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How to Increase Milk Supply

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More than 40 percent of all women who quit breastfeeding by six months cited low milk production as a reason they stopped, according to a 2008 study in Pediatrics. Colette M. Acker, certified lactation consultant and executive director at the Breastfeeding Resource Center in Abington, Pennsylvania, offers these tips for boosting your supply: Ensure your baby latches well and that at least one of your breasts is significantly softer after each feeding. Nurse frequently — every two to three hours during the day — and at least once at night when lactation hormone levels are at their highest. Stay hydrated by drinking water, juice and milk, and limit caffeinated drinks. Let baby eat often. “It's supply and demand,” says Acker. “If the baby takes milk out, the body will replenish it.”
 
The previous steps should increase supply for the majority of women, says Sara Chana, lactation consultant, homeopath and herbalist in New York City. However, she adds, there are several reasons to try eating food and herbs to make more milk, “including hypothyroidism, if you've had a preemie or underwent surgery (including C-section).”
 
A milk-boosting diet likely won't turn drops into ounces, but it can help maintain a long-term supply. Ask your doctor or lactation consultant about these super foods and herbs, which many lactation consultants say could help you increase your milk production:
 
Nuts
Why They Work:
Monounsaturated fats in almonds, cashews and macadamia nuts increase the richness of your milk.
Typical Dose:
Consume up to three servings per day, and make sure to eat them raw, not roasted and salted.
 
Blessed Thistle
Why It Works:
It stimulates the flow of blood to the mammary glands and enriches production as well as stabilizes blood sugar.
Typical Dose:
Three capsules (325 to 390 mg each) three times daily with food. It's often recommended to take with fenugreek.
 
Fenugreek
Why It Works:
It stimulates the secretion of human growth hormone, slows the digestive tract and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Typical Dose:
Three capsules (580 to 610 mg each) three times daily with food. Your urine or perspiration may smell like maple syrup.
 
Oats/Oatmeal
Why It Works:
It stimulates the production of pitocin, a key milk-making hormone.
Typical Dose:
Eat steel-cut oatmeal up to twice daily.
 
Vegetables
Why They Work:
Leafy green vegetables are essential and contain B vitamins and iron, which reportedly increase milk production.
Typical Dose:
Consume at least seven raw or cooked servings per day.
 
Goat's Rue
Why It Works:
It increases milk production and aids in cleansing the body of toxins.
Typical Dose:
One teaspoon to one cup boiling water infused for 10 to 15 minutes twice per day.
 
Ginger
Why It Works:
It increases blood circulation throughout the body.
Typical Dose:
Drink commercial ginger tea or steep sliced, fresh ginger in hot water for 15 minutes twice a day.
 
Grains/Legumes
Why They Work:
Barley, lentils, brown rice and millet improve milk supply and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Typical Dose:
Six to nine servings per day.
 
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