If you’re worried that you won’t be able to produce enough milk for your child, then lactation supplements are a great choice; but when should you take them?
Getting ready to give birth to your baby is probably one of the happiest feelings in the world. However, motherhood comes with its fair share of worries and difficulties. Preparing for the baby’s arrival is probably the most stressful. You will find yourself distressed over stocking up on diapers, setting up the nursery, and making sure you have enough clothes ready for both you and the baby.
Aside from all that, what makes motherhood difficult is the fact that everyone gets to experience it differently. The human body is unique, and every mother has her own way of responding to childbirth.
Speaking of body differences, it is highly likely that you won’t produce as much milk for your child. This is a common concern for new moms. To make sure you have a constant supply of milk for your little one, you can consider taking breastfeeding supplements. So what are these supplements, and when should you start taking them? Keep reading to find out more.
What Are Lactation/Breastfeeding Supplements?
Lactation supplements for moms are basically products containing several ingredients (organic or chemical) that promote the production of milk. These are usually prescribed to mothers who have a problem with lactating, or for those who are looking to increase their milk supply before the baby is born.
Lactation supplements can be found in the form of drops, pills, and even cookies. You can start taking whatever you are comfortable with. Some of the most commonly used drugs to boost lactation in women include Domperidone and Metoclopramide. Domperidone is more widely used as it produces few side effects.
What Causes Low Milk Supply?
Low milk production is caused by different factors. Sometimes, it’s due to the lack of milk-producing tissues, called glandular tissues in the breast. This is mainly due to underdeveloped breasts. A lack of glandular tissue that usually resolves itself, or when a woman gives birth more than once.
Other factors that can lead to insufficient milk supply, include hormonal imbalance, obesity, high blood pressure (which usually occurs due to the pregnancy), or premature birth.
Furthermore, waiting too long to begin breastfeeding can also slow down your milk production.
What Are The Signs of Low Milk Production?
One of the most noticeable signs of low milk supply is when your baby is still hungry, even after being fed. They will also be able to drink a bottle of formula after being breastfed.
Due to the production of milk, breasts will often feel firmer than normal. If your breasts feel soft, then it is a sign that you aren’t producing enough milk.
Newborn babies gain weight rapidly. However, if you notice your baby is beginning to lose weight, then this is also a sign that your baby isn’t fed properly due to a lack of breastmilk production. If you happen to notice any of these signs, consult your doctor so that they can get you the help you need.
When Is The Best Time To Take Supplements?
A mother will begin to produce milk on their own after the placenta is detached from her body; in other words, the body begins milk production only after the baby is born. It starts at around 40 hours after delivery. During this time, doctors suggest that the patient wait for their body to get working. There should be enough milk for the baby by then.
However, if the mother is still struggling to produce milk 5 days after giving birth, then they should start taking breastfeeding supplements. If the mother continues to experience a lack of milk production, they should consult with a lactation consultant to start a breastfeeding regime that includes the supplements.
Are There Any Side Effects?
With all medicine, there are bound to be some side effects. But lactation supplements have mild side effects and are not of serious concern. However, some supplements do contain ingredients that may cause issues for both the baby and the mother.
Fenugreek is a herb that is commonly used in breastfeeding supplements. It does produce exceptional results but has a set of irritating side effects. It causes gastric issues and can lead to excessive sweating. In some cases, the mother’s milk begins to smell a little odd. Other side effects include nausea, vomiting, worsening of asthma (if the mother has the condition), and in some very rare instances, liver toxicity.
As said before, we all react differently to changes in our bodies. This is also true for the medication we take. The problems mentioned above do not happen often – but the chances of it happening isn’t unlikely. If you’re someone who is normally sensitive to medication (such that supplements cause bodily concerns), do tell your doctor about it before you are given a prescription.
Breastfeeding supplements can negatively affect the mother’s mental health. Metoclopramide, better known by its generic name Reglan, has been observed to cause severe depression in mothers taking the medicine. For moms who are already struggling with their mental health, this could become a serious threat not only for their lives but also for their babies’. Postpartum depression is already a serious issue as is, and taking Reglan will make it worse.
If you struggle with mental health, then talk to your doctor about your history so that they can keep that in mind before prescribing you anything.
Are There Any Alternatives?
It’s understandable if you want to try other things instead of supplements to avoid dealing with any side effects. Supplements do work faster, but it certainly isn’t the only option at hand to increase your milk supply. Let’s look at some other ways to improve lactation.
Switch nursing is a great way to stimulate your body to make more milk. Start by feeding your baby as you would normally. After feeding for about a few minutes, switch over to the other breast. Do this repeatedly until your child is properly fed.
Of course, you won’t always be able to time yourself, so look for signs that indicate it’s time to switch. Normally, if you see that your child is no longer suckling, drinking or has fallen asleep, it’s time to latch them onto the other breast.
Frequent Nursing and Pumping
For this technique, you will need to make sure to avoid pacifiers or any sort of formula milk. After that, you have to maintain a frequent nursing schedule; in other words, you will have to feed your baby small portions, multiple times a day.
You can also trick your body into thinking that you need more milk. Simply use a pumping machine to pump out milk in between meals so that your body continues to produce milk. Over time, your body will automatically adjust itself to produce an adequate supply of milk.
Lactation cookies are a much safer and easier option since these cookies are readily available, and can be made right at home. There are varieties of delicious lactation cookie recipes available, so start exploring before the baby is due.
Now, how do these cookies work? The cookies are made with natural ingredients like brewer’s yeast, flax seeds, and oats. Oats are whole grains and contain milk-enhancing ingredients called galactagogues. These galactagogues are mainly responsible for increased milk supply in nursing mothers.
Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle
Last but not least, trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle before and after the birth of the child can greatly help with boosting your breastmilk supply.
You can start by fixing your sleep schedule and your sleeping posture. When someone says that drinking enough water can solve most of your problems, they aren’t lying. Of course, water is the base used to produce milk within your body. So by staying hydrated, you can easily avoid any difficulties with breastfeeding. Finally, you need to make sure that your diet is balanced. Your daily meals should provide you with an adequate supply of folic acid, vitamin B12, DHA, and ions like calcium and magnesium.
Being able to breastfeed your child is blissful to the mother, as this strengthens the bond between the mother and baby. However, there can be many difficulties that come with being a mom.
Dealing with the discomfort and soreness is tiring enough and if you throw a low milk supply to the mix, it can make things even more tedious for the mother. Lactation supplements are a great solution to your worries, and with proper advice from your doctor, you can start your course to keep your baby happy and healthy. Don’t worry too much about the side effects; and if you do, then simply ask your doctor for organic options.
I hope this guide helps you gain a better understanding of breast milk supplements and their use. Good luck!