Dealing with low breast milk supply and what worked to increase it

Dealing with low breast milk supply and what worked to increase it

Low breast milk supply is something you can’t plan for. Of course, Moms that choose to breastfeed hope that they’ll produce enough milk to feed their baby. But it’s not that simple.

When I was triple feeding Lennox (more on that here) I was producing TONS of breast milk. So much so, that I didn’t worry about it at all and I was able to start freezing extra milk. It was after I transitioned away from triple feeding that my issues began. Triple feeding was not sustainable for me due to how time consuming it is. When we moved away from that, my supply dramatically dropped. We attempted to split feeding for Lennox- doing half bottles and have nursing. Spoiler: it didn’t work.

And boy, was it stressful for me as a first time Mom! I was scared of supplementing with formula feedings due to the concern that it could possible give Lennox digestion issues and disrupt his already poor sleeping habits. His little body wasn’t used to processing anything but breast milk. I’m not sure if this was a valid concern or not, but it was a concern. Because of this, I went nuts. I tried any and everything to increase my milk supply so that I didn’t have to introduce formula. I scoured Instagram posts, KellyMom.com blog posts, asked friends for advice and more. Here’s a rundown of everything I tried.

Here’s what I tried to increase my breast milk supply:

  • I switched to exclusive pumping, since Lennox wasn’t emptying my breasts when he ate and he preferred the bottle.
  • I made sure to pump 8x per 24 hours for optimal number of stimulation
  • I tried Calcium & Magnesium supplements to combat my menstrual cycle
  • I tried lactation cookies and lactation pancakes
  • I tried a new pump- the Baby Buddha so I could be more mobile (battery powered)
  • I tried Shatavari herbal supplements 4x per day
  • I tried pumping for 5 minutes extra after my milk had stopped expressing
  • I tried de-stressing
  • I tried breast massage
  • I tried Power Pumping (pumping 3x in one hour to mimic cluster feeding)
  • I tried not watching the milk express, to lower milk production anxiety

So what worked?

Exclusive pumping. I’m being 100% honest here. What worked for me was a combination of breast massage, introducing formula, de-stressing and taking a vacation. I started massaging my breasts during pumping to make sure all the milk was emptying out at every pump. And as soon as I let myself start supplementing with formula (once a day) my stress level dropped. I let go. My milk also improved after I had a weekend away from the baby– contributing to lower stress in the form of a much-needed distraction.

Fast forward to today and Lennox is 7.5 months old. I’m still exclusively pumping and making enough milk to feed Lennox. I supplement with formula occasionally due to dips in milk producing during my menstrual cycle and occasional stress. And guess what? Lennox is totally fine with mixing breast milk and formula feedings. He likes the taste of both milks and we haven’t noticed any stomach or sleeping issues as a result!

Being a Mom is tough work. I hope this blog provides inspiration and comfort for others struggling with breast milk production.

What helped improve your milk supply? I’d love to hear your stories and tips in the comments below!

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