Low-supply is one of the most, if not the most, frustrating thing that can happen for a breastfeeding mom. At least it is for me, and I’ve dealt with various challenges on this breastfeeding roller coaster: oversupply, engorgement, leakage, plugged ducts, blebs, and those early days of cracked, bruised nipples (shudders). Yes, all of this sounds challenging, but none of it compares to the frustration and heartache that comes with low-supply. You want to nourish your baby, your baby is hungry and fussy, and yet your body just isn’t producing enough milk for whatever reason to satisfy your baby’s needs. It’s heart-wrenching. Fortunately, this has only happened to me twice during the past five months of our baby Chloe’s life, but when it has, I was able to push through it fairly quickly with the help of my pump and lactation supplements by Majka. Both were so helpful I wanted to share what worked for me here on the blog.
But first, what causes a dip in supply?
- Not eating enough
- Not drinking enough water/dehydration
- Not draining the breasts fully
- Feeding less (The baby intakes less milk)
Why my supply dipped
For me, the problem began when Chloe started sleeping longer stretches during the night. Instead of getting up to pump, I slept. It was glorious, until a few days later my milk severely dropped! I went from engorgement and leaking breasts to pumping barely an ounce or two. Sleeping longer through the night initiated the dip in supply, but then when Chloe would breastfeed and get extremely fussy that there wasn’t enough milk, I began supplementing with frozen milk I had stored. This only compounded the issue.
Typically, when milk supply dips, and it’s not due to an improper latch, many experts recommend feeding on demand as much as you can to bring the supply back up. The problem with this method, at least for me, is that if you have a frustrated baby who isn’t patient enough to continue sucking to trigger a second let-down of milk, it’s all too easy to turn to stored milk. Doing so unfortunately signals to the body – “oh, you don’t need to produce more milk because there is no demand aka a sucking baby.” And now you’re at a standstill. This is where pumping and supplements come in and can play a big role (at least they did for me) in bringing back up your milk supply.
Part 1: Pumping
There are a few different ways I use my pump to encourage an increase in milk supply when my milk has dipped:
- Pump after feeds: This ensures I drain my breasts completely, which signals to my body to produce more milk.
- Pump for longer: I pump for 15-20 minutes even if no milk is coming out, this again signals to the body to produce more milk.
- Pump more frequently: This is tricky for me. I have to time it right when I pump. If I add a pump session an hour before a feed time, there won’t be enough milk so usually I try to squeeze in an extra pump session at night after she goes to bed.
- Apply warm, moist heat to your breasts before pumping: My milk is very thick and I found using warm compresses helps to make pumping easier, along with taking Lecithin.
- Take a hot shower before pumping: Being relaxed is one of the best ways to get the most out of my pump sessions, so when I can, I take a hot shower before my evening pump session after Chloe goes to bed.
Part 2: Supplements
Pumping is 60-70% of the solution for me, but supplements is the other 30-40%. It was very serendipitous that the brand Majka reached out to me to test their lactation supplements only a few weeks before my supply dipped for the first time. I was skeptical about their ability to bring my milk back up, but surprisingly my body responded to both the bites and the lactation protein powder very quickly.
In addition to being delicious, both Majka lactation supplement products are soy-free, vegan, made with non-GMO ingredients, free of synthetics, and contain a custom crafted lactation blend. The Majka lactation supplement blend contains – fenugreek, organic ginger root, turmeric, sesame seed, caraway, clove flower and fennel. IMO fenugreek is the star of this blend, as it’s been found to contain phytoestrogens capable of stimulating the mammary glands increasing milk production within 24-72 hours after taking.
Adding the Majka lactation supplement protein powder in my morning smoothie and eating 1-2 bites per day for 2-3 days, worked really well to increase my supply in a matter of days. I went from pumping one or two ounces at a sitting to six ounces, then sometimes nine ounces. Taking the supplements together greatly increased my supply more so than when I ingested either one of the Majka lactation supplements on their own.
At first, I was shocked at the results, but when my milk dipped a second time when I had stopped taking the Majka lactation supplements, I knew that they played a big role in keeping my milk steady.
The bites are so yummy I had to really be careful not to eat a whole bag in one sitting. And the powder gives a super boost of energy with its vegan protein blend clocking in 13g of protein per scoop, pre and probiotics, and laundry list of vitamins and minerals, like folate and chelates, included to support healthy digestion and nutritional balance.
Once my supply started to increase, I scaled back on the Majka lactation supplement products. I now keep a bag of bites and the powder on hand and instead of taking them both every day, I use them periodically to maintain a healthy supply.
If you’re struggling with your milk supply or getting adequate nutrition while you’re breastfeeding, I highly recommending checking out Majka’s protein powder and bites. The brand was kind enough to extend a discount code of 15% off at lovemajka.com with code BOND EN AVANT!
But overall, the important takeaway here is that if you’re struggling with milk supply the key is to nourish your body – feed it good food, drink plenty of water, and rest when you can – because when you’re healthy and supported, you’ll be better able to support and nourish your little one.
Written and photographed by Amy Chang
Struggling to get your little one to fall asleep at night? Read my sleep training story here.