Milk.

The CDC found that only 74 percent of women attempt breastfeeding, and only 33 percent of those women were still exclusively breastfeeding at three months and only 14 percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at six months.”
Why is that? Any brestfeeding mom can tell you that breastfeeding can be a challenge. It requires you to be a milk factory 24 hours a day. It can hurt, it can exhaust you, but through breastfeeding you’re providing your child with unparalleled nutrition. Through that nutrition you are creating a bond, and if you are like me, that bond makes the cracked nipples and veiny boobs worth it. Or does it?
Considering only 13% of moms make it to the 6 month mark means that there is a missing puzzle piece.
Are they not experiencing the bond with their child?
Are they simply sick of breastfeeding?
Do they need some relief and a bit of help from their significant other?
Is there a lack of support?
I’m always curious to find out the reason behind a mom giving up breastfeeding and have unfortunately heard all of the above and more.
What I hear most frequently is that there is a lack of support from their friends, family and society. I can even attest to this.
My mother didn’t breastfeed me, but reminds me frequently that I should “quit soon.” Even before Atticus was 3 months she would mention it.
Then I was hospitalized. I refused to nurse Atticus while on Morphine, Adivan, Vivodin, etc. I opted to pump and dump, but despite my efforts, my supply diminished. By the time I got out of the hospital, I was barely getting a quarter of an ounce during a 30 minute pump session.
My freezer supply diminished and my baby was hungry. Friends and even my own husband suggested I use formula, but the thought of that broke my heart. We made it 5 months without supplementing and I didn’t want to start now. But what was I supposed to do? My baby was hungry and I wasn’t producing.
My midwife suggested I take Domperidone and through her support and that of a few friends I was able to regain my supply. That sentence was easier to write than to say. To fully regain my supply has been a month long journey that wasn’t easy.
What you will need.
1. Support. You need it from yourself, your significant other and hopefully from family and friends. A bountiful milk supply is not easy to accomplish when you are barely getting drops.
2. Oatmeal. Every morning. Something about oatmeal helps with your supply and we are not arguing.
3. Mothers milk tea. Drink it hot, cold or warm, but drink it often.
4. Cluster feeds/nipple stimulation. In order for your breasts to make milk they need to be asked for it. Keep your baby close and feed as often as humanly possible. Let him use you as a pacifier. He needs your milk and your milk needs him.
5. Fenugreek. 3 capsules 3 times a day or whatever your doctor/midwife recommends. It may make your babies pee smell like maple syrup, but this all natural herb really works.
6. Drink more water. As soon as you wake up, with every meal, between every meal and more! Drink it. You can’t drink enough and your milk supply will thank you.
7. Blessed Thistle. Natural and organic this herb is known for kicking your supply into full gear.
8. Be near your baby often. Your body does magical things and when your baby isn’t near you, your supply will drop. Cuddle and have skin to skin, no matter what the babies age.
9. Beer. Not something I have personally tried but some moms swear by a pint of Guinness.
10. Finally, if all else fails or you need a further boost ask your midwife for a prescription for Domperidone. It is a pricey drug at $100 for a month supply. This wonder drug was created to help those with stomach issues, but its side effect is a boost in lactation. Unlike Reglan, it doesn’t come with severe side effects. If your doctor suggests Reglan, gently try to steer hum towards Domperidone.

If I could encourage one mother to breastfeed longer or to help her in any way, I would. If you or a friend is struggling with their supply, I would love to help them. Leave a comment below and I can give you tips or at the very least support.

*Please remember we are not medical professionals. Please consult your midwife or doctor prior to taking our advise. We will not be held liable for any illness or problem created by the above personal recommendation.

About the author

Xza
Xza Louise Higgins is the founder of MommyCon, creator of The Mommy Dialogues, and punk rock mom to two year old Atticus in the great city of Chicago, IL. She is incredibly passionate about birth options, human rights, and promoting gentle parenting practices.

No Comments

  1. Stephanieparis -  June 8, 2012 - 10:35 am

    !! I can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoy this post.

    Hi I’m Stephanie, EBFing my son & he is 4.5 months old. My goal is 6 months then after that is 8-12 months.

    I constantly am being pushed to fmgive him cereal or purees because “it’s time”

    Food before one is just for fun is what I reply. I’m happy that I am his soul need. Add a diaper boom my child is happy as a peach.

    I have been blessed, I have not had to do anything to stimulate supply, boost etc…. BUT! I swear by water. I drink an equivalent of 16 waterbottles in a 24 hour period. I live on water I was actually scared one day when I pumped (for stock) I pumped only 3 OZ in 10 min from my right boob this wasn’t normal and wa not my normal 6OZ. turns out it was because I forgot to eat lunch that day. EAT. so many stressed moms forget to take care of themselves. Eat.

    I meet so many other moms who have zero support. I do not have support so I lend my kind words to any and all I meet about breastfeeding. Any one can do it. ANYONE.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Xza Louise -  June 8, 2012 - 4:36 pm

      I love your response! I am totally going to use that the next time someone pushes cereal. Everyone constantly tells me to “just give him some formula.”

      And as you said…. water water water! It helps so much.

  2. Jillian -  June 8, 2012 - 11:53 am

    Thank you for the info! I am ebf my 4 month old. I am VERY lucky to have a great support system and a pediatrician that is not trying to push food on the baby. I wish everyone had the support that I do. I have great friends that don’t mind a baby tagging along with me to my “Girls Night” events. I have great older kids that are willing to help out a little more around the house when the baby has one of his “You must feed me all day long” days. I will say that I am going to buy some Fenugreek because it helps and makes me smell like maple syrup.

    • Xza Louise -  June 8, 2012 - 4:35 pm

      That is awesome! Thanks for sharing Jillian!

  3. Jacquelynn -  June 8, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    Do you have any tips for moms who work? I work 25-30 hours a week. I sometimes get a chance to pump, sometimes I don’t (I’m a server so I can’t always get up to pump). I always come home and pump and try to empty out everything I can but i feel as if it’s slowly dropping. I’ve EBF for 5 months and want to make to at least a year but I’m scared I won’t be able to. It’s to the point where im considering takig a week off in a month to month and a half and tryingto boost my supply to leep going. Any tips or suggestions? Thank you so much! Great article!

  4. Xza Louise -  June 8, 2012 - 4:34 pm

    Jacquelynn, Is your employer giving you a hard time about pumping on the job or does it just get too busy to pump?
    One thing that I found VERY important in pumping was to pump first thing in the morning. Your supply will be strongest at this point and you will get more milk. If I pumped first thing I would get 8 oz where if I waited till after his first feed I would barely get 3-4.
    Are you already taking fenugreek or mothers milk tea? If you do and haven’t seen a great improvement, perhaps try upping your water intake. It really does make the world of difference and is something that many moms forget about.

    • Jacquelynn -  June 8, 2012 - 5:09 pm

      If I can’t pump it usually is just to busy for me to get away and pump. I have tried taking Fenugreek and I didn’t see a great improvement but I will try mothers milk tea an fenugreek together to try and get a better response. I drink water often but I will try to drink more. I know I can always drink more. Thank you so much for you’re help! (:

      • Vanessa -  June 10, 2012 - 8:36 am

        Jacquelynn,

        I am a working mom too and pumping is hard work! My son is almost a year old and I’ve been pumping since I went back to work at 3 months. I know it’s hard to get away when you’re busy, but I’ve found that I pick pump times and stick to them. I pump at 10:30 and 1:30. I set an alarm in my phone so I remember to pump, and I always stick to those times. Also, my LC recommended taking 1000 mg vitamin C daily. I think it helped my supply, and all moms could use the extra C boost! Good luck! 🙂

  5. Heather P. -  June 8, 2012 - 11:37 pm

    Wonderful information! Thank you so much!! I was told so many different things with my first born that I wasn’t able to bf. However, when second one decides to come I AM BF!!

  6. Alyson -  June 10, 2012 - 9:56 am

    I’m pregnant with my third, and looking into domperidone this time. My second daughter was diagnosed with failure to thrive, and after countless visits to lactation it was determined she was getting less than an ounce of BM after a 25 minute nursing session. Latch was perfect, no pain, she was a good eater…the milk just wasn’t there! Do you think I should meet with an LC before giving birth? I tried all of the old tricks…pumping after nursing, skin to skin, fenugreek, oatmeal, Mother’s Milk Tea, etc. Thanks for this post!

  7. Janessa -  June 11, 2012 - 12:45 pm

    I’m in such awe of your determination. I’ve never had a hard time breast feeding and with my first he breast fed for 16 months and with my 7 month old I’m going to let him self ween. So many people just give up and say they can’t do it. I wish there was more information and support out there for all those mommies. Thanks for the wonderful story.

  8. Samantha Sykula -  June 12, 2012 - 6:26 pm

    I wish I would have known this! I has to be on medication for a wisdom tooth infection so I was pumping and dumping but it just didn’t work and I lost my supply and hearing him cry because he was hungry was breaking me so I gave in and gave him formula. If I could produce again I would! I can’t wait for my next one so I can try again with these tips I know I will be successful! Thank you Xza

  9. Nikki -  July 30, 2012 - 3:22 pm

    Can I take blessed thistle with fenugreek? I have been taking the max dose (12 pills daily) of fenugreek since my son was 3 months and he’s almost 11 months now. I’ve never used blessed thistle before…love this post btw 🙂

    • Erica -  August 3, 2012 - 6:58 pm

      Nikki- yes, you can take blessed thistle with fenugreek or any other herbal. I have read that it boosts whatever you take it with. i suffer from low supply and i have found that goats rue helps me the most.

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