Are you having troubles with low milk supply?
So did I.
Nursing twins was a problem that I managed to solve.
Today I am going to show you exactly what I did to start my milk production after a scheduled C-section, boost my milk supply and nurse my twins to toddlerhood.
No special recipes or cooking required.
Breastfeeding is hard work
Before having children I thought nursing came naturally. That the milk would just appear right after giving birth and I would be all set.
Some women might get that lucky.
But in my case, I couldn’t be more wrong.
Not to mention the fact that the first three months of nursing, it is more of a painful than a sweet bonding experience.
A scheduled C-section
When a woman has a scheduled C-section it is a very different birth story than any other.
For this reason, my body was not ready to nurse the moment after birth! Of course not.
Through a scheduled C-section, the natural course of labor doesn’t occur. Therefore the whole response to the surgery is delayed. My breasts were not filling with colostrum, the baby’s first food.
The first things I did
- I used the hospital pump to stimulate the breast as much as possible.
- And I latched the babies often as well.
The first drops of milk came after about a week of doing this. A week!
My vigorous pumping schedule (about every two hours) finally paid off.
I remember very vividly running with the first droplets of milk on my finger to feed to my newborns.
The milk supply
We decided to bottle feed breastmilk so my husband could help with feedings.
For some strange reason, I thought I was going to be able to attach the breast pump and just pump away.
Once the boys needed more than 20ml, I started my daily fight with milk supply.
Turns out, I did not understand the mechanism behind milk production.
Exclusively pumping for me as a stay-at-home mom actually, didn’t make sense.
It created a whole array of extra work and chores and exhaustion.
Newborns take a while to drink their bottles, they need to be changed right after as well, the bottles need to be washed and sanitized. All this about eight times a day.
Plus all the pumping in between.
I was one exhausted mama, being awake more than I would sleep during the night (Another reason behind not producing enough milk!)
As my boys were growing, they needed more and more milk. But I didn’t seem to be keeping up with their demand. This really puzzled and frustrated me.
I ditched the pump
Finally, after 3 months I couldn’t do it any longer.
My good friend simply told me “Well, you don’t need to pump, you know?”
No, it never occurred to me, until then.
I didn’t realize how my method was actually hurting my milk production and that I was probably not going to make it much longer.
Until that day, we always had to supplement with formula. There never seemed to be enough milk.
The best breast pump in the world
I finally learned that the BEST breast pump in the world is the baby. What a discovery!
The way babies latch and drink is simply perfection itself.
They are smart and made to do this! They know how to pull the foremilk to fight thirst and the back milk to fight hunger.
A nursing baby stimulates the breast in a way that no pump is able to.
Plus your body is able to produce specific nutrients and vitamins that your baby needs. It is simply a miracle.
So new or expectant mom, if your circumstances allow, get rid of the pump and simply nurse.
Oats in everything
There is more than lactation cookies to help you with milk supply.
I only made them twice if I remember correctly.
However, my body was craving oatmeal and everything oat related like a desert longs for water. I could feel my milk supply go up every time I had a good oaty breakfast.
Add oats to your everyday diet and it will make a whole lot of difference. Eat cheerios, oatmeal, cookies, granola bars, even the baby oat cereal. It tasted so delicious at the time.
Especially make sure to do this every growth spurt your baby goes through.
Eat a lot
I was surprised about the amount of food my body required at the beginning.
I can honestly say, that during my early breastfeeding stages I ate a whole lot more than during the actual twin pregnancy.
Apparently, a nursing woman needs all the extra calories since her body is working overtime and burning them all through nursing.
So dear new mama, make sure you take care of your own eating needs as much as you take care of your baby’s.
Do NOT skip breakfast or forget lunch. You and your baby need it.
Breastfeeding tea & supplements
I also drank a whole lot of breastfeeding tea. One cup in the morning and another one during the day. There are not too many varieties here in the States, or at least I couldn’t find them. Except for the Mother’s Milk tea.
I also took Fenugreek supplement, recommended by La Leche League, several times a day. It has a specific smell to it, but I was going to do what it takes to make my milk supply go up. And it absolutely worked.
Breastfeeding is a process
I had this realization maybe about half a year into my nursing journey.
Breastfeeding is different than bottle feeding. It is not a one-time-8oz-feeding every two hours.
It is a process of demand and supply.
Feeding on demand is absolutely the best thing for a baby and your milk supply.
When a baby breastfeeds, she drinks as much as she needs at that moment, possibly snoozes off. But because we have no way of telling how much she drank, she might be hungry again in an hour. And that is normal.
Until she grows and learns to drink more at one sitting, that’s all you will be doing. It actually felt like I was nursing round the clock.
Chamomile instead of Lanolin
One more trick that I have for you.
Once I started exclusively nursing, my nipples would get sore A LOT.
Lanolin cream never seemed to ease the pain.
I was surprised because it is so widely recommended for sore nipples.
Instead, my sister recommended using chamomile tea. Yep, it works.
Right before bed, I would make a nice chamomile tea, dip some cotton rounds in it and leave it on the painful spot for about 15 minutes. The relief was amazing!
And it’s all natural. And dirt cheap.
One silly thing that helped me
Before I gave birth, I read a statistic in La Leche League book. It said that 97% of women are absolutely able to nurse. Unless they have a medical condition or are on a serious medication, nursing is possible.
True or not, this thought stuck with me throughout the hard times. It was very encouraging and uplifting.
Maybe even thanks to this one sentence I didn’t give up.
But I am happy to share with you that at 16 months my boys still get mama’s milk here and there. I never questioned my milk supply after I started exclusively nursing. And I never felt my boys were hungry or not having enough nutrition.
To sum it up
Six things that absolutely helped me to establish and boost my milk supply were:
- the nursing tea
- Fenugreek supplement
- eating oats
- eating regularly
- feeding on demand
- the actual nursing instead of pumping.
I know that it is not possible for every mom (working moms especially).
But you can definitely try to drink more tea, eat oatmeal for breakfast and take extra supplement few times a day to keep the milk flowing.
It is so worth it!
If you found my story helpful, make sure to share it with your mama friends.