As a new mom I remember being shocked at the new role my breasts had taken. No longer were my breasts just aesthetically pleasing or sexually appealing, they now nourished as well. Its astounding that just as a woman has many roles in life-daughter, sister, wife, and mother; our breasts do as well!
Breast milk has unreal benefits for children and mothers, not just as babies, but later in life too. Babies immune systems are better, less likely to be obese, higher intelligence, and for a mother she is less likely to develop breast cancer. (It also helps shed those baby pounds!) These are just a few of the wonderful workings that breastfeeding does.
I will not, however, pretend that it isn’t messy, time-consuming and sometimes down right frustrating. When I began breastfeeding my daughter, for the first couple months, I had to use a nipple shield to get her to latch. It could be disheartening to find, clean, and correctly place that silicone nipple over mine every time there was a feeding, especially at night! Despite this, she gained weight and looked healthy so I knew she was getting enough milk.
Currently, I have chosen to tandem nurse, meaning to nurse more than one child at a time. Not that I nurse my eighteen month old daughter and one month old son simultaneously, but I do nurse them both daily; my daughter 1-3 times a day and my son every 2-3 hours.
The hardest time for breastfeeding is often during a growth spurt. When your child seems constantly hungry. I remember my daughter clawing at my breast and nursing to the point that I would cry from my nipples becoming so sore. It can be a lot of work during this time, but don’t worry the frequent feedings will make your milk supply level out to what they need.
Here are a couple of things I did to increase my supply through a growth spurt:
- Frequent feedings. In the start of breastfeeding, both my daughter and son, I noticed the more I nursed in a day the more milk I would have. (Sometimes resulting in a wet t-shirt if I didn’t get one of them quick enough.)
- Skin to skin. Take your babies clothes off, and press him or her to your belly while you nurse. For me this would always do the trick, it helps that milk flow easily and naturally. Even hugging my husband or taking a relaxing bath can make my milk let down.
- Offering both breasts. Nurse that baby until they unlatch then try the other breast as well. This goes with the first suggestion but often times it can be forgotten. With my first I had one breast I nursed the most with so it became noticeably larger! To balance it out I had to start switching the sides more at night.
- Visualization. Our minds are the strongest tools we have. When you imagine your child and your milk coming down, it often will! When I was in labor I visualized the waves of the ocean breaking and swelling; this helped with the pain. The same goes for women who struggle to conceive; it is helpful to imagine your ovaries blossoming!
- Speaking over your body. Tell it to produce milk. Look at your breast in a mirror of when breastfeeding and say, “You are bountifully full of milk. Overflowing with promise. Nurturing my child to satisfaction!” if you need a verse stand on, look at Genesis 49:25 this blessing is yours:
The God of your father—may he help you!
And may The Strong God—may he give you his blessings,
Blessings tumbling out of the skies,
blessings bursting up from the Earth—
blessings of breasts and womb.
- For even more help here is a link to my favorite advisor, Dr. Sears, on increasing your supply. (Look at his other advice as well, super helpful!) http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfeeding/faqs/increasing-your-milk-supply
The verse is supplied from the Message Bible and biblegateway: