I CAN NOT believe I have been breastfeeding for a year. It was always a goal of mine to breastfeed for at least one year, but I honestly had doubts that I would make it this far. But I am so happy I did. The breastfeeding journey is a long one that is filled with its own set of challenges, but in the end I would not have changed a thing. Along the way I experienced my share of dips in my milk supply but thanks to a few handy tricks and tips I was able to stay calm and breastfeed baby.
Here are 5 tips and tricks I have learned through the way that helped me breastfeed over the last year.
This is clearly the most known tip, especially since breast milk is about 90% water. As I draw closer to my one year mark, I find my supply decreasing when I am not hydrated. My daily water intake goal is a gallon (some days I reach my goal, others I don't). I also try and add foods that have high water content, such as hard boiled eggs, soup and fruit, to my diet. Lastly, whenever you sit down to pump or feed baby, make sure you have a glass of water nearby. Its important to replenish the water that is leaving your body, your supply skin and lips will thank you!
2. Power Pump
I utilized power pumping most when I was getting ready to head back into the classroom, it helps to increase your milk supply because it mimics cluster feeding and helps empty your breast faster. When power pumping (usually once RJ would go to bed) I would set aside an hour dedicated to this art.
Here's how I did it:
Pump for 20 minutes
take a 10 minute water break
hop back on and pump for another 10 minutes
restroom break for 10 minutes
pump for another 10 minutes.
I know its a lot to do along with your regular schedule feedings, but I swear after a day or two of power pumping I also saw an increase in my milk supply.
3. Use a HAAKA
I went the first month or two without one of the key tools to breastfeeding- the Haakaa Silicone Breast pump . Each time I would power pump I would pull out my pump and use it. But the moment I got my hands on the Haakaa silicone breast pump- it was game over. Each feeding, I would breastfeed RJ on one side and then attach my Haakaa on the other side. When he was done nursing, I’d remove the Haakaa and freeze the milk that was in it. It helps to increase supply because it allowed for me to express (hand free!) while also feeding, like a less intense version of power pumping.
Ok, now I know what you're thinking- but hear me out. I found that whenever I get stress my body tenses up and we all know breastfeeding can be stressful, especially the first few days. When I was stressed and tensed up, it was as though all of the milk would get stuck, my let down would be trickles. However, the moment I took a deep breath in and out the milk would POUR down. So, whenever you go to feed or pump, before you start take a deep breath, sit back and watch the milk COME DOWN.
5. Eat Oatmeal
So much of breastfeeding has to do with how mom is feeling and what shes drinking, so its a nobrainer that what mom is eating plays a major role as well. I have always loved oatmeal so when I was told by my family in-house lactation nurse (shout out Asheia) that this yummy breakfast meal can help with production supply I made this a staple in my daily meal plan. I've eaten every type of oatmeal (steel cut, instant, regular oats) and have seen it consistently help with my milk production.
Breastfeeding has been such a magical journey. The human body is truly amazing.