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Breast-feeding and continued milk supply
Increasing milk supply while breastfeeding
Often times, before a woman leaves the hospital after having a baby, she is asked whether or not she will be breast-feeding. If she states her choice to breast-feed, a lactation consultant might be sent to speak with her.
Often, the lactation consultant will warn of not going more than 5-7 days without breast-feeding or pumping milk because going such a length of time will cause the milk to dry up. It is a little known fact that is very important to learn and remember when you have a baby.
Managing sufficient milk supply for your baby is dependent upon many factors. The more you breast-feed, the more milk you will produce. As mentioned in one of my other articles/hubs, "How long should a breast-feeding session last?", mothers who breast-feed primarily and do not use a formula supplement will typically breast-feed 8-12 times per day.
If you choose to do less, 3-5 times per day might be reasonable with formula supplementation.
If you are working and want to provide breast-milk for your baby, it will be important to express your milk with a breast pump that offers a similar suction action to a baby feeding.
In the first days after giving birth, a woman will have colostrum to provide for her baby. It will contain the nutrients needed for her baby until her milk flows more heavily.
Not just for continued milk supply but for increased milk supply, a woman should eat and drink frequently and nutritiously. Meals should not be skipped and she should drink cow's milk regularly. Perhaps 1-3 glasses of milk per day is suggested. It is often said that it takes milk for a mother to make milk.
While you will not want to give your baby cow's milk before six months of age, you will need to drink a lot of cow milk yourself in order to produce enough breast-milk for your baby.
It will be important to drink a lot of fluids in general. Remember to drink lots of water. Taking in fluids will help you to produce the fluid that you need to. Breast-feeding can also dehydrate you so always stay well hydrated. Of course, you will need to eat nutritiously too.
If you are a stay at home mom, you might not find as much of a need to use a breast pump, but you might still want to express your milk with one from time to time in order to have a better sense of how much milk you yield.
Your ob gyn might also offer you pharmaceuticals to increase your milk supply. Some women are not proponents of this and look for the most natural way to continue and increase their milk supply. If you think a prescription for increasing your milk supply might be a choice for you, then you can discuss it with your doctor.