce this, and make breastfeeding a much more enjoyable and manageable process for both you and your baby.
Create a schedule
There’s no question that breastfeeding is tedious, especially for first-time moms. You’ll likely have to nurse your baby throughout the day and into the night, and if you’re not careful, sometimes even during your naps. One way to help avoid over-feeding your baby is to create a feeding schedule. This schedule should include times for feedings as well as naps and times to sleep. If your baby is still getting used to feeding times, they may be extremely fussy at first, but they should learn to adapt pretty quickly. Keep in mind that the times on your schedule should not be set in stone. Babies are individuals and are used to being in charge of their own schedules. They will let you know when they are hungry. And they are very persistent.
Keep track of your baby’s demands
Aside from creating a feeding schedule, you should also keep track of how much your baby is eating. This will help you to better manage your milk supply. You’ll want to keep track of feeding times, as well as the amount of time each feeding session lasts. You can record this information in a journal or on a notepad to keep things organized. If you prefer to use an app or online journal, there are plenty available to choose from and work with smartphones, so you can keep track no matter where you are.
There are many supplements available to help boost your milk supply, and you can speak with your doctor about which ones are best for your baby. Keep in mind that not all supplements will work for every baby, or for every lactating woman, so be sure to discuss your options with your doctor. One of the most common supplements that breastfeeding moms take is called fenugreek. Fenugreek is a herb that has been shown to increase milk production and has few side effects. It can, however, be very potent, so be sure to check the recommended dosage on the bottle before you start using it. Avoid taking too much, because it may cause gastrointestinal issues.
Stay away from certain foods and beverages
There are certain foods and drinks that can actually make your milk supply drop. You should avoid or at least limit your intake of caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, large meals, and carbonated beverages.
Breastfeeding is a very beneficial experience for both the breastfeeding mother and her child, but it can be stressful and challenging in the beginning. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to prevent common breastfeeding problems and make your breastfeeding experience as positive and healthy as possible. By following these tips, you can make sure your breastfeeding experience is as stress-free as possible and enjoy all the benefits breastfeeding offers.