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Choosing breastfeeding supplements should be a team effort by your doctor, lactation specialist, and you. Starting with a healthy diet first, natural supplements can be added to either increase or decrease milk supply, depending on the breastfeeding issues you are facing. Your doctor may also advise taking a prenatal vitamin daily while nursing. If you're facing severe supply issues or attempting to relactate, your doctor may also prescribe medication to help you produce milk.
One of the best breastfeeding supplements is not technically a supplement at all. Good nutrition while breastfeeding is one of the best ways to ensure adequate milk supply and to maintain your health. Some of the best foods for breastfeeding are oatmeal and those rich in protein. Drinking plenty of water and limiting processed foods can also help maintain milk supply and keep you at your healthiest.
There are a few herbs for breastfeeding moms that can either increase or decrease milk supply. If you feel you aren’t producing enough milk, which can be common for women who pump more than nurse from the breast, taking 1200 to 2400 mg of the herb fenugreek, in pill form, three times a day for a week can help to increase your supply. This breastfeeding supplement has been used for centuries by women needing to increase the amount of milk their body produces.
If you are suffering from an overactive supply, which can make nursing uncomfortable for your baby, or you are starting to wean, dried sage can be helpful. Taking 1/4 teaspoon dissolved in water three times a day for two days can help to reduce to amount of milk you're producing. Unless you are using this herb for weaning, it is important to be careful about how much you take and for how long. If you are simply looking to slightly reduce your milk supply, start with taking sage for one day and go from there; rebuilding supply is often more difficult than reducing it.
Under the advice of your doctor, you may decide to take a prenatal vitamin while breastfeeding, which you may have previously consumed while pregnant. Prenatal vitamins can help to fill in any gaps in nutrition, even with a healthy diet, thereby ensuring you take in enough nutrients to stay healthy. When nursing, a woman's body puts everything it has toward making milk, and whatever is left over is used by her body to function. Ensuring you are getting enough vitamins and minerals for both making milk and taking care of yourself can help to ensure a healthy breastfeeding experience.
If your body is having difficulty producing milk, which is common in moms with premature infants, your doctor may prescribe medication as breastfeeding supplements. The most common medications are metoclopramide, also known as Reglan, and domperidone, also known as Motilium. While these medications are not specifically meant for breastfeeding mothers, they have been shown to be effective in increasing milk supply for many women.
These medications, as with other breastfeeding supplements, are best chosen in cooperation with your doctor and, if available, a lactation specialist, first. While the latter cannot prescribe or recommend any breastfeeding supplements, she can often help with breastfeeding issues in other ways. If you decide to take any supplements, make sure both your doctor and your child's pediatrician is informed.
My OB/GYN recommended oatmeal, but I can't stand the stuff. I ate Cream of Wheat. I took extra calcium and iron because I was getting really run down while I nursed. I weaned my son a little earlier than I wanted to, mostly because I was just not bouncing back physically, and breastfeeding was part of it.
I also had some minor post-partum depression, which didn't help my physical state. Thank goodness, that passed pretty quickly and by the time he was five months old, I was much better. But it can affect your physical well-being, for sure.
When I had my daughter, fenugreek really helped me increase my milk supply. Just a caveat: make sure you start tapering off as you wean. Otherwise, your milk won't dry up as quickly as the baby is weaning. This is not comfortable.
Prenatal vitamins helped me, too. I needed the extra calcium, even though I was drinking plenty of milk.
Breastfeeding helped me drop my baby weight, too. When I stopped, I weighed 15 pounds less than when I got pregnant! I had bad morning sickness the whole time, and I was still grossed out by the thought of eating certain foods. I was actually kind of malnourished by the time I weaned her.
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