Tips to stay healthy when breastfeeding
Contented Calf founder, Elena Cimelli offers her top tips on how to stay healthy and help you to increase your milk supply when breastfeeding.
A good basic knowledge of the process of breast milk production (lactogenesis) is always a very useful starting point. If you understand the mechanisms and triggers that can aid or prevent good milk supply and flow, it will put you in good stead for your nursing experience and will also help you to stay in control of your body.
2. Don't stress
Stress hormones can contribute to suppressing the production of the hormone Oxytocin, which governs the milk flow or 'let down'. Hunger and tiredness can induce stress, so it's therefore important to eat regularly throughout the day and take time to rest your body and mind.
3. Get support
Breastfeeding doesn't always come naturally. Sometimes it has to be learnt and perfected; particularly where it comes to latching. There's no need to struggle in silence, there are a wealth of support groups, books, videos and some very innovative products at your disposal to aid breastfeeding.
4. Feed frequently
You'll probably hear this time and again but the necessity to feed frequently is very real. During the initial weeks of nursing, regular feeding and milk removal helps increase the number of Prolactin receptor sites – the more receptors, the more Prolactin can flow into the milk producing cells, and this will lead to an increased capacity to produce milk.
5. Eat and drink well (especially lactogenic foods)
Not only can eating regularly help prevent the onset of stress, eating sufficient calories and getting an abundant supply of nutrients also helps the process of lactation. On average a mother will burn between 300-500 calories a day to produce milk. Lactogenic foods support milk production for multiple reasons. They contain substances that interact with and support the chemistry of lactation.