Lots of new mothers wonder how to increase breast milk when they’re breastfeeding their babies.
According to the NHS, there are many signs that your baby is getting enough breast milk, including seeing and hearing them swallowing, their cheeks staying rounded as they suck, coming off the breast on their own at the end of a feed, and seeming relaxed and content when they’re done.
Babies who are feeding well will typically gain weight after the first two weeks (during which time losing some of their birth weight is normal), and appear happy, healthy and satisfied.
If you’re concerned that you’re not producing enough breast milk, or that your baby is not feeding properly, it’s important to consult your midwife or health visitor – but there are some natural ways you can attempt to increase your breast milk supply as well.
Here are some of the most successful (and surprising!) ideas that mums of the internet have tried…
Ben and Jerry’s Oat of This Swirled
Hey, who wouldn’t want an excuse to eat extra ice cream? According to parenting site Romper, this particular tub of Ben and Jerry’s has been dubbed something of a hero for breastfeeding mums.
The key ingredient in this brown sugar and cinnamon flavoured blend is oats, which the site explains ‘contain saponins, which along with many other benefits, are thought to increase the milk making hormones lactating moms produce.’ Of course, ice cream alone is unlikely to be the complete answer to how to increase breast milk, but if we’re honest, we wouldn’t hate eating a bowlful to give it a go…
Starbucks Pink Drink
Users on the Facebook page Milky Mamas brought this magical drink to public attention when one user said she’s produced so much milk after consuming them that she’d leaked through to her T-shirt.
The beverage is a blend of a mixture of coconut milk and Starbucks’ Strawberry Acai Refreshers, and the women of Milky Mamas aren’t the only women who are convinced. Mum Stephanie Lester told Lifehacker that on her second day of drinking the Pink Drink, ‘milk was literally spraying for almost a minute and that has never happened before’.
Figuring out how to increase breast milk can be tricky, but with lactation cookies on your side, at least it can also be tasty! Many mums swear by these biscuits, made with milk-boosting ingredients such as oats, coconut oil or nut butters, for giving them a breastfeeding boost.
Recipes vary, and it’s worth playing around and finding one that suits your tastes. There are also some online companies who are supply ready-made lactation cookies, if you’re not a dab hand in the kitchen.
Fenugreek has long been a traditional remedy that is thought to increase breast milk supplies – and although research has debated its true effectiveness, it certainly won’t hurt to give it a try.
Fenugreek supplements are available, but you can also enjoy it in a range of recipes, or even brewed as a tea. Other aromatic ingredients such as fennel, cumin and sesame are also believed to be beneficial for breastfeeding mothers.
Okay, so this probably doesn’t sound like your dream tipple, but garlic milk is another drink that’s said to assist with lactation. Methods typically involve grating cloves of the stuff into water and milk, sweetening with honey or sugar to taste, and then boiling and straining.
Not sure you can face garlic in liquid form? Eating it may also be effective – one study, for instance, showed that babies of mums who ate garlic fed for longer than those who didn’t.
However, other parents have reported that eating too much can lead to a colicky baby, so it’s up to you (and your little one!) to decide if it’s a helpful solution in your circumstances.