When I had Kollyns about 4 months ago, I received many questions on breastfeeding…from increasing supply to appropriate macros, etc. I work with so many new moms on nutrition and some had questions that went beyond nutrition and my expertise, so I decided to interview a Lactation Specialist from Community North to get all your questions answered.

Community North is where I had both of my babies and the Lactation Specialists there are amazing. They offer so much support while you are first in the hospital and trying to figure it all out, and even after you leave the hospital with your baby. They have online resources, classes, one-on-one support, weekly support groups, and more. You can find out about the different resources they offer here.

Below are the questions I asked the Lactation Consultant, followed by her answers, and then the italicized answers are what works best for me, currently.

What can I do if I notice a decrease in my milk supply?

Most mothers worry about their milk supply if their baby is fussy or starts waking up in the middle of the night more often.  That is often not the reason.  Babies nurse more when they are in a growth spurt and if they are unsettled for many other reasons.  Nursing for comfort is helpful for your long term supply. If you are told that the baby is not gaining, the first thing to do is to contact a lactation consultant for advice or a pre and post feeding weight at a support group.  Mothers often can pump enough milk after a feeding that they can supplement with their expressed milk. If you are pumping and start getting less milk, it may be your pump parts, or a medication that you are taking, or starting your menstrual period.  Again, calling an IBCLC is a good idea.

I make sure I am eating enough fats and carbs each day. I also make sure I up my water intake, and start pumping after each feeding.

Any specific foods or supplements you recommend for increasing milk supply? Anything I should stay away from that might decrease supply?

​Increase–High fiber foods like whole grains, flax seed, beans, seeds.

Decrease–peppermint, sage, parsley.

I find that eating oats every day really helps my supply, as well as plenty of water. I’ll take fenugreek for a few days if I really need it.

If my baby starts sleeping though the night will my supply drop? (Do I need to still wake up and pump, even if baby is sleeping?)

In general, most mothers and babies need 8 feedings a day until at least 3 months to maintain their supply.  Some babies will sleep through the night too early and they stop gaining well.  Feeding the baby at night will also help delay ovulation and menstrual periods, so there are many reasons to continue night feedings. But if your older baby drops night feeds, you do not usually need to wake up to pump.

My baby still doesn’t sleep through the night, but we are getting close, with just one feeding around 3am.

Can I drink a glass of wine and still nurse? Is there a limit on alcohol or should I “pump and dump” after any consumption?

Alcohol does transfer into your breastmilk readily.  You do want to limit your consumption and wean if you are a heavy drinker.  You can sip a glass of wine or drink a beer slowly with a meal and if you are not feeling the effects in an hour or two, go ahead and nurse.

Can exercise negatively affect my supply?

Not likely.  Make sure that if you are sweating a lot, you drink extra fluids

Exercise has not negatively affected my supply. I do drink a lot of water and Body Armor for extra carbs.

Is there a goal age you recommend breastfeeding for? For example try to make it 6 months or a year?

The World Health Organization recommends 2 years.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continue while adding solid foods for at least a year, or longer.  Many of the positive effects of breastmilk for baby and breastfeeding for mom are dose dependent, so the longer times are the best.  Any amount can make a difference in the health of your baby.  Get help to meet your goals.

My personal goal is always a year…I nursed Jax for about 14 months. Things happen though, life happens, and I tell clients to keep nursing until they can as I realize it can be stressful for working moms who have to pump during the day, etc. Use your best judgement…if you are becoming so stressed, having to pump, bottle feed, etc. and just are not enjoying it and it’s affecting you/your baby don’t feel pressured from society to keep going. Do what is best for you and your baby. Whatever you choose is the right choice!

Are there any good online resources you recommend?

www.Kellymom.com is well researched and has a great search engine.

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