How I Pump 150+ Ounces of Milk Each Week
Breastfeeding and pumping is a topic that can be talked about for hours as there are so many questions that can be asked, so many tips/tricks that work for different moms, problems that may arise and how to fix them, etc. Although, today I am going to talk about my milk supply and how I got it to be where it is today.
But, before I get started I want you to know that no two mamas are the same. What works for one mom may not work for the other. Although, if it makes your breastfeeding journey easier in any way then it may be worth giving a shot. And before I forget to say, breastfeeding is hard, both physically and emotionally, so you rock mama and don't let anyone tell you any different!
HOW I PUMP 150+ OUNCES OF MILK EACH WEEK
DRINK A LOT OF WATER
Water is important, but it is that much more important when you are breastfeeding. You ask why? Because breast milk is 88% of water, so if you are not drinking enough water throughout the day you will soon become dehydrated.
No, you do not need to drink an excessive amount of water, but you do need to make sure you are getting your fluids in each day. If you drink 6-8 glasses a day, you will be just fine. Personally, I try to shoot for half of my body weight. So for example, I weigh 130 pounds, so I try to drink at least 65 ounces of water each day.
I think the easiest way for me to do this is by getting a large water bottle that has the ounce marks on the side. I love this water bottle as it has the ounce marks, a fruit infuser (for those that don't necessary like to drink water and like fruit juice in your water), and a time marker (love this feature as it makes sure I am staying on track).
One of the best ways to increase your milk supply is by power pumping. Breast milk is pretty much a supply and demand concept. The more your baby demands to feed, the more your body will supply/produce. Although, you will be using your pump and tricking your body into thinking your baby is wanting to eat.
You power pump by waiting at least a half hour after nursing in order to begin pumping and then pump for at least 15-20 minutes. No, you may not express milk the entire time, but do not short yourself! Pump the ENTIRE 15-20 minutes! This is a way of telling your body to produce more. And if you don't your supply will not increase like you want it to. After you pump the 20 minutes, take a 10 minute break, pump again for 10 minutes, 10 minute break, then pump again for 10 minutes.
In order for power pumping to be effective, you need to do this at least once a day! And for even better results twice a day. If at first you aren't getting much, don't get discouraged, as this is training for your breasts. The more you do this, eventually the more you will get, I promise. Even if it is just a couple of ounces increase, that is a huge progress.
I recommend power pumping after you lay your baby down for a nap. As you will not be needing to tend to them all the time. Or when your significant other is home and able to help with the baby/kids. Oh, and if you don't have a hands free pumping bra, I highly highly recommend getting one. It makes pumping that much easier.
When To Pump
Morning- After the first feeding session in the morning, pump. You are usually fullest in the morning, and since your prolactin levels are higher at night, your supply is higher in the hours after that peak. Prolactin is the hormone that tells the body to make breast milk when a person is pregnant or breast-feeding. This was always my favorite session, as there was never a time when I wouldn't pump under 6-7 ounces, if I didn't pump in the middle of the night.
After A Shower- Taking a warm shower, or using a hot compress, can help your milk flow easier, so you spend less time trying to stimulate let-down.
When Engorged- A breast pump is definitely a woman's best friend when engorged. If you go out for date night or whatever it might be, pump when you return in order to replace the missed feeding. Doing this ensures that you will be a bottle ahead for the next time you are away from baby. If you are someone who gets engorged throughout the night, I would definitely schedule a time to pump at least once throughout the night as well. Once the demand for your milk decreases, your supply will begin to adjust and you will most likely not need to pump throughout the night.
Holy smokes, the Haakaa easily became one of my favorite breast feeding investments. There are several reasons to love the Haakaa Breast Pump: no toxic materials, hands free, one piece, discreet, no assembly, affordable, portable, easy to use, easy to clean, etc. Although, I personally did not use the Haakaa for my breast pump. Instead my favorite use of the Haakaa was to catch my letdown.
While nursing suction the Haakaa onto your non nursing breast and watch your letdown begin to fill the Haakaa. Each time I nursed the Haakaa would catch at least 1-2 ounces from my letdown. That alone was 75-100 ounces of extra milk a week that I was getting. I cannot tell you how mad I am at myself for not getting the Haakaa from the very beginning of my breastfeeding journey. Think of all that precious milk that soaked into my breast pad instead of into the Haakaa. You can find the Haakaa here for a very cheap price. Although, I recommend this version, as it comes with the suction base and the flower stopper, in order to make sure you don't spill any of your precious liquid gold.
Okay, so when it comes to food and supplements I do not take/eat all of these everyday. I switch up eating oatmeal and drinking the lactation smoothie for breakfast. I personally have never tried fenugreek and blessed thistle, but I know they work wonders for other moms, so I included them in this list. And the cookie mix that I talk about below is AMAZING!
Oatmeal- Oatmeal, oatmeal, oatmeal, and more oatmeal. Not only are oats known to increase lactation but they also are packed with fiber, which provides a boost in energy. Oatmeal may not be the most flavorful food out there, so I buy the packets that are fruit and cream flavor, which I really like. You can find a 48 count pack here for cheap. I eat a bowl of oatmeal most mornings and even possibly for a snack mid day and noticed my milk production increase drastically.
Brewer's Yeast- Brewer's yeast is known to tell your body to produce more milk. My favorite way to use brewer's yeast, found here, is by throwing some in a breakfast smoothie. This lactation smoothie has three milk boosting ingredients: oats, brewer's yeast, and flax seed.
Flax Seed- Flaxseed, found here, has phytoestrogens that can influence breast milk production. I use it by adding some into my breakfast smoothie (recipe linked above).
Apricots- Apricots are also known to help produce more milk. Throw some in your morning oatmeal for a double boost.
Fenugreek- It has been found that fenugreek can increase a nursing mother's milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after first taking the herb. You can either get in capsule form, seed form, or powder form.
Blessed Thistle- Blessed thistle, found here, is a herb breastfeeding mothers use to increase their supply of breast milk. It's most often taken in combination with fenugreek, but it's also a common ingredient found in commercially prepared supplements designed specifically for supporting milk production in breastfeeding women. You can also find a chocolate powder drink mix here that has both blessed thistle and fenugreek. Lactation Cookie Mix- This Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie mix really is the bee's knees. These cookies are absolutely delicious and it was hard for me to not eat six of them in one sitting or for a snack every hour. We all know breastfeeding moms are constantly hungry. Seriously, your milk supply will most likely double with these! Love, love, love this cookie mix and it most likely works so well because it contains oats, brewer's yeast, and flaxseed.
While I am here talking about foods/supplements to increase milk production, I also want to mention foods to steer away from, as they are known to decrease milk supply. Peppermint and spearmint can adversely affect milk supply. Sage is also known to negatively impact milk production. Lastly, it is a good idea to limit your caffeine and carbonated beverage intake.
After I implemented all of the strategies talked about above. I went from the milk supply in the first picture to the milk supply in the second picture within a week. I know they are not the greatest pictures to see, but you can tell by looking at the lines on the top of the box or the sides of the box.
If you found this post helpful, be sure to share/pin with all of your fellow breastfeeding mamas. And show Southern Dakota Mama some love on Instagram. I love connecting with other mamas on Instagram and following along with their story!
If you have tried any of the strategies/products talked about above, I would love to hear all about it in the comments. Also, if you have any additional tips on how you increased your milk supply, drop them in the comments. Like I said before, what works for one mom may not work for another, so any input is always appreciated!
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Great information, I am currently 6 months pregnant so this may be helpful for me in the future. Thanks !
You are very welcome! I definitely recommend putting the Haakaa on your baby registry! Let it catch your letdown instead of wasting all of that milk by letting it soak into your nursing pad.