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How do I boost my milk production?

Marya - posted on 08/19/2009 ( 66 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 4 mo old and I have had mastitus twice and my milk has deplenished dramaticly. I have even gone as far as setting the alarm and pumping every 1-2 hours trying to stimulate it to no availe. I have also tried Mother tea. This is my last child unfortunatly and I am not willing to give this little bit I have up. I only get approx 10-12 oz of a day for her and only have 270 mfrozen ounces left. Does anyone have any other ideas or is my blissful days over?:( The doctor tells me I am still lucky to have any anter getting the mastitus twice but I am enjoying feeding her. I have had to suppliment from about 6 weeks old and she actually prefers the formula over my milk and does not spit it up as much, but I love nursing. Some of my family makes me feel guilty about this too so it has been weighing very heavily on my mind. Any andvise would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Marya

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Sara - posted on 08/21/2009

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medical ways to increase supply: Domperidone, reglan

Herbal ways to increase supply: fenugreek (increase slowly until you smell like maple syrup), most effective when paired with blessed thistle. Take one tab of blessed thistle per 3 tabs of fenugreek. You can also take "More milk plus" from motherlove, and even try goat's rue. Just read up on side effects.

Dietary ways to increase supply: oatmeal, garlic, chlorophyl drinks (such as wheatgrass juice or "greens")

Manual ways to increase supply: Breast compressions, frequent feeding schedules of offering the breast every 30 minutes to an hour across the day and every 3-4 hours across the night.

Some things to read:
How to help & hurt milk supply: http://custommademilk.wordpress.com/2008...

Supply and Demand (how breasts work): http://custommademilk.wordpress.com/2009...

Pumping as a diagnosis of low supply: http://custommademilk.wordpress.com/2009...

Rosemary - posted on 08/20/2009

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Marya,

I was reading some of the other posts and I just want to encourage you. Even if you have to supplement with formula, your baby is still getting the benifits of breastmilk. You know if your milk is low, but don't stress as this will only make the problem worse. Enjoy the time you spend with the little one and don't be too hard on yourself. I have a friend who breastfeeds part of the time and uses formula part of the time. Every little bit helps, so just keep trying and know that you are being a great Mommy!

Natacha - posted on 08/22/2009

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Hi, I'm a busy mom so didn't get a chance to read all the above, but saw your question and wanted to give you my suggestions. I've nursed all 6 of my children without much problems, but with one of them (my second) I had a hard time having enough milk partly due to her not nursing enough. The milk comes in demand, so the more you nurse, the more you'll produce. To 'boost' my milk I tried what other moms suggested to me at the time: drink black beer with canned tuna - at the same time! the combination boosts your milk right away. Whenever I happened to be 'low' I did that and saw a remarkable difference right away. It has to be black beer though (malt beer) or it won't have the desired effect. I didn't give her anything else like formula, yogurt, etc... only breast milk (she just never really liked food in general - still doesn't at 8 1/2 years old). Also, I never had any success pumping, so my hat goes off to you if it works for you. Hope this helps some :)

Jennifer - posted on 08/20/2009

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If you can find a doctor that will prescribe Domperidone that will fix you right up. I have used it for both of my sons after six months. The FDA hasn't approved its use in the US but it is used commonly in other countries. I maintain my milk supply on a quarter of the prescribed dose.

66 Comments

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Kaija - posted on 04/17/2016

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You can increase your breast milk production by drinking healthy nursing tea.

Gina - posted on 08/28/2009

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I agree, I use fenugreek when my supply is low during menstruation. I never got a break from my period, can you believe that?! And I always breastfed on demand.

Stephanie - posted on 08/28/2009

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nurse nurse nurse: even with mastitus.. I know it hurts i have had it also... but the more you nurse, the more milk you make:)

Marcy - posted on 08/27/2009

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You have to pump more often and drink more lots of liquids. When you breasts are full it makes milk slower and when it is empty it makes milk faster. Check out this website it has a lot of breastfeeding tips. http://www.lansinoh.com/breastfeeding

Best of luck. Don't give up. As the saying goes breastfed is the best fed. I honestly believe that. You should try to strictly breastfeed at least 6mths then you can start to give formula or cereal.

Heidi - posted on 08/24/2009

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it can be so hard when family members are not supportive of what you know is the best for you and your baby! contact the la leche league to find support in your area for breastfeeding. they are amazingly helpful! here is their information:

http://www.llli.org/
telephone
voice: 1+847-519-7730
1+800-LALECHE (525-3243)
fax: 1+847-969-0460
order department: 1+847-519-9585
TTY: 1+847-592-7570

good luck, mama!

Tina - posted on 08/24/2009

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I agree with Donna: feeding your LO directly on the breast is better than pumping - if you can. Pumping will only empty your breasts while having your little one latched on - even if they're not eating - will help with milk supply. The enzymes in her mouth will help your body figure out there's a baby attached that needs to eat. Let your LO suckle as much as she'd like. The "let down" I get from having my little guy feed is MUCH stronger when he feeds in comparison to when I pump. It's just not the same. I've also heard that breastfeeding while you doze helps with "let down". I leak all over the place when I feed my LO in bed - I've always got to be prepared with a face cloth to catch the overflow from the non-feeding breast :)



Having said all that......you do what's best for you and your daughter. Every ounce of breastmilk you provide your baby is beneficial. But don't miss out on enjoying every moment with her by stressing out over breastfeeding.

Rhonda - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting Lisa:



Quoting Topaz:

oh.. the only drawback to taking Fenugreek is you will start to smell like maple syrup!!! (if you like maple syrup, youre good though!) :) good luck again!





Topaz, or anyone else who has taken Fenugreek:






 






I have been considering the Fenugreek myself, but keep hearing about the maple syrup smell. How bad is it?? I don't want to smell like breakfast to some old man, or anyone else for that matter! Thanks!






If you don't smell like maple syrup, then you are not getting enough to be of any benefit (ie in boosting your milk). The smell is not overpowering and is quite nice in my opinion. I also use "Lactate Support" by Gaia herbs - it is a combination of about 5 herbs that help natural lactation. This combination has been beneficial to me. Good luck. Also, try not to stress...this is the worst thing you c an do that negatively affects your milk supply. However, this much easier said than done - been there, done that! Good luck! 

[deleted account]

Feed, feed, feed! Your baby is better at increasing your supply than a pump. I had supply issues too and fed my son more frequently. It didn't take long before I was making more. I've not taken any supplements of any kind, but I did also have to adjust my diet. NO caffeine of any kind and increased my servings of fresh fruit. Oh, and also drink heaps more water, but it sounds like you've already done that.
Don't be discouraged by insensitive family members. You are doing what's best for your baby... and what better start to life than to breastfeed!
Good luck!

Danielle - posted on 08/23/2009

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l found a glass of carrot juice in mixed juice varieties is great for milk production but too much can turn your baby a nice tanned colour!

Natasha - posted on 08/23/2009

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I am having the same problem at the moment and taking a nursing tea by Weleda and it seems to be increasing.

I discovered the best treatment for really bad mastitis is ultrasound therapy where the effected area is heated breaking up the milk in blocked ducts. Takes a few treatments - I had 3 in a row and then 3 more every alternate day. My mastitis was really bad giving me a fever, the chills and the sweats. I was also given antibiotics which resulted in nipple thrush and then in cracked and bled. Despite having nipple trauma, I was stil advised to feed on it but just couldn't - I ended up expressing.

[deleted account]

Fenugreek worked wonders for me! It kept my supply up while I was apart from my daughter for 5 days. (And I didn't smell at all like maple syrup.)

Kristen - posted on 08/22/2009

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I just realized that the family guilty thing meant that they were making you feel guilty for suplementing...oops srry anyway on THAT note...dont feel guilty about that at all!!! breastfeeding is WONDERFUL for her but whats more important is that she happy and healthy and you maintain your sanity. even if you do wind up suplementing for the rest of the time, thats ok.any breastmilk at all does wonders and I've never seen anything wrong with suplementing formula...in fact...formula has a better supply of Vitamin D my doctor has me put my daughter on vitamin D drops because of this.

Kristen - posted on 08/22/2009

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I had two cases of mastitus too in the first 5 weeks but it cleared up and I was able to go back to full breastfeeding so it is possible. I was doing the pumping all the time to increase my production, but when I called the La Leche representative in my area she informed me of a few small things that really helped. She told me that 75% of the milk a baby gets at a feeding is produced AT THAT FEEDING and that the baby is FAR better at getting the milk out and encouraging milk production then the pump....also drinking LOTS and LOTS of water helps greatly and making sure you eat plenty so that you have the right amount of nutrients in your body to make the milk. Youre body will never make bad milk just less if you dont have the right nutrients. Anyway, I just went back to breasfeeding her whenever she was hungry and the first few days were tougher because she wanted to eat more often but her frequent feedings increased my milk production enough to get her off of formula entirely.



as for your family, breastfeeding is a personal choice. dont let them decide for you or pressure you into stopping. Its the greatest gift you can give to your baby because of the MANY health benefits and the bonding is WONDERFUL for the two of you. Just keep reminding yourself how good breastfeeding is for both you and your baby whenever they talk down about it to you. and btw 10-12 oz a day with a pump is awesome! if i try to pump im lucky to get 4 oz a day :P and yet I breastfeed my daughter entirely and shes plenty chubby and healthy.

Melissa - posted on 08/22/2009

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I am a mom of 5 and have nursed them all. I hve never experienced mastitus. I do know that when we do to much to soon or stop drinking like I should that my milk production will diminish. My best suggestion would be drink plenty of water and juice never let your cup be empty. If you are feeling stressed or really busy that can affect our milk production too. Good luck.

A fellow breast feeding mom, Missy

CHANDRA - posted on 08/22/2009

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Prescription Reglan (generic is metoclopramide). Strength is usually 10 mg and taken 30 minutes prior to eating. If you take it closer to your meals or during, it losses effectiveness. Must be an empty stomach. 3 times a day for maximum help. It will actually make men lactate, that's how it was discovered. I used it. I work full time and was only able to pump 2 or 3 oz at a time twice a day. I increased to 6 oz! great stuff! You HAVE to stay well hydrated!!!

Melanie - posted on 08/22/2009

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My son is 10 months old next week and for a while in the beginning I was worried about keeping my milk supply up too. Then at 2 months he got sick and didnt eat well so my supply did go down. Eating corn, oatmeal, and a malted drink helped me ALOT. I drank three glasses of milk with malt mix in it a day and had oatmeal for breakfast everyday for a week. It got to the point that I was pumping because I was producing more milk than he could eat in a day. I don't pump anymore but I still eat oatmeal for breakfast at least three days a week. I was told by the lactating consultant at the hospital he was born that any nonalcoholic beer helps too because of the malt content. And take a few big deep breaths and relax. None of this is gonna do you any good if you cant relax.

Sarah - posted on 08/22/2009

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Fenugreek capsules work wonders, you can get them at any health food sotre. Also try non-alcoholic beer the yeast in them helps production

Vicki - posted on 08/21/2009

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Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle when taken together can be more effective than Fenugreek alone. Take enought Fenugreek until you smell like maple syrup - then you know you are taking enough. Smell is not strong or offensive! Mother's Milk tea can also help (contains Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle herbs). Eating oatmeal, drinking a beer daily (barley and hops help milk supply) and drinking LOTS of water all increase milk production. Good Luck!

Cinthya - posted on 08/21/2009

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my pediatrician told me to take fenugreek. take 12 capsules at once the the next day take two pills three times a day, you could also take blessed thistle with the fenugreek too. It really helped me.

[deleted account]

I had a drop in production after a flu. The fenugreek helped (I didn't notice any smell). Beer and popcorn helps, too! 1 beer isn't going to hurt your baby.

Melinda - posted on 08/21/2009

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Hi there. I've had mastitus twice myself. It is no fun. My son is over a year and we're still nursing. The thing I attribute to a strong supply is lots of lying down when nursing. I do it at night and once during the day. It helped a lot. Pumping doesn't seem to stimulate nearly enough. If you can, have your daughter nurse more. It should start to kick in when you two get on a bit of a schedule. Best of luck to you!!

Desiree - posted on 08/21/2009

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Try Fenugreek, you can take up to 16 tablets a day. Start out taking 2 at a time 4 times a day and gradually increase.

Sara - posted on 08/21/2009

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Hm. What makes you think that you have low supply? Low supply is VERY SELDOM seen when a mom has mastitis.. Mastitis is usually caused by high supply. From what you're talking about with regard to your pumping abilities.. I'd say that you have GOOD supply and that it's finally stabilizing to a point where you won't keep getting reoccurring mastitis. I could only ever pump 1/4th to one ounce, yet I exclusively breastfed until 6 months, and am still breastfeeding my two year old. I also pumped to donate (1/4th of an ounce to one ounce at a time) when my son was 18-22 months old, and managed to pump 300 ounces and donate to three women in this time. :)

Pump output is meaningless for determination of supply.

Supplementing with formula, however WILL kill your supply since breastfeeding is supply and demand. The less your baby nurses, the less your breasts will make.

Maria - posted on 08/21/2009

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When I had my twins i was told because of my PCOS that i wouldnt be able to breastfeed them, i wanted to so bad and a friend told me about a herb that i bought, its by Mothersbest, it has finugreek in another herb in it also, it said to take a few each day and i took them for only 2 days and im telling you, i could have fed the county, i pumped every 3 hrs and got at least 20 oz at a time. In the first 9 months i had mastitis 7 times, let me tell you it was rough, but the drs said it was where i was making so much milk, but it was worth it, i loved feeding them and its so much better for them. If you want i can find the bottle and get you the website to order some of the herb, just let me know @ mdjjames@blomand.net. Good Luck

Oana - posted on 08/21/2009

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Marya, 2 gallons of water is just too much and it can even hinder your milk supply. I think that 1 gallon (3.5 litres of water) is more than enough.

Too much water washes down the minerals from your body. Please, speak to a dr or do a bit of research online if you're not convinced.



I've been having issues with supply since my girl was 3 months (she's now 6 months) but supplementing with formula was never an option because she's intolerant to it so I had to make sure I increase my milk supply to feed her. So, I took fenugreek capsules (12 per day), shatavari capsules (9 per day), drank Mother's Milk Helper tea, ate oatmeal. I helped to the point I managed to even build a supply in the freezer. We have started solids so it's less pressure on the milk, although I still want to make sure she eats at least 20 oz of milk per day.



Good luck with feeding breastmilk to your baby. I hope you find something that works for you. And don't let anyone put you down. You are the mother and you know what's best for you and your bay. The most important think for your baby to thrive is for you to feel good so keep your spirits up and forget about the rest.



Oana

Marya - posted on 08/21/2009

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Thasnk you Nicole I have been looking at it that way too. My little girl is in the 90% area for weight so I know I am doing right by her too.

Nicole - posted on 08/20/2009

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Marya, I will just add my two cents and say that I too have had the same problem with my low production and tried breastfeeding more often and pumping, without success. I just started taking Fenugreek and it has done a world of wonders. It took about 4 days of 2 pills, 3x/day for it to kick in. The price is reasonable and the maple syrup smell is worth it, although it is definitely strange! I was also told to have beer to increase the supply with the pills...near bear I should say...the hops is supposed to kick the pills into overdrive. Thank you for opening up about the guilt you feel your family puts upon you. I have felt guilt for deciding to mix breastfeeding with formula to supplement but realized that the guilt mostly was from society and some in my circle. My baby is perfectly healthy at this point and is growing at the rate he should be. I put an enormous amount of guilt on myself when I couldn't get my baby to latch in the beginning, but now realize that a child's mother needs to be sane in order to take care of business...adding the formula equaled sanity. Good luck with everything and be confident and proud of whatever decision you decide upon!

[deleted account]

FENUGREEK FENUGREEK FENUGREEK!!!!!



I had to take this with both of my children and within 12-24 hours, my supply was back up and then some (drink TONS of water as well). Keep pumping, too. If all else fails, you tried everything and did your best so don't beat yourself up if you have to transition to formula!!! Good luck!

Marya - posted on 08/20/2009

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the reason I know it is low is from the day i brought her home she ate until she was full and I could then pump off 4-6 oz. She brought in so much milk beofre I even left the hospital it almost scared me. Then the first time I had Mastitus it could only pump off 1-1.5 oz after she ate. Then the second time I get less than an ounce. I start with her feeding and after about 20 minutes she gets mad and keeps pulling out on me until the nipple falls out of her mouth and she gets mad a can not even squeez any out with my fingers and my breast feel empty. So then I have to give her a formula bottle of 5 oz to fill her. Also I overfilled my nursing bra at the begining and now I do not even fill it out anymore and had to go to my normal everyday bra. I also have no leakage at all any more and when I was full until she was 10 weeks old. Thanks

Jenny - posted on 08/20/2009

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I have heard/read what Svetlana wrote too about nursing between 3 and 6am. One other thought occurred to me too...How do you "know" your milk supply is low? Sometimes, especially in the States for some reason, moms mistake themselves as having low milk supply. Remember that breast milk is digested faster than formula so baby will get hungrier faster, hence nurse more, hence supply will go up. Good luck.

Krystal - posted on 08/20/2009

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The answer is.....OATMEAL and if you do not like oatmeal (I don't), I found the oatmeal to go bars are fabulous and they work as well. This is the only way I can eat the oatmeal in a bar and it truly increases your milk supply :)

[deleted account]

You can try Fenugreek from the health food shop in capsule form. It is know to approximately double milk supply. I know women who swear by it. It may take a few days to kick in but well worth a try and will not harm you baby in any way. Keep up the pumping too it is helping even though you think it may not be.



Check out Joyous birth web forum there is lots of help there fro bfing mums that have low or interrupted supply issues.



Hugs and well done for still trying to keep going, many others would quit and go to a bottle of formula xxxxx

Svetlana - posted on 08/20/2009

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Drink warm water right before you need to nurse, pump right after the baby finished nursing- pump both breasts. As they say "More demend - more supply". Also as strange as it sounds if you nurse from 3am to 6 am you produce more of the hormone that is responsible for milk production.

Jackie - posted on 08/20/2009

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Drink lots of water. I did have to sub formula with my last one but if you pump when you are not around and keep your production up you should be ok. But it is different with every woman. The lactation lady at the hospital told me that when you drink water it helps ALOT!

Teresa - posted on 08/20/2009

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nipple stimulation, let your husband help:) Also, rest,,when i overdid it my milk went WAY down. Spend time with baby,,cuddling lets your body know there is a munchkin that is hungry. The supplements are probably why the milk decreased, but you can maintain where you are at for several years.

Marya - posted on 08/20/2009

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Thanks I have been letting her use me as a pacifer. It jsut seems so strange with my son when i went back to work i dried up and it did not bother me because my goal has always been 6 weeks at least for the antiboties and he was a very healthy baby and i only fed him 3 mo. But since my daughter is my last :( I want to at least try untill she is 9mo to a year and now that I stay home it is so much easier and I have no stress that I had with working out of the home, The next key is to find a job that I can do from home part ime:) Thanks for the advise I really appreciate it. God bless you and your family.

Rosemary - posted on 08/19/2009

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Marya,

Don't give up. My only advise is to nurse as often and as long as you can. Even if your breast is empty, let your little one suckle as long as you can stand it. I have found that pumping does not stimulate milk production like nursing does. I wish you luck and God bless you for trying so hard to give your baby the best.

Jenny - posted on 08/19/2009

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Nurse skin to skin with your baby as much as possible. Nurse laying down and nap along side baby or co-sleep/night nurse if you can. Get plenty of rest. Good luck and good for you for being so committed to doing the best for your baby.

Stacey - posted on 08/19/2009

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I wish I had heard about the good fats sooner. I love ice cream! Now I can tell my husband that its for the baby. Awesome!

Becky - posted on 08/19/2009

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oatmeal everyday always worked for me and more water. breast massage while nursing also helped.

Christina - posted on 08/19/2009

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Saw my lactation consultant today because my supply is low due to hypothyriodism and she told me about the fenugreek. She also said to avoid anything with mint, parsley or sage in it. She told me to up my fat (good fats like avacado, milk, ice cream, meat etc) intake and fiber intake. Oatmeal and a beer was another suggestion. I will let you know what I choose and how it goes....

Lia - posted on 08/19/2009

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I've had mastitis problems too, and have had a decreased supply a couple of times. When I was ready to go at it again, I would feed on the regular schedule (not super human enough to go every hour), but I would use one side, and pump the other side for 10 minutes. B/c I had fed first, there would be letdown, which made pumping easier. A couple of times I did this simulataneously, but not often. I also enjoyed a beer or two each evening after feeding/pumping was done. I ate oatmeal too those days, just in case it was true. After 2 days of pumping every feed, my milk was always back up to where it was before.

Stacey - posted on 08/19/2009

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My lactation consultant said the yeast in beer was good for milk production. I have a light beer about once a week and I can tell the difference the next day. It will not harm the baby. I have been beast-feeding my 6 month old exclusively (no supplements of formula) and enjoy it.

Brandi - posted on 08/19/2009

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I had this same problem with mastitis with my last child and asked the pediatician what I could do and she said Fenugreek, an herbal supplement. I tried it and I could feel the difference.

Alanna - posted on 08/19/2009

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I agree with Mandi, the BEST way to increase and maintain your milk supply is to nurse your baby more often. The baby is much more effective than the pump. I often worried about my milk supply because I desperately wanted to avoid supplementing with formula and so far so good. My daugther is 9 1/2 mths old. I'm not really sure how much I'm producing because I don't really pump much anymore, not that pumping would give an accurate guage since the baby is more efficient. However she must be getting enough because she certainly looks healthy. So don't stress about it too much. Just do what you can, drink lots of water, eat well and nurse often. If that's not good enough your doctor will let you know.

Marya - posted on 08/19/2009

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Thanks I dont feel guilty about brest feeding I do believe it is the best, It is just hard when you have a sister in law that makes coments like"formula stinks and I dont believe it" I dont think she understands that I do not have a choice right now. I mean she has to eat but I guess that is what you get from shallow minded people who think there crap dont stink. Thanks again

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