Increasing breast milk supply is a concern of many surrogate mothers who choose to pump milk for their surrogate babies. It can be difficult increasing breast milk production when you are pumping exclusively. Here are some tips on how to produce breast milk for a surrogate baby.
Some surrogate mothers who pump are fortunate and a large supply of milk comes easily to them. Others will not produce very much milk with a pump and need tips for increasing breastmilk supply.
There are many methods of increasing breast milk production.
Not every method will work for every person.
- Use Hospital Grade Breast Pump
The biggest mistake most would-be pumpers make is to use a regular breast pump purchased from a store.
While these work fine for women who are currently nursing and just need to pump once in a while, they don’t work very well for the majority of surrogate mothers who choose to pump breast milk, without the benefit of a nursing baby.
To increase breast milk supply, go to a medical equipment supply rental store and rent a hospital grade pump, usually $40-75 a month. You’ll want to run the machine on the maximum setting.
The lower settings are designed to imitate a baby sucking as a comfort, not as a feeding. You want the milk to flow!
- Eliminate Stress
Stress can be a big factor in increasing breastmilk supply. If you are having trouble pumping, and stress about it, that anxiety will just cause more trouble pumping!
Relax. Take frequent bubble baths, listen to soft music while pumping, and make sure that you are pumping in a relaxing, quiet, peaceful part of your home. Let your husband and other kids know that mommy’s pumping time is special, and she is not to be disturbed.
- Change Pumping Techniques
A great method of increasing breast milk supply is simply to alter your techniques.
Try pumping more often, every 1.5-2 hours instead of 2-3 hours.
Alternate sides as you pump.
Instead of going first from one side to another, go back and forth three times.
Pump longer. Try to stay on the pump for 20-45 minutes, even if it seems that there is no more milk. These actions should signal a message to the breast to produce more milk in the future.
- Eat Right
A healthy, balanced diet, much like that which you were eating during pregnancy should be continued while pumping for increasing breast milk production. Don’t eat junk food or greasy fast foods.
Keep yourself hydrated and drink plenty of water, but understand that more water does not mean more milk. Don’t over hydrate yourself.
Also, eating a bowl full of oatmeal each morning goes a long way towards increasing breast milk supply, for some reason.
- Supplement Formula
Most surrogate babies are not exclusively consuming breast milk. It would be nice if they could, but it usually is not practical.
Realize that the breast milk you are producing will go towards the baby’s milk intake, but the baby will be OK if you do not produce as much as you would like. Going back to the stress issue, sometimes just the knowledge and understanding of this fact can help ease stress and allow more milk to be produced.
- Breast and Nipple Care
One major hindrance to successful pumping is pain. Nipples become dry and cracked, and breasts can be sore from engorgement. Take care to make sure that you are putting nipple creams on the nipples after pumping, and pay extra attention to the breasts. You can put a hot water bottle (in a towel) over the breasts before or during pumping to increase let down, or can try massaging the breast gently while pumping for increasing breast milk supply.
- Consider a Galactagogue
A galactagogue is a funny way of saying an herbal or medicinal supplement to help with increasing breast milk supply.
There are many herbs on the market that are said to help with increasing breast milk production, such as Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, and Red Raspberry.
Though you could make yourself a tea with one of these herbs, it would be impractical, as you would need to drink it exclusively all day long in order to make any difference.
Instead, it is best to consume them in capsule format, 3 capsules three times a day.
Fenugreek is said to work the best. Remember, herbs are medicine, and will affect each person differently.
Some may be allergic to these herbs, especially those allergic to peanuts, as they are in the same family.
- Becoming a Breast Milk Surrogate
- Pumping Breast Milk
- Shipping Breast Milk
- Drying Up Breast Milk
- Donating Breastmilk