Posts tagged lactation
Boost your milk supply with lactation bites!

Different foods can help you increase your milk supply

If you’re breastfeeding, you have 100% wondered how you could make more milk and chances are in your search you have come across a wide variety of recipes for Lactation Cookies.  Do they work? They certainly can.  Are they good for you?  It depends.

Lactation cookies can include a wide variety of ingredients - just watch out for the sugar!

Lactation cookies can include a wide variety of ingredients - just watch out for the sugar!

Too much of a good thing

The problem with most lactation cookies is simple:  they are cookies!  Most lactation cookies are full of sugar & fat and don’t have a whole lot of nutritional value which is really what your focus should be throughout your postpartum period, especially if you are breastfeeding.  That being said, for many people they really do work wonders for boosting supply so, what is a lactating person to do?! Make a healthy, nutrient packed, galactagogue loaded Lactation Bites, of course!

Nutritious and delicious Lactation Bites

The key ingredient in most lactation boosting recipes you will see is brewer’s yeast, and for good reason. Brewer’s yeast is loaded with good things and is a big favourite for many people when it comes to boosting milk supply.  The only draw back to brewer’s yeast is that it is VERY potent and bitter tasting and is not easily masked in a recipe.  For these Lactation Bites, we decided to work with the malty taste that comes with the brewer’s yeast.  Who doesn't love a warm and spicy ginger cookie flavour?!

Brewer’s yeast is used to make beer, and people have taken it as a dietary supplement for many years. Brewer’s yeast is made from a fungus, and it is highly nutritious. It contains iron, protein, and B vitamins, as well as chromium, selenium and other trace minerals. Brewer’s yeast is also believed to be a galactagogue, used by nursing mothers to help make more breast milk.
— Donna Murray RN, BSN
Roll your Lactation Bites in cocoa, shredded coconut, crushed peanuts, or whatever you like!

Roll your Lactation Bites in cocoa, shredded coconut, crushed peanuts, or whatever you like!

How to make Lactation Bites

Ingredients

2 cups of cooked chick peas: low in fat, high in protein, and packed full of nutrients chick peas make a great base

1/2 cup apricot paste – apricots are high in fibre, vitamin A & C and have been shown to help increase the production of prolactin, one of the key hormones for the production of milk

1/2 cup milled flax: loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids!

1/2 cup oat flour: Nutritious and comforting, oats are great for a lactating mother.

1/4 cup of maple syrup: a natural alternative to processed sugars

1 tsp  Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

2 tbsp pf fresh grated Gingergood for just about everything, ginger has long been relied upon by pregnant women and nursing mothers

2-4 tbsp of brewer’s yeast: iron, protein, B vitamins, and much more, brewer’s yeast is a powerhouse! (NOTE: add to taste but be mindful that this yeast has been known to make people gassy)

1-2 tbsp water if needed to get the right consistency

How to whip'em up!

In a blender, purée 1 cup of dried apricots (organic if possible) with 1/3 cup warm water to create a thick paste.  In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until the mixture forms a loose ball.  Roll into balls, 1 tbsp at a time.  For extra crunch, you can roll the balls in toasted coconut or crushed nuts or even a little cocoa powder!  Whatever you like – dream big!  Store them in an air-tight container or in freezer bags and enjoy a couple each day with a large glass of water or Mother’s Milk tea.

Pro Tip!!  Eating these as a snacks in the early afternoon (as well as loading up on water) can help get you through that early evening supply dip that most people run into sometime between 3pm and 7pm.  

Pump more and stress less in 4 simple steps

Chances are, if you are breastfeeding you will want or need to pump milk at some point. There are many, many reasons a person might choose to/need to pump breast milk. Some of the most common reasons we hear are:

  • to increase milk supply
  • to alleviate engorgement
  • to allow dad/partner to participate in feeding
  • to re-claim some "me time" (aka. to go out solo)
  • because baby cannot/will not latch
  • because of nipple damage due to breastfeeding
  • because you are getting ready to go back to work/school
Peterborough doulas Hello Baby pumping

No matter what your reason is for pumping, many people find it stressful.  When you feed your baby at the breast, you cannot count the ounces.  It is an exercise in trust -- trust in your body and trust in your baby.  But when you pump, you put numbers on the process and that is where the feelings of "not enough" often creep in.

Stress is the enemy.

If you are making breast milk, stress is the enemy.  Lactation works on a supply and demand system - the more your baby (or pump) demands (ie. the more milk that is drained from your breasts), the more supply your body will make. Making milk (lactation) also requires hormones - the hormone prolactin signals our bodies to make milk and the hormone oxytocin lets the milk flow.    Adrenaline and cortisol (hormones released when we are stressed) get in the way of this process by triggering our basic fight, flight, or freeze response.

So here is the trouble with pumping.  

A person with perfectly adequate milk supply try to squeeze in a pumping session (which can be stressful) and find that they can "only" pump a few ounces (or maybe less) and this causes them stress.  As they sit and wait for that next "let down", they begin to get impatient or anxious. Doubt begins to creep in... and with doubt is more stress.  Stress blocks the release of oxytocin... less oxytocin released means less milk is flowing... less milk flowing gives us more stress... more stress blocks oxytocin... Well, you see where I am going.

Pump more. Stress Less.

It is because of this vicious cycle that it is so important to create a POSITIVE pumping routine.  Making time and space for yourself to pump comfortably and confidently is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful pumping session.  Your pump is not your baby but there are ways that you can create a routine that will make it easier for you to get your milk flowing.

1. Learn EVERYTHING about your breast pump.

You have the tools, but do you know how to use them?  Pumps all work on the same basic principles but often have different parts and settings.  Read the manual and ask other pumping parents in your community for advice and reviews.  The Peterborough Mom-to-Mom Breastfeeding Support group on Facebook is a wonderful resource for breastfeeding and pumping parents in our area! Hello, Baby! also offers a fabulous workshop called Pumping 101 to help you make pumping a positive and productive experience.  Check it out!

2. Set up a comfy pumping station.

Set up a pumping station in a quiet and pleasant corner of your home (or office) and place a picture (or two… or more!) of your baby in a visible spot.  Going back to the same spot time and again to pump will send a cue to your body and mind that it is time to produce and express milk.  You will also be able to set up and clean up more quickly because your pump and attachments will be handy.

When you are choosing your pumping spot, try and pick somewhere that does not leave you staring at the dirty dishes in the sink, your lofty laundry pile, or other sources of stress.  Maybe you have a spot where you can look out a window?  Maybe you would like to pump in your child’s nursery?

3. Use your senses

Let's be honest, pumping is not anyone's favourite hobby but it CAN be a positive experience if you engage your senses.  Your pump might be a machine, but you certainly are not!  Take the time to create the time and space you need to pump in comfort.

Sight. Sound. Taste. Smell.  What is your strongest sense?  If looking at photos or videos of your babe gives you the feels, then that might be just the ticket to help get your milk flowing while you pump.  If you are a sucker for a hot drink, or a sweet & salty snack then add a little box of goodies to your pumping station.  Do whatever makes you feel comfortable and easy.

4. Use your hands

Did you think we forgot about touch?  No way! We saved the best for last. Use your hands when you pump.  Gently massage your breasts before starting your pumping session and use hands-on techniques to maximize output while you are expressing milk.  Some moms will even lightly run a comb or baby brush over their breasts while pumping to simulate the feeling of little baby fingers stroking the sensitive breast tissue.  Check out this amazing video on hands-on pumping techniques and hand expression for more information:

Pump on, Mamas.  Pump on.

Pumping doesn't have to be a chore.  It can be a little oasis of productivity and self-care in the middle of a busy baby-filled day.  Making time and space for yourself is important!  We would love to see your pumping stations on Instagram.  Find us online @hellobabyptbo

Take more, make more! 3 simple steps to breastfeeding success

Start off on the right foot!

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural process but often comes with its fair share of bumps in the road.  It takes time to learn how to nurse your baby, bring in and keep your milk supply, and to care for your lactating breasts.  The good news is there are three simple steps you can take to get started on the right foot.

Take more, make more. 3 simple steps to breastfeeding success

Step 1: Feed your baby EARLY.

What does this mean?  Well, two things.  First, start feeding your baby at the breast as soon as you are able after birth.  Second, learn and respond to your baby's hunger cues sooner rather than later.  Need a bit more detail?  No problem!

Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin

The benefits of skin-to-skin bonding have been well documented and include everything from the regulation of the baby's heartbeat to his/her breathing.  It encourages a release of oxytocin in the mother which helps both with uterine healing as well as lactation.  It is comforting for both parent and child and is the obvious way to encourage that baby to take in that first few mouthfuls of colostrum.  Breastfeeding depends on a system of supply and demand so the sooner you start telling your body to make milk by nursing or pumping, the more milk it will make!

Skin to Skin and breastfeeding

How does your baby tell you that she is hungry?

Feeding early can also mean feeding your baby when they first start to show you feeding cues. Rooting, putting their hands to their mouths or faces, looking around, or even tugging at their ears can all indicate that your baby is getting ready for a feed.  Learning your baby's cues can take a little time but once you do, you can respond to baby before they become agitated and begin to cry.  This is important because a calm baby is more likely to latch on well, to feed effectively, and is less likely to swallow large puffs of air which can cause gas pains in their wee tummies!

How does a baby tell you they are hungry

Step 2: Feed your baby OFTEN.

Newborns eat A LOT.  Like... all the time (or so it may feel).  The good news is, that is very normal!  The not so good news is that it can be very tiring for a nursing parent and they WILL need your support or the support of a postpartum doula. If you are planning on breastfeeding, plan ahead to make sure you will have the help you need to heal and rest, too!

The more you take, the more you make!

You may have heard of feeding on demand.  Basically this means feeding your baby whenever they show signs of hunger as opposed to feeding them on a schedule. As we mentioned above breast milk production relies on a system of supply and demand. Feeding your baby as often as he/she wants, especially in the first several weeks of your breastfeeding relationship, is the best way to make sure your baby and your body are working together to get your milk supply sorted out.

Step 3: Feed your baby EFFECTIVELY.

So, remember our little mantra "The more you take, the more you make"?  Feeding your baby often is helpful but for the supply and demand system to work your baby needs to be draining as much milk from your breasts as possible every time he/she feeds. 

Photo by   Matt + Steph   2015

Photo by Matt + Steph 2015

Most babies are boob monsters.

Many newborns will happily stay at the breast for hours at a time if you let them.  We would bet some sweet sweet cash that if your baby is doing this, they are not eating the whole time; they are probably "comfort nursing" or "flutter sucking".  In short - the breast is their "happy place" and they just want to hang out and hang on!  

Learning how to tell the difference between a baby who is eating and a baby who is just hanging out will help you:

  • make sure that baby is getting enough to eat
  • establish a strong milk supply
  • take some time for yourself when you need it

How do I know that baby is eating effectively?

An effectively feeding baby has a good latch, a strong and rhythmic suck pattern (suck, suck, swallow), and will *pause* with a nice big chin dip when they swallow.  You can see milk in or on his/her mouth when the latch is broken and generally an actively feeding baby will have open eyes and may be holding on to your breast while he/she feeds.

Planning ahead to make breastfeeding a success

Before baby comes, check your community for resources, lactation consultants, breastfeeding education classes and support groups.  If you find that you have a gap in your support network, consider hiring a postpartum doula.  The physical, emotional, and practical support that a postpartum doula offers can make meeting the goal of feeding EARLY, feeding OFTEN, and feeding EFFECTIVELY a reality.