The decision to be an exclusively pumping mom comes from a variety of reasons. Breastfeeding doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes babies won’t latch. Some babies are too sick to breastfeed. There are moms who don’t want to breastfeed but do want their baby to get their breast milk.
Whatever the reason, exclusively pumping moms have their own unique needs and concerns. If you are struggling with breastfeeding issues, the thought of being an exclusively pumping mom may sound like the perfect answer to your problems.
However, the reality is that it is time-consuming and a lot of work. These tips and tricks will help the exclusively pumping mama make the milk she needs while maintaining her sanity.
How To Have a Good Milk Supply
Follow these rules to build and maintain a good supply of breast milk:
Have a good breast pump! – This cannot be emphasized enough.
A hospital/rental grade pump will be the most effective and efficient to establish a full milk supply.
Are there parts in your pump that are supposed to be replaced regularly?
Are all the connections and seals tight?
How many hours has the pump been used?
If you are using a personal pump, try renting a hospital-grade pump. If your supply increases, a new pump may be needed.
Call the pump company for a replacement if your pump is still in warranty.
Pump Kit Cleaning Tips
One challenge of exclusive pumping is the fact that you have to pump, feed your baby the pumped milk, and you also have to clean your pump parts after each cleaning. The CDC recommends thoroughly cleaning your pump kit after each time you use it.
These pump cleaning hacks can help save you some time.
Have multiple pump kit pieces. This way, you do not have to wash and dry your kit every single time.
You need the breast pump shields and connectors (sometimes these are one piece).
Pumping directly into bags means no bottles to wash.
Use breast pump wipes or sanitizers for cleaning when you are out and about.
Use breast pump kit steam bags to sanitize your pump parts.
Put your pump parts in the dishwasher.
Miscellaneous Tips for Exclusive pumpers
Have a supply of spare parts for your pump. Some things need to be replaced regularly. But even a brand-new part can be defective.
Always have a manual pump on hand for emergencies.
Keep a manual pump in your diaper bag as a back-up when you are out.
You may not be able to find a convenient place to plug in your electric pump.
A battery pack may have lost its charge.
If your budget allows, have a hospital grade pump for use at home, and a personal pump to take when you are on the go.
Time Saving Tips for the Exclusively Pumping Mama
Hands-free pumping bra – moms swear by these. It will free up your hands to do other things while you are pumping.
Hands-free pumps like the Willow and El Vie allow you to pump while you are doing other things. You can pump while you are feeding your baby a bottle, or even while you are in the car.
These pumps plug into an outlet to charge and fit into your bra.
Exclusive Pumping Schedules
The number of times a day a woman must pump to maintain a full milk supply will vary from mom to mom. Some moms have breasts that can store a lot of milk and can pump less frequently. Other moms need to pump more often because their milk production will slow down if their breasts get past a certain point of fullness.
Experiment to determine the number of times you need to pump.
Start with eight times a day.
Decrease to seven times and wait three days to see if your supply decreases.
If your supply stays the same, try decreasing by another pumping.
Continue until you see a decrease in supply. At that point, you would go back to the number of pumpings that produces the amount of milk you need.
Some moms can pump as few as four times a day and still produce e full milk supply. Other moms may need to pump 10-12 times a day.
Exclusive pumping may be a lot of work. However, giving your baby the gift of your breast milk is worth it.
As a lactation consultant, one of the things I talk to new moms about is whether they are eating enough. It takes calories to make milk. Some moms complain they are always hungry, which can lead to poor food choices. I also talk to moms who say that they don’t feel hungry enough. They feel like they are not eating as much as they know they should be. They worry that this might decrease their milk supply. Some moms find it challenging to carve out time in their day to prepare nutritious meals and snacks.
I was excited when I heard about Milk Dust protein powder for lactation support and weight loss.
I routinely recommend smoothies to moms who find it hard to prepare meals several times a day. A product that is made to support milk supply and help moms with weight loss is a welcome addition to the protein powder market.
My breastfeeding days are long over. However, I wanted to try the product before I recommended it to moms.
It has a generous 14 gm of protein per serving and only 2 gm sugar. The sweeteners used are pure cane sugar, stevia, and monk fruit. The monk fruit is listed on the ingredients as luo han guo. I love that Milk Dust uses primarily organic ingredients.
The first time I tried it, I just mixed it with the recommended 12 oz of water. Not surprisingly, this produced a grey drink. I had a hard time identifying the overall taste and finally decided it reminded me of lemonade, with some green food thrown in.
When I added it to a smoothie, I used almond milk, a frozen acai packet, and some pineapple. Even with the acai packet, the color of my smoothie was grey. This has been my experience with any protein powder that has green food in it, so I’m used to it.
It contains spinach, spirulina, and chlorella and I can definitely taste that “green food” element to it. It also has blueberries and raspberries, which help give it a fruity component.
The protein blend is vegan with pea protein isolate, organic brown rice protein, organic pumpkin seed, organic chia seed, and organic flaxseed. This makes it a perfect option for anyone who is either vegan or doesn’t want to have dairy in their diet.
Both by itself and in a smoothie, it kept me feeling satisfied for a good three to four hours.
Ingredients That Support Milk Supply
One of the most common reasons moms stop breastfeeding before they planned to is because they think they don’t have enough milk. For most moms, if they breastfeed enough, consume enough calories and drink enough fluids, they will make enough milk. Milk Dust will help them get enough calories and fluids. It also has a lactation blend that contains ingredients that have a long history of helping moms make milk.
The ingredients that are in Milk Dust that support lactation are:
Milk Thistle: This herb has been shown through scientific research to be effective in helping women increase their milk production. It is also an herb that has been used for hundreds of years to help moms make more milk.
Fenugreek: Another herb that has also been subjected to scientific research that supports its use to help increase milk production. Personally, I have worked with many moms who successfully used Fenugreek to increase their milk production.
Brewer’s Yeast: This is a type of yeast that is used as a nutritional supplement. It is used in the production of beer. It has strong anecdotal support for helping boost milk supply.
Fennel Seed has also had positive results from scientific research in terms of supporting a good milk supply.
Moms who have used Milk Dust have been happy with the results they have seen in a more abundant milk supply. Just check out Milk Dust’s stories on Instagram for constant customer updates, thoughts and reviews saved in their highlights as well!
Milk Dust has cinnamon bark and turmeric to help curb sugar cravings. Both are known to decrease blood sugar levels which can help avoid that sugar crash from sugar-laden foods that make your blood sugar spike.
Milk Dust provides 74% of Vitamin B12 requirements, 91% of Vitamin A, 52% of Vitamin E, and a whopping 100% of folate requirements.
While Milk Dust can provide a quick snack or breakfast when mixed with water, I would encourage moms to make a smoothie with it. That way you can get a couple of your daily fruit requirements checked off. Throw in some spinach or kale, and you can really feel virtuous. Another way that I like to use protein powder is to make protein pancakes.
A container of Milk Dust will definitely be something the mom who is looking for some quick and easy meals to have on her shelf.
Written by Andrea Tran RN, BSN, MA, IBCLC our monthly contributor. Mom’s love to compare. Just listen to a group of moms talking, and you’ll hear it.
“Baby Michael is sleeping eight hours straight every night. And he is only six weeks old. How long does your baby sleep?”
“My little Jessica is in the 90th percentile for weight.”
“This little guy of mine eats 35 ounces of milk every day.”
You think to yourself that you have no idea how much milk your baby eats because you are breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed your baby. But it’s a little mysterious. You don’t know how much is in there. And you don’t know how much your baby is getting out. While some moms will trust the process and have faith that it will work out, there are a lot of moms who worry. If you are that mom, this article is for you.
Your baby needs as much milk as it takes for her to grow at a normal rate. Most moms make more than what their baby needs.
If your baby is gaining 5-7 oz per week in the first three months, then she is getting enough.
By four months, average weight gain decreases to 3-5 oz per week.
By six months it’s 2-3 oz per week.
Most families don’t have an accurate baby scale at home, though. You don’t need to weigh your baby frequently. If you do want that kind of reassurance you can often find a baby scale at these places:
New mom’s groups
Breastfeeding support groups
Some hospitals have scales available for you to weigh your baby
Fortunately, there are other ways to get reassurance that your baby is getting everything he needs from you.
Breast Milk Requirements in the First Week
One of the most important things to remember is that breast milk requirements change over time. And they change dramatically in the first week.
When a baby is firstborn, he does not need a lot of milk. Over a 24-hour period a baby may drink a total of less than once ounce. This is the period they are drinking colostrum, which is very nutrient-dense. Milk Dust is an amazing, nutrient-dense drink for new mommies to help bring in the colostrum.
This amount increases each day, and by the end of the first week, the average-sized baby is taking about 16-20 ounces of your milk.
What this means is that the signs that are reassuring on day 2 would be very concerning at the end of that first week.
Reassuring Signs That Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk
While weight gain trumps everything, there are signs to look for that give you clues that your baby is getting enough to eat.
This is the easiest way to get reassurance that your baby is getting enough to eat. How much your baby puts out is directly related to how much he takes in.
For the first two months, your baby should have 6-8 wet diapers and 4-5 dirty diapers every 24 hours.
Some babies can have a dirty diaper every time they eat.
Both wet and dirty diapers are important.
Listen for swallowing. There should be lots of it.
You should hear a swallow for every one to two sucks for at least five minutes.
It is a gentle sound, sort of like, “cah.” It will follow a suck.
You can also see swallowing. When a baby swallows, they pause in the middle of the suck. Watch for your baby to hold the suck for an extra beat or two. Imagine it sounding like: suck, suuuuuck, suck, suuuuuck.
Full Breasts – Soft Breasts
Your breasts should fill up with milk between feedings and then get softer after your baby drains them is also a reassuring sign. After a few months, you will notice this happening less dramatically.
If you pay attention to these signs and they are not reassuring, or if your baby is not gaining enough weight, you should meet with a lactation consultant. She can help you figure out what is going on.
When you are the one responsible for producing your baby’s food, you want to do the best job that you can. One of the most common concerns a breastfeeding mama has is whether she is making enough milk for her baby. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of women make plenty of milk.
If you are one of those moms who has a true low milk supply, you will want to do everything you can to increase your production.
Perhaps your supply has been fine, and you have just hit a bump in the road and need a little boost. For moms who work full-time, they often find their supply starts to dip by the end of the week. The truth is that there are many scenarios where a mom might want to know how to make more milk.
Whatever your reason is for wanting to increase your breast milk supply, these tips have been used successfully, time and time again.
Always make sure you start with good breastfeeding basics.
A good latch ensures comfortable nursing and good stimulation.
Frequent breast stimulation is essential. This is that whole supply and demand thing that you have heard about. The stimulation can be from breastfeeding or pumping or a combination. There just needs to be lots of it.
Thorough emptying of the milk. When a lot of milk is left in the breasts, it tells them to make less milk.
It takes a lot of calories to grow a tiny human. Make sure you are eating enough quality calories. On average, you need about 500 calories above what you needed before you became pregnant. Make sure you are getting lots of protein, as well as good fats. Salmon is an excellent source of both, and Milk Dust is an amazing source of protein and quality calories.
Keep yourself well-hydrated. Always have a water bottle nearby.
Pumping to increase milk supply
This taps into that whole supply and demand thing. More stimulation results in more milk.
Pump within 15-20 minutes after a feeding to ensure you don’t take food away from your baby’s next feeding.
There are no hard rules about how long you need to pump. If you only have 5 minutes, then pump for that long.
If you have a full 15 minutes, don’t stop pumping just because you stop getting milk. The continued stimulation after your breasts are empty tell them to make more milk.
Research has shown that moms who massage and compress their breasts during pumping make more milk. This is called “hands-on pumping.”
The right size of breast flange is important for proper stimulation and emptying. Your nipples should not rub on the sides of the flange, and only a little bit of areola should be pulled in.
There are lots of foods that can increase milk supply. Many of them are very yummy and make tasty snacks.
Oatmeal is great for milk production. You can use it in cookies, muffins, energy bites, bread, and even smoothies!
Dates are a tasty treat that helps support milk production (Source). You can keep some in a bag in your purse for an on-the-go snack.
Smoothies – you have to eat breakfast, so make it count. Using a smoothie mix like Milk Dust Protein Powder is going to give your supply a boost. Throwing in a handful of spinach leaves helps you get your daily dose of veggies.
Cookies – This is my favorite one! Use foods that encourage milk production like brewer’s yeast and oatmeal. Adding some fenugreek will give it an extra boost, or a scoop of Milk Dust in the recipe. These Brownie Boobie Bites are AWESOME!
Energy bites – dates and oatmeal make great energy bites with two foods that are good for your supply.
Pinterest is a great place to get recipes for lactation cookies and smoothies.
There are single herbs, and there are blends. You can get most herbs as a tincture or in capsules. In my experience, the tinctures seem to be more effective. They do have a very strong taste, though. You can also brew them as teas.
One of the most common unpleasant side effects of herbs is an upset tummy. Begin with a low dosage and always stop taking anything that causes an allergic reaction.
These can be used topically with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. Take care to make sure none of it gets on your nipples. If an essential oil is labeled safe for internal use, it can be added to foods or taken in a capsule. Safety for use this way can vary according to the manufacturer of the essential oil, so always check the label.
Avoid foods that can hurt your milk supply
Some foods can actually cause your supply to decrease. Avoid these while you are breastfeeding.
Acupuncture is something I always encourage a mom with a low milk supply to consider. Research has supported its value for increasing milk supply (Source). It has been so effective in the mamas I have worked with over the last 25 years.
Now you have lots of ideas on tips to increase your milk supply in a variety of ways. Pick the one that works best for you.
Andrea Tran is an RN and a lactation consultant (IBCLC). She has her Master’s in Health and Wellness and has been helping moms and babies breastfeed for over 25 years.
These recommendations are for general and educational purposes only. You should always check with your health care professionals regarding your situation.
Increasing your milk supply before going back to work is essential in order to build a freezer stash of milk for baby, as well as keep your supply up while you are transitioning to more pumping. Heading back to work can be stressful, but by preparing ahead of time, you can help your body continue to make lots of milk.
Increasing your milk supply for heading back to work involves a few important steps:
Prepping, packing and eating milk-boosting meals
Adding in pumping sessions and using a well-fitting pump
Increasing on-demand and skin-to-skin feedings
Storing more milk and determining how much to store
We are going to walk you through the best way to prepare your milk supply for heading back to work, so you can successfully continue to breastfeeding your new baby.
Prepping, Packing and Eating Milk-Boosting Foods:
Milk-boosting foods to start eating:
Adding milk-boosting foods to your diet is going to be very important to increasing your milk supply for going back to work. Healthy lactation is the result of a healthy, thriving body. This means that nutrients are partly the building blocks to a lot of milk.
What foods do you need to start eating right away?
Lactation smoothies are a quick and simple way to start adding more nutrients to your diet that will help increase your milk supply. The key is to provide the RIGHT nutrients, which we’ve included in our Milk Dust protein powder. There are specific nutrients that need to be blended in your smoothies to really ensure that you are supporting your body’s needs a breastfeeding mom. These nutrients come from sources like chia seeds, flax seeds, protein, healthy carbohydrates, folate, vitamin b12 and more. Milk Dust is a quick, easy and tasty way to blend everything you need together with some fresh fruits and veggies.
Smoothies are also easy to pack ahead of time and store in your freezer for a quick morning breakfast. You can pack your favorite frozen fruits and veggies (try cauliflower!!) in a sandwich bag and store them in the freezer. Grab, pour, scoop, blend and go!
Moving on from the foods you need to start adding to your diet, pumping and breastfeeding also needs to increase. Increasing the demand will increase your supply.
Increasing Feedings Both Pumping and Breastfeeding:
Increasing your feedings both with baby and the pump are essential to increasing your milk supply. Here are your steps to make sure you are increasing your feeding and pumping sessions:
If you are feeding your baby on demand, with little pumping, start adding pumping sessions
If your baby is sleeping through the night, add a pumping session or feeding session in the night (this is temporary to build supply!)
If you are alternating pumping and nursing, start tracking how often. Add two more sessions each day for a week.
If you need more in your stash, add two more sessions again for a week.
Make sure you are using a good pump:
Not all pumps are created equal. Finding a pump and fit that works best for you is really important. Some moms have better success with manual pumping, while others do fine with an automatic pump. Don’t be afraid to try different pumps to make sure you are getting the most of your pumping sessions.
If pumping isn’t going well, add more skin-to-skin sessions:
This is a really important note for mamas having trouble with pumping. If your body isn’t responding to the pumping well, you can scale back and add in more skin-to-skin feedings. Try this for a few days, then replace your nursing sessions with pumping sessions slowly. This will help your body become adjusted to the demand before using the pump, making it easier to pump more milk at each session.
Tips on storing milk:
Your milk storage bags can be lined up in a soda or pop box for a quick and easy way to keep them from falling all over your freezer. You can organize boxes based on the weeks you pumped them to rotate through. Check out our breastfeeding hacks with some awesome ideas on how to store your breast milk as well as other tricks. Breast milk can last about 6 months in the freezer, and longer in the deep freezer. This means you can really pump up your supply for a while, then scale back when you have enough in storage.
When going back to work, stress can really affect your supply:
The stress of needing to pump and store extra milk, as well as leaving your baby can put a toll on your milk supply. This is a large reason Milk Dust exists.
Milk Dust takes the stress of eating ALL the milk-boosting foods off your plate.
Our formula is specifically made to nourish postpartum mamas, encourage milk supply and reduce the sugar cravings that can make eating healthy difficult. By giving new mommies a tool to help with this process, we hope it makes the life of a working and pumping mom just a little bit easier. Feel free to use code: LACTATION for 10% off your first order!
Breastfeeding requires a lot of time and preparation for new mommies. It is easily considered a full-time job, and there are some awesome tips and tricks to help make the experience much easier. These are popular, tested hacks that many mamas swear by.
Create A Breastfeeding Caddy:
One of our customers posted an awesome nursing station on a rolling cart with our Milk Dust in it. That way she was fully prepared for anything she needed, and with the wheels she could roll her goodies from the kitchen, to the living room, to the couch as needed. Think of this as your opportunity to pack and prep everything you need when you stop to nurse. Snacks, water, remote control, blanket….because once you sit down to breastfeeding, you are kinda stuck. Having a basket or caddy that is easy to carry around or grab is really helpful. Especially if your partner isn’t home to get all the things for you.
What to put in your caddy? Here’s what we suggest:
If you have awesome suggestions of items you put in your caddy, let us know!
Grab a Breastfeeding App:
There are numerous apps to help you monitor your breastfeeding. An app takes the thinking and headache out of remember which side you nursed or breastfed last, or how much you pumped. You can check out a full list of apps to decide which one might be the best for you.
Use Milk Savers:
We mentioned these are great to have in your breastfeeding caddy, and that is because these little inventions will catch the extra milk that comes from the off-side. When breastfeeding, as the baby begins to suck on one side, the other side will also let out milk. This usually leaks into your pads, but you can use catchers to help grab this milk to store for later!
Get a hands-free pumping bra:
Pumping bras that allow your hands to be free are life-saving. You can work on your computer, cook, drive…do all the things while pumping. These inventions are one of the best that ever entered the breastfeeding world.
Store breast milk in soda boxes upright:
Soda boxes with the 12 cans work really well for storing breast milk in the fridge or freezer. There is an in-depth post that goes over all the storing details you need, but save your soda boxes to use. You can also store your breast milk in ice cube trays to make it easier to thaw smaller amounts as needed.
Use quick clean sterilization bags:
These bags are life-saving when it comes to cleaning your pump. What breastfeeding mama has time to wash and sterilize all the pump parts between feedings? When in between feedings, store parts in the fridge if you don’t have time to clean. Then sterilize at night, or after the next feeding.
Most breastfeeding mamas have experienced fumbling around and knocking things over to get to baby in the night. By using a nursing night light, you can use a soft amount of light to keep everyone asleep, yet still allow your eyes to see.
Never forget lactation smoothies:
Lactation smoothies really do work wonders for increasing your breast milk and nourishing your body (get our recipe book!). They are easy to make one-handed, and with our protein powder, you can get in the amazing nutrients your body needs to support lactation. Nutrition is the back bone to healthy breastfeeding, and our lactation-herb blend is a unique recipe to boost your milk supply further. Without the proper nutrients, your body has a harder time supporting another life. Lack of nutrients can also cause sugar cravings, which in turn lead to a carb-heavy diet, rather than a nutrient-dense diet. That’s where Milk Dust is your best friend. And, it tastes like dunkaroos, so many mamas say! You can read the reviews on our reviews page, on our product page and on our Instagram.
Get a breastfeeding arm pillow:
An arm pillow is much simpler, but more effective, than the boppi pillows. These pillows don’t require any maneuvering to get baby in place. Seasoned mothers will tell you these little arm pillows are genius!
Hands-free nursing clips:
These little guys hold your shirt up for you, so it doesn’t smother baby. It is actually helpful to wear your nursing tank under a normal shirt, which means you have to hold your shirt up to access through your nursing tank. These little clips do it for you – genius!
There you have the best 10 breastfeeding hacks that make life so much easier as a breastfeeding mama.
Don’t forget that the most important thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to properly nourish your body, so you feel your best. Spending time skin-to-skin and cuddling is also wonderful for milk supply and healing postpartum. Relax, stock up on goodies in your breastfeeding caddy and enjoy a delicious smoothie.
Just as there are numerous ways to increase milk supply while breastfeeding, there are also numerous ways to decrease your milk supply. Sometimes new mothers don’t realize that some of their habits of foods they are consuming can have a negative impact on how much milk their body is producing.
First, we’ll go over some foods that can have a negative affect on milk supply, then we’ll also discuss some habits that can also reduce the milk a mother is producing. It is also important to note that just because a food or habit has shown a decrease in some women, doesn’t mean it will for you as well. Everyone has a different genetic make up, and it is important to monitor your milk supply with any new diet, foods and habits.
Foods that can decrease milk supply:
There is actually very limited research on foods and herbs that can decrease milk supply. Even the popular peppermint and sage herbs that have been reported to reduce milk supply have very little scientific proof. Because we believe in combining scientific research with anecdotal research, we have a fairly short list of foods and habits.
Sage is used to help breastfeeding mothers wean and reduce milk supply. There are no scientific studies proving that sage reduces milk production, though there are many women who report that sage helps with weaning. If using Sage to help with the weaning process, the best results are in high dosages in pill form or possibly tea. Simply cooking with sage is usually no where near enough to affect milk supply.
Parsley is another herb that has no research to back thoughts that it will reduce milk supply. It is very difficult to eat enough parsley day after day to reduce your milk supply, but if you are taking a supplement of some kind with higher dosages of parsley, you can have a negative affect. Make sure to check any herbal teas, powders or supplements you have to ensure there isn’t a lot of parsley.
This herb has no scientific backing on its affect on milk supply, though because moms have reported it being successful in reducing milk supply, we find it worth mentioning. Oregano used in cooking and recipes doesn’t have the potency that supplements do. If you enjoy eating oregano, it most likely will have no effect on your milk supply, but a more concentrated tea or herbal supplement may have negative affects.
Lifestyle habits that reduce milk supply:
Cigarettes have been shown to have a negative affect on oxytocin levels, which is what stimulates the let down affect. If you let down isn’t working properly, your breasts will not empty. If breasts don’t fully empty, this signals a lower demand and thus a lower supply need.
Sudafed (anti-congestion medicine):
Sudafed, and other similar anti-congestion medications for colds and allergies can negatively affect your milk supply. Basically, because these medications help dry up your runny nose, they can also dry up your milk supply.
Most doctors suggest breastfeeding mamas a very low dosage birth control pill in an attempt to reduce any affect on milk supply. Because birth control pills change hormonal levels, and often times increase estrogen, this can affect your milk production, which is based on your chemical and hormone levels.
This one is fairly obvious, but because becoming pregnant while breastfeeding affects your estrogen levels, it can also affect your milk supply levels. Most times, a new mother’s body adjusts to being pregnant and breastfeeding, but sometimes there is a drop in supply as hormones change and fluctuate.
This is a topic that we feel very strongly about. Many mothers eat plenty of calories, but not enough nutrients. A breastfeeding mother needs extra nutrients to function and give to baby, and when these are not present, milk supply can drop, and a mother may need to turn to formula, even though they are eating plenty of calories. Of course calorie consumption can have an affect on milk supply, but most mothers have stored plenty of fat and water during pregnancy to provide plenty of milk for baby. BUT, some nutrients need to be digested and absorbed into the blood stream to nourish mama and baby. Obtaining enough nutrients can be difficult as a new mother, which is why we created Milk Dust as a solution to nourishment and milk supply. Make sure to use code: LACTATION for 10% off your first order!
This is a fairly rare case for many breastfeeding mamas, but if a new mother is training for a marathon or very intense fitness competition, the stress and extensive training could decrease oxytocin levels and reduce milk supply.
Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration:
Hydration and electrolyte balance directly affect milk supply because breast milk is largely water. In order to produce enough breast milk, your hydration levels need to be normal so there is enough extra liquid to pump into your breasts. If you electrolytes are off, taking some potassium and magnesium can really help (which are also in Milk Dust!).
Most mothers want to avoid anything that may harm their milk supply. Even though the herbs mentioned have no scientific backing, some may feel it is better to just be safe and avoid them all together. Some mothers are more sensitive to herbs than others, so even though you may only consume a tiny bit, your body may have a larger reaction. It is important to remember to take care of yourself by properly nourishing your body to ensure you can support another living life.
This is a lean, green machine of a smoothie that will really help you make progress on your weight loss goals, while never affecting your milk supply. You can boost your milk supply, while also shedding pounds with this smoothie as your breakfast.
This lactation smoothie is full of nutrients, not calories:
Many lactation smoothies out there are very high in calories, which if milk supply is your goal, then great. But many mamas are working really hard to lose the extra baby weight, and their goals can quickly be put aside for fear of losing their milk supply. Not with our Milk Dust lactation protein powder and this smoothie recipe. Because spinach is the bulk of your smoothie, you are basically eating very few calories, but completely nourishing your body.
By eating lots of nutrients, your body can safely use stored fat as energy:
Milk Dust uses a unique lactation-boosting herb blend to boost milk supply:
You can count on Milk Dust to protect your milk supply because if offer essential nutrients, adequate protein and amazing galactagogues! These include herbs like fenugreek, fennel seed, milk thistle, red raspberry leaf and Turmeric. These have all been proven both in scientific studies and anecdotally to increase milk supply in many mothers. With this extra boost, and the sugar-craving busting minerals like chromium, you can count on Milk Dust to help you lose the weight, not your milk. Milk Dust also tastes great, and you can read some of the reviews so far on what mamas are saying!
This weight loss lactation smoothie is full of superfoods, boosts milk supply and helps with postpartum weight loss! Perfect for your breastfeeding diet.
Keyword: breastfeeding protein shake, increase milk supply, lactatoin smoothie
3-4hand fullsfresh spinach (this is up to you!)the more spinach the better, but also the more spinach taste.
1scoopMilk Dustyou can add a little extra to mask spinach if necessary
2-4wholestrawberries (frozen of fresh)
Blend everything together and drink right away!
This is a high-volume, nutrient-dense smoothie that is low in calories. It will fill you up on all the essential vitamin and minerals you need, without any extra calories!
This lactation recipe will have you feeling super full! Being full on nutrients and protein, with as nice, sweet tastes is almost too good to be true! Keep in mind that is a big, spinach smoothie. The more spinach you put in, the more nutrients you get, but also the more spinach-taste you get. If you need to add more strawberries, milk or Milk Dust to help with that, feel free to do so!
Supplements can increase milk supply, support nutritional health, improve mood and balance hormones in a breastfeeding mama. Many mamas are concerned about the safety of supplements while breastfeeding, and unsure of whether they should take them or not.
Supplements during breastfeeding can be used for a wide variety of reasons:
They can increase milk supply
Replenish nutrients and vitamins
Improve mood and cognitive function
Help provide baby with essential nutrients
Improve healing after birth
Increase energy levels without caffeine
What makes a supplement breastfeeding-friendly?
Not all supplements are safe for breastfeeding. Supplements with chemicals, artificial sweeteners, GMOS, fillers and synthetic vitamins should be avoided. This is because these harmful ingredients can pass through the breast milk to baby, and aren’t good for mama either.
Safe supplements for breastfeeding include natural herbs, non-synthetic and active vitamins like the L-Methylfolate (folate) and Methylcobalamin (vitamin B12) used in Milk Dust. Using organic fruits and veggies, natural herbs and natural sweeteners are essential for a breastfeeding supplement. If you aren’t sure if a supplement is safe, make sure to just ask your doctor quick. Bring the nutrition facts/ label to your doctor at your next visit, or put in a call to the nurse to have them ask the doctor that day. This is the safest way to ensure a supplement is right for you and your baby, based on your medical history.
Reasons you may want to take supplements while breastfeeding:
Low Milk Supply:
If you are suffering a low milk supply (and are positive it is truly a low supply), supplements can be life savers. Herbs like fenugreek and specific milk-boosting blends are an example of good supplements for breastfeeding mamas. These herbs are natural, free of chemicals, and have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Herbs can improve lactation overall, and offer great support for mamas struggling to product enough milk.
Supplements can help support vitamin deficiencies that can cause low moods and a lack of energy. Many mamas are low in nutrients after birth because of baby’s need during the last month of pregnancy, loss of blood during birth, fatigue and exhaustion, stress and more. Grabbing a supplement to replenish your body promotes overall better function. Specifically, Folate deficiencies have been connected with depression, as well as Vitamin B12 and zinc (which we have in Milk Dust yay!). A nourished body is a happy body, and a happy body helps promote a happy mind! Specifically Iron, Vitamin B12, protein, healthy carbohydrates and Adrenal support are wonderful for improving moods postpartum.
Nutritional supplements can help balance blood sugar and diminish some of those cravings by giving the body the nutrients it needs. If your blood sugar is spiking and dropping, there will be moments in the day where you feel completely exhausted, have headaches, and just want to go to sleep. By giving your body super foods, like the Chlorella and Spirulina we have in Milk Dust, you are giving your body a nutrient boost, rather than a caffeine boost to help combat the fatigue.
When our nutrition is out of wack, our hormones get out of wack. Hormonal function is essential to breastfeeding success because of the role they play in triggering lactation. Your body needs your estrogen levels to drop for lactation to occur. If there are nutrient deficiencies, your hormones may not work properly. Additional herbs like Red Raspberry Leaf have been shown to help support hormonal function in women.
Better Healing After Birth:
Nutrients enable your cells to function, and your body to repair itself from the trauma of birthing a baby. Whether you have a C-section or vaginal delivery, your body is going to need to do some repair work. Vitamin C, protein, Iron, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids…these are all very helpful for healing and repair post pregnancy.
Supplements during breastfeeding can do a lot of good, but they should never replace a healthy, whole foods diet:
Breastfeeding supplements should not replace a whole, natural foods diet. Nothing should be used instead of actually eating fruits, veggies, lean protein, healthy carbohydrates and healthy fats. Your body needs to chew, digest and absorb most of the nutrients from real food. This is why we suggest combining Milk Dust with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. You get the best of both worlds in one delicious smoothie.
Milk Dust is an amazing, nutritious supplement that can replace one meal if blended with whole foods.
As a busy, new mommy, eating all the fruits and veggies is hard. Fighting sugar cravings is hard. Prepping healthy meals with toddlers is almost impossible. During these short years of craziness, Milk Dust is here to help you nourish your body and support your lifestyle. We add the extra boost to encourage you, support your breastfeeding journey, and help you thrive with your new baby.
Milk Dust is a safe breastfeeding supplement that acts as a best friend and support system for nourishing both you and baby!
Galactagogue foods can be like magic when it comes to increasing milk supply naturally. Breastfeeding mamas can dramatically change their health and milk supply by choosing the right foods for a breastfeeding diet that promotes healthy lactation and breast milk production.
Not all galactagogue foods are created equal. Some are more potent than others, which is why we created a list of the top foods to increase milk supply.
What constitutes a galactagogue food?
You might be wondering what makes a food a galactagogue. Basically, if a food has nutrient properties to promote lactation and balance hormonal function for breast feeding – this food is considered a galactagogue. Many healthy fruits and veggies could be considered helpful for milk supply because of their nutrient power, but they aren’t the most potent in terms of increasing milk supply. Let’s get into the foods that will have the best impact on your milk supply, so your breastfeeding diet will increase your supply naturally.
The top galactagogue foods that help increase milk supply:
Salmon (vitamin B12):
Vitamin B12 is essential for brain development in babies, as well as vitamin B9 (folate). Salmon is rich in B vitamins, and one superfood you can’t get enough of while breastfeeding. Vitamin B12 has been shown to help ward off postpartum depression. Lactating mothers need more vitamin B 12 to support growing baby, and if there isn’t enough available for mother and baby, this could affect milk supply. Here is a peer-reviewed study to prove this:
Three mothers in India with vitamin B12 deficiency due to very low dietary intake were given a single 50 mcg intramuscular injection of vitamin B12. Their milk levels increased from 40 to 70 pmol/L (54 to 95 ng/L) prior to the dose to around 1,000 pmol/L (1,350 ng/L) later that same day or the next day.
Of course, salmon isn’t always easy to have on the menu, so Milk Dust offers both Vitamin B 12 and Vitamin B 9 (live versions, L-Methylfolate and Methylcobalamin) to help mothers ensure they are getting adequate amounts both for baby and for milk supply needs.
Zinc is really important during lactation because it is the only source of Zinc for breastfed babies. Babies need zinc to support their immune system and protect them from disease. Zinc levels have now been associated with poor lactation. One study even suggests that women with abnormally low supplies in Zinc can have trouble breastfeeding. This study was done at Penn State, and the researchers determined that low levels of Zinc are correlated with poor lactation in mothers.
They suggest that by identifying women with abnormally low levels of zinc in breast milk, they may be able to more quickly recognize mothers who might have trouble breast-feeding.
Functioning and health of the breasts are really important to proper lactation, and a mother’s body does not have enough of the proper nutrients, it can’t function as it should. Health for both mama and baby are so important, which is why we included pumpkin seeds in our formula as well. Pumpkin seeds are easy to add on top of smoothies, into oatmeal and salads as well, making them a super rich, nutrient-dense food that can be eaten daily.
Sweet Potatoes (potassium) + Sea Salt (sodium):
Electrolyte balance, specifically referring to potassium and sodium is essential for proper lactation. Sweet potatoes are high in potassium, as well as bananas, broccoli, spinach and other fruits. Filling your plate with fruits and vegetables at every snack or meal can play a tremendous role in ensuring your body has enough potassium. There was a study done that specifically looked at the correlation of potassium and ability to breastfeed. There were multiple factors to be considered in this specific study, but they did determine that lower levels of potassium correlated to a shortened/stopping breastfeeding early.
We report that, among exclusively breastfeeding mothers at day 7 postpartum, those with milk supply concerns were significantly more likely to exhibit biochemical evidence of less progress toward mature lactation (elevated ratio of breast milk sodium to potassium concentration). Furthermore, an elevated ratio of breast milk sodium to potassium concentration was predictive of early weaning.
Lactation involves electrolytes and balanced water levels in the body for muscles to function properly. Both potassium and sodium are really important to the functioning of our bodies in general, so it is no wonder these minerals are correlated with breastfeeding success. Milk Dust offers super fruits and veggies in our formula to help add to these needs. You can also blend smoothies with cooked sweet potato for a creamy consistency that packs a lot of nutrient power for milk supply.
Strawberries (vitamin C):
Strawberries are a fun food to eat because they taste great alone, or blended in smoothies! They are full of vitamin C, which is important for the absorption of iron, as well as healing, cell function, cell repair and more. Studies are starting to show the link to vitamin C and milk supply. One study in particular looked at vitamin C supplementation during lactation, and found that those who took higher doses of vitamin C secreted more urine. They suggest that the secretion of liquid from vitamin C could help with the secretion of breast milk. Another study confirms that the more fruits and veggie consumed, the better the vitamin C levels in the breast milk. This is why we suggest blending our Milk Dust with fresh or frozen fruits and veggies. It is a quick and easy way to get in the essential nutrients! There are very limited studies on vitamin C in particular, but because of the studies done to illustrate the importance of vitamin C for baby, and the fact that vitamin C levels increase in breast milk according to fruit and vegetable intake, we believe it can correlate to milk supply as well.
These are your top galactagogue foods that will help you increase your milk supply.
Your breastfeeding diet is one of the biggest factors in how your body functions, feels and feeds your baby. What you put in is literally what you get out in terms of milk supply and nutrient quality. Putting in nutrients directly puts nutrients to baby.
Milk Dust is created to partner with these nutrient rich foods. It is a supplement you can add to your diet to help you with nourishing yourself, as well as increasing your milk supply using nutrients and herbs. Proper nourishment is also the foundation to weight loss after baby, which is important as well. Extra weight throws off your hormones, and can affect milk supply as well.
Many mamas think their milk supply is dropping, without understanding the true signs of a low, or decreasing milk supply. There are false signs, which may lead new mommies to believe they aren’t producing enough milk, and then there are true signs that your breast milk quantity is dwindling.
What are some false signs of a low milk supply?
Here are some signs that can lead a breastfeeding mother to believe her milk supply is dropping, but are actually perfectly normal.
An empty/deflated breast(s)
Baby wanting more feedings
Baby waking to feed at night
Fussy feeds (baby seems dissatisfied)
Pumping less after a feeding
Baby wanting a bottle even after breast feeding
Fussy baby in the evening
No feeling of a let down
Many of these are perfectly normal phases of breastfeeding a new born. Babies often want to nurse more for comfort, go through growth spurts, have tummy issues (very normal for new babies), or like to have a bottle after breastfeeding out of habit. These experiences do not mean your milk supply is dropping, or you aren’t producing enough milk supply. There are only a few ways to really tell if you have a low milk supply.
The true signs your milk supply is low, or decreasing:
Baby isn’t gaining enough weight:
This is one of the biggest signs you may not be producing enough milk, or your supply has decreased. Many babies lose weight right after birth, as it takes time for colostrum and milk to kick in. The early weight loss is normal, but your pediatrician will be able to tell you when your baby should be gaining weight, and how much they should be gaining. It is really important that if you think your baby isn’t gaining enough weight, to check with your pediatrician and set some weight goals for follow ups. There are some great tips at the end of this post to help you encourage your body to produce more milk if you really are experiencing a low milk supply, and this has been confirmed by your pediatrician.
This is another sign of a low milk supply, that you can see at home. Babies who eat a lot also have a lot of stinky diapers. This can be a bit more confusing than the weight-gain sign because it is also normal for some babies to go longer between dirty diapers as their digestive system matures. Overall, dirty diapers and blow outs are a healthy sign your baby is getting lots to eat. If you have any underlying intuition that your baby doesn’t have enough dirty diapers, and seems to be gaining weight very slowly, or not at all, check with your pediatrician right away.
These are the two major signs of low milk supply, that can actually be monitored and quantified. It may seem too simple with only two major signs, but it should also leave some peace of mind. Let’s get into some quick and easy ways you can increase your milk supply quickly, to help satisfy baby.
Quick and easy ways to increase milk supply fast:
There is a lot of information out there on ways to increase your milk supply. These are the methods that have been proven to work, and confirmed by science, studies and professionals (lactation consultants, nurses and doulas).
Galactagogues are herbs and foods used to increase milk supply. There is a lot of anecdotal studies proving various herbs to be helpful for milk supply, as well as centuries of Eastern medicine using these herbs for lactation support that give us reason to believe specific herbs are very helpful for milk supply. Our lactation blend in Milk Dust, is based of real research and science backing specific combinations of herbs for the best result. Fenugreek has shown some side effects in new mothers, mainly because it is given in high-doses solely as the one herb to increase supply. Of course in higher doses, and more popularity is going to bring more side effects. We have an in-depth post on the studies proving fenugreek as a powerful herb for milk supply, particularly when combined with other galactagogues like feenel, milk thistle, red raspberry leaf, tumeric and brewer’s yeast. Studies show that combining these herbs, rather than high doses of one herb, seem to produce the best results in increasing milk supply.
Eat nutrient-dense foods:
Depending on your current diet, you may need to add in more nutrient-dense foods, so your body has more nutrients to give to baby. Eating the right foods, rather than enough calories is something many mothers aren’t educated on after birth. Women’s bodies are designed to used stored fat and nutrients in the diet to produce breast milk. If there is a lack of quality, lactation-supporting foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, good fats and high-quality carbs like quinoa and oatmeal, then your body may signal this with a lack of production. Protein smoothies made with Milk Dust are a powerful combination of real foods and nutrients, combined with superfoods in Milk Dust like chlorella, spirulina and spinach, galactagogues and other essential vitamins and minerals postpartum mothers need is a great way to infuse your body with the building blocks of a healthy milk supply.
This is one of the fastest ways to increase your milk supply because your body creates milk based on demand. If you have baby demand more, your body will be encouraged to make more. Keeping a lot of skin-to-skin contact throughout the day and during feedings will keep the pheromones working properly to signal the hormone levels and Oxytocin production needed for lactation. Try wearing baby as much as possible and letting baby sleep on your chest to encourage the chemical connection.
Massage your breasts while feeding:
You can help your baby express more milk by adding in some massage and compression during feedings. This will encourage your breasts to express more milk, then want to replenish that milk by creating more. Baby might get large gulps at first, with some needed burping after, but it will help get more milk out during feeds.
Pump one side, while baby feeds the other:
Many mamas with a low milk supply despise pumping because the amount is so little and depressing. By pumping one side while baby is feeding the other, you are taking advantage of baby’s natural ability to stimulate your let down better than a machine. By emptying one breast, you can use baby on the emptied breast to encourage more milk. At the next feeding, switch the side you pump. Always have baby feed on the side that already pumped. This is a really helpful way to get more milk stored, while also encouraging more milk volume. It will take a lot of the hard work of pumping out of the situation, and babies have an incredibly ability to get your body to product more milk, better than a machine can.
If you are experiencing these signs of low milk supply, these tricks will really help.
Many mamas have had success using our protein powder because it is so much more than a milk-boosting protein powder. It nourishes postpartum mothers properly, to help nourish baby, reduce sugar cravings and aid in weight loss. If you are struggling with eating healthy, getting in the nourishment you need and milk supply, Milk Dust is here to help!
Fenugreek has been used for centuries to increase milk supply in lactating mothers. As more and more mothers are taking fenutreek to help with milk supply, there are of course more and more opinions being spread stating that fenugreek is either amazing, or detrimental to milk supply. Because there are more anecdotal experiences being proclaimed, many mamas are left unsure of whether fenugreek can be helpful or harmful for milk supply.
We are going to dive into the science and studies behind fenugreek for breastfeeding mamas.
We hope this will help you make a decision on whether it will be beneficial for you to increase milk supply. The key is to know the research out there, know your body, and know your baby. Research is limited to specific individuals, so applying the research to your body can me different results. That is a fact of being human, but overall, research and education is the foundation of making an informed decision for both you and baby.
What is the truth on Fenugreek for milk supply?
Research on Fenugreek and other galactagogue herbs like Milk Thistle, Brewer’s Yeast and Fennel is limited. As time goes on, more studies will be published to help us understand how these galactagogues work, and why they’ve been used for so many years to help with lactation. Research shows us that fenugreek, and other galactagogues can help some women increase lactation.
What is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a plant with white flowers containing seeds, which are the seeds we use in teas, powders and other herbal remedies. Fenugreek has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese to treat various ailments. Fenugreek is often used as a spice or thickening agent in dishes and recipes. It has a warm, nutty flavor that is often in Indian dishes. The fenugreek seeds themselves have fiber, protein, iron, magnesium and maganese, which are all great for breastfeeding mothers.
Fenugreek can increase milk supply in certain individuals:
A recent publication, updated just a few months ago in January of 2019, looked at various studies done to attempt to conclude whether fenugreek increases milk supply. According to this publication, many of the mothers who took ONLY Fenugreek, did not see quantifiable increases in milk volume, though these studies have many issues that make them non-conclusive. What is interesting though, in one study where moms were given a unique tea called Still-Tea, experienced a quantifiable increase in milk supply compared to mothers taking an apple tea. Here is what the study stated,
Sixty-six postpartum mothers (22 in each of 3 groups) with no concurrent illnesses were randomly assigned to receive an herbal tea, placebo, or nothing after delivering healthy, fullterm infants. Mothers in the herbal tea group received at least 3 cups daily of 200 mL of Still Tea (Humana-Istanbul, Turkey; containing hibiscus 2.6 grams, fennel extract 200 mg, fennel oil 20 mg, rooibos 200 mg, verbena [vervain] 200 mg, raspberry leaves 200 mg, fenugreek 100 mg, goat’s rue 100 mg, and, vitamin C 500 mg per 100 grams, per manufacturer’s web site November 2011). A similar-looking apple tea was used as the placebo. All women were followed by the same nurse and pediatrician who were blinded to what treatment the mothers received. Mothers who received the Still Tea produced more breastmilk with an electric breast pump on the third day postpartum than mothers in the other groups. The infants in the Still Tea group had a lower maximum weight loss, and they regained their birth weights sooner than those in the placebo or no treatment arms. No long-term outcome data were collected.
These findings tell us that Fenugreek, in combination with other galactagogues like Fennel, Raspberry Leaf and Goat’s Rue can work really well. What we’ve concluded with our reviews of research is that small amounts of Fenugreek, combined with other galactagogues is the best way to go because it eliminates the likelihood of side effects from Fenugreek, but also utilizes its strengths.
Still, another finding in this publication talks about women who only took Fenugreek, and experienced higher milk volume. These women were from Thailand.
Fifty women in Thailand who were 1 month postpartum and exclusively breastfeeding were randomized to receive either a placebo or capsules containing fenugreek seed 200 mg, turmeric 100 mg and ginger 120 mg (Fenucaps; Herbal Acharn’s Home Co. Ltd., Thailand) 3 times daily for 4 weeks. Participants pumped milk on 2 days at 0, 2 and 4 weeks of the study. The average milk volumes increased by 49% at 2 weeks and 103% at 4 weeks among participants receiving the active product. The macronutrient composition of the milk did not change in either group over the 4-week period. Growth of infants was not reported.
Fenugreek itself can help with milk supply depending on your specific metabolism and genetic make up. Even UT Southwester Medical Center suggests supplements with fenugreek to help you increase your milk supply once it drops. Here’s what Healthline states as the bottom line in reviewing various studies:
BOTTOM LINE:The available studies support using fenugreek to increase breast milk production and the rate of weight gain in newborn babies.
Some women in studies report significant changes in milk supply, while others seem to notice more side effects. This is just like any other herb, supplement or drug. There are always side effects and the option your body may not respond the same as someone else’s.
What is interesting about these studies, is none of them reported side effects for baby.
Some mother’s report that they are gassy, or baby seems more gassy after Fenugreek, but none of the studies in this peer reviewed publication have any findings to prove this to be true.
A study in mothers of preterm infants less than 31 weeks gestation compared the use of fenugreek (product and dosage not stated) 3 capsules 3 times daily for 21 days to placebo. No adverse effects were noted in the infants given the breastmilk.
This should give mothers peace of mind in trying fenugreek as a solution to increase milk supply. In general, no side effects have been found in babies from mother’s taking fenugreek. Of course there can be special cases as with any dietary supplement.
Side effects of fenugreek in nursing mothers:
Various side effects have been reported in nursing mothers while taking fenugreek, but they are all anecdotal. These side effects include:
Maple syrup smell
These reported side effects have not been studied and reported as scientifically proven. We don’t know what else was going on in diets, lifestyle and hormonal changes that could have also contributed to these experiences. Because fenugreek is a seed, those who have sensitivities to any type of nut or legumes may be more prone to side effects from fenugreek.
Can fenugreek harm your milk supply?
This is a more difficult question to answer because there isn’t much to go off of. There are more studies and peer-reviewed, professional publications on how milk supply either wasn’t affected, or increased. Many mothers report their milk supply increases, but they experience side effects, or their baby’s seem fussy and gassy, so they stop. If a mother takes a supplement with fenugreek, and still experiences a low milk supply, or a drop in supply, it likely isn’t the fenugreek, but a slow dip in supply for other reasons.
Most of the research for lactation-boosting herbs includes fenugreek blended with other herbs. Because we rely on doctors and scientists to tell us what works, this is part of our decision to have a small amount of fenugreek in our formula.
Most of the side effects experienced with fenugreek are due to high doses of pure fenugreek. By blending smaller amounts of various galactagogue herbs, we can reduce the probability of side effects, yet still benefit for the amazing properties in these herbs. Fenugreek has many other benefits besides increasing milk supply.
Because of these other benefits, and the continued use and recommendation of fenugreek for milk supply, we believe it is an important part of our lactation-herb blend to help new mothers maintain a healthy milk supply, while also safely losing weight with natural herbs, minerals and nourishment.
There you have the science behind fenugreek, and its affects on milk supply for breastfeeding mothers!