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No Use Crying Over Low Milk Supply!

An Aussie Mum's Guide To Eco Friendly Babies: No Use Crying Over Low Milk Supply!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No Use Crying Over Low Milk Supply!

I've had so many people ask lately about low milk supply- though I've written about it before I thought I'd put it up again to make it easier to find, and provide a bit more info...

The main causes of low milk are stress, fatigue and lack of suckling (especially hard with babies in special care or after a c-section).  Getting adequate rest and trying not worry are things we tell new mums, but rarely do ourselves when it's our turn.  Even just getting someone to look after the baby for an hour in the afternoon while you lay down can help to refresh and rejuvenate you, while allowing your body to catch up on producing milk.

Nutrition is also highly important.  Caloric needs are higher when breast feeding than when pregnant, but it's at this time we find ourselves to busy to eat.  Try and have healthy, nutritionally dense snacks on hand all the time, and carry around a bottle of water- you need 2-3L every day.  Now is NOT the time to try cutting calories or carbs, or going on a low fat diet.  Making milk burns a lot of energy so you can afford the extra food- as long as it's not just 'empty' calories from refined foods and sweet drinks.

Foods to eat include pepitas (high in iron), flaxseeds (protein and good fats), lean meat (iron and protein), colourful veg (high in many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients), brewer's yeast (you don't eat it for the taste- it's great for breastmilk though!).  There is a recipe out there called 'lactation cookies'.  I've added it to the bottom of this post- I wanted to credit the genius who came up with it, but there are a million variations on the web so I couldn't track down the original!

There are also a few herbs (listed below) that help increase breast milk quantity or quality.  Though Fenugreek seems to be the most widely known, it's not, naturopathically speaking the best.  It's a digestive tonic and as it passes through the breast milk, some babies find it causes wind and griping pains.

Natural Galactagogues:
(A Galactagogue is a substance that increases lactation)
Blessed Thistle- the number one for increasing milk! Available in 500mg capsules from Nature's Sunshine.  Take up to 6-8 per day, spaced out as much as possible. 

Fenugreek- better known as a galactagogue but may cause wind pain in baby. There are plenty of 'breastfeeding formulas' available that contain Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle together, in brands such as Herbs of Gold and Nature's Sunshine.

Marshmallow- rather than increase the quantity, marshmallow will increase the quality and nutrition of breastmilk 
Shatavari- improves lactation and helps hormone balance.  Nourishing and toning for reproductive system and may help libido 
Nettle- can be taken as a tea to boost milk supply and replenish the blood- a really good one for just after the birth 

Teas such as Weleda Nursing Tea and Holle Organic Nursing Tea can also be really beneficial. 

Here's that recipe I mentioned earlier:

Lactation Cookies
1 cup butter or coconut oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 large eggs or egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups wholemeal flour (I substitute 1 cup flour for 1/2 cup protein powder.  You can use coconut flour the same way)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats (you can also use rolled barley, rye or triticale)
1 cup or more pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, almond flakes or anything else you can think of!
2 tablespoons (or more!) of brewers yeast.  

You can play around with the recipe, but make sure you include the flaxseed and brewers yeast!  The more nutrition you can pack in, the better they will work.


Preheat oven at 190 degrees C. Mix together 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal and water, set aside for 3-5 minutes. Cream (beat well) margarine and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mix well. Stir flaxseed mixture and add with vanilla to the margarine mix. Beat until blended. Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and chips. Add to margarine mixture. Stir in oats then chips. Scoop or drop onto baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment or silpat. The dough is a little crumbly, so it helps to use a scoop.

Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on size of cookies.


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