Before we get started, I want to start off by saying that I'm an exclusive pumper. One thing I read/heard about being an exclusive pumper, is that your milk is more likely to run out before a woman who is breastfeeding from the breast. I don't really think that's true - but I do think exclusive pumpers have to work a bit harder. There are various reasons why a woman would decide to exclusively pump - but regardless, it's just another way to feed your baby!
I've been pumping for just over 3 months now (since writing this post) and my supply is still thriving. I've learned that certain things help my supply more than others, and I wanted to share the things that work best for me, in hopes of helping others that are doing their best to protect/boost their supply.
Digressing from food for a hot second - if you are pumping...you have to stick to a strict schedule, especially in the beginning if you really want to increase/keep up your supply. For the first two months I pumped about 6 times a day + a pump at 3am and I never strayed from this schedule. I found that my 3am pump was crucial, and if anything it helped me from getting clogged ducts, which are awful and painful. I kept a log and recorded the end time of each pump so that I knew when to start again. This wasn't great for me mentally because I felt like my life revolved around each pump, but I will say that I have a freezer full of milk and a freezer full of milk at my parents' home as well. So just a quick tip. I am now down to 5-6 pumps a day without a night pump. I usually start my pumping between 5:30 and 7:00am.
These are the foods that have really helped my supply
This is by far the number one food source that increases my supply. Oats are high in iron, and iron is said to be a big factor in milk production - and this doctor's girlfriend does not have any science to back this up lol. But you will find TONS of blog posts that support this. I eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast everyday. Not the instant package kind, but quick oats with a bit of cinnamon and some fruit along with a bit of maple syrup to sweeten it. I love it. Throughout the day, I'll also incorporate granola and oats in other ways as well - but I'm sure to eat a bowl of oatmeal each day. If I don't, I notice I don't produce as much.
I love these as a quick snack and a simple and easy way to boost my supply a couple hours before I pump. I always order a few bags on Amazon before I run out. The ingredients that help boost supply are nutritional yeast, oats and flax. I love the quinoa chocolate and cowgal cookies the best. I usually eat about 2 cookies before my lowest producing pump (mid-day) to give it a little boost. Not to mention, they taste really good.
I'll be doing a giveaway with Stork and Dove (the company that produces them) on July 19th on my instagram. The contest is open to both Canadian and US residents!
You may be trying to loose baby weight - but if you're breastfeeding, it might not be the best time to cut things out of your diet. Going to the gym is cool, but your milk supply thrives on food. I eat a lot of high fat foods (good fats) and I try to be as conscious as possible when ensuring I'm getting enough nutrients throughout the day. Food like avocados, bananas, eggs, full fat yogurt, cheese, milk, chicken, hemp seeds, sweet potatoes and other fruits and vegetables. The more enriched your foods are the better your milk supply!
A LITTLE STOUT BEER
I AM NOT PROMOTING DRINKING and breastfeeding - but, in the beginning, at the end of the day after my last pump before I went to bed, I would have a pint of Guinness. Some studies have drawn a link between a polysaccharide, a type of carbohydrate present in barley hops, and an increase in prolactin, the hormone that aids the production of milk from breast tissue. I figured, it couldn't hurt to try it. My supply is great, so I don't do this anymore, but I would recommend this to any mom who is comfortable with having a beer if they don't plan on pumping or breastfeeding for 2-3 hours (your liver metabolizes most of the alcohol within 2 hours...unless you've drank more than one drink, then I wouldn't recommend) if you are really struggling with producing enough milk. Again - not promoting drinking alcohol.
NOT A FOOD BUT SUPER IMPORTANT
Breastmilk is 90% water, so it's pretty important that you're getting enough water for your milk AND for you! But you also don't want to overdo it. I usually have a full glass of lemon water hanging around so that if I'm feeling thirsty, I know it's time to hydrate. If your supply is really astruggling, think about how much water/fluids you've been drinking!