The first two weeks of a baby’s life are precious and wonderful and awesome…but they are also hard. Really hard. Dead tired, hormonal, overwhelmed hard. And nursing, one of those things that seems like it should be natural and easy and intuitive, can also be really hard. One of the common complaints is that there’s not enough milk. While the quantity of your milk supply is in part genetic, there are a few things you can do to shift the tide in your favor.
- Start nursing right away. I know it seems like initially your baby isn’t getting enough from your measly colostrum, but she is! Her stomach is the size of a marble those first few days, and colostrum is incredibly good for her. So let her nurse on demand, and hold off on formula unless your doctor recommends it (for jaundice or weight issues). Your body is only going to make as much milk as it thinks your baby needs, and by nursing frequently you’ll make more milk.
- Drink plenty of water and eat, eat, eat. In the midst of taking care of a new baby and the other kids it is so easy to forget to take care of yourself. But if you aren’t hydrated with plenty of calories (500-1000 extra per day) you won’t make as much milk as you could.
- Trust yourself and your baby. Nursing is harder than bottle feeding for the first 2 months (for most women, not all). But it is so much easier for the next 10. Your body will start to make enough, and your baby will start to latch. You just need a little time.
- There are a few medications/herbs that can help increase your supply. One or two of these is usually enough; you don’t need to do all of them:
- Mother’s Milk Tea. 3 cups a day.
- Fenugreek. 2 capsules three times a day.
- Blessed Thistle. 2 capsules three times a day.
- Reglan. I’m not a huge fan of this one because it’s a little bit of a “dirty” medication. There are rare side effects that can be bothersome.
- Domperidone. This is a medicine similar to Reglan, but without the side effects because it doesn’t cross the blood/brain barrier. It is not approved in the US, however. Talk to your OB about it.