The Boob Group
Popular Galactagogues to Boost Milk Supply
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LEILANI WILDE: If you’re breastfeeding and concerned you don’t have enough milk, you may be thinking about taking herbs or other foods to boost your milk supply. These are known as Galactagogues. But how do they help increase milk production? Which one works best and which ones should you avoid?
Today we’re exploring the most popular Galactagogues used to boost milk supply. This is the Boob Group.
LEILANI WILDE: Welcome to The Boob Group, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. The Boob Group is your weekly online, on-the-go support group for all things related to breastfeeding. I'm your host, Leilani Wilde. I'm also an IBCLC and owner of Leilani’s Lactation and Doula Services. Have you downloaded our new network app?
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Here’s Sunny with more information about how you can get involved in our show.
SUNNY GAULT: Okay! We want o hear from our listeners. We want to hear from you guys and your breastfeeding and your pumping experiences. It just makes the show so much more fun. So there are a couple of different ways that you can do that. We have different segments that you can be a part of. So if you go to www.NewMommyMedia.com, go to the show section for The Boob Group and scroll on down. You’ll see a section for segments. Those are the various ways you can participate.
But I’ll give you a few here that are my favorites. So we love to get mail from you guys so to speak. So e-mail nowadays, right? Tell us about an episode you like. Tell us about something that you’ve learned – something like that. We love to hear from you guys and we’ll play those comments in the air. We have a segment called: “Boob Oops” which I think is really funny. That is we share your funny breastfeeding and pumping experiences.
Also a segment that is we had a lot a lot of people submit for this lately which is awesome. That is called: “Mama Hacks.” It’s where you share your breastfeeding or pumping hacks that you’ve come up with. We all breastfeed and pump our babies in a little bit different way. So if you found a way to overcome something that was kind of a pain for you or just a way that enhance that overall experience. We would love to hear from that.
So you can go to our website and submit via the contact link. Or if you actually want to tell your own stories as supposed to me or Leilani telling it for you, you can call our voice mail at 619-866-4775 and record your message. Then we’ll play that on an upcoming episode.
LEILANI WILDE: So let’s see. We’re going to introduce our panelists.
BETHANY DUNN: I’m Bethany. I’m 28. I’m an inside sales rep for a promotional products company. I have two kids, a 14 month old boy and an eight year old girl.
LEILANI WILDE: Awesome! Online or actually what would you call it?
SUNNY GAULT: On the phone.
LEILANI WILDE: On the phone, there you go. We have Dawn.
DAWN KERSULA: Yes, Dawn Kersula. I am an IBCLC and I’ve been helping moms through La Leche League and I’m now retired from there. But I’ve been helping moms with their babies for over 30 years. I have three kids of my own all grown. I have two grandsons up on Alaska. I’m in Vermont.
So one of the things that we’re going to find today is the different people are going to say: “What do you mean that’s the most favorite galactagogues because it’s different than where were you are.”
SUNNY GAULT: Yes, I get it. That’s true.
SUNNY GAULT: All right, so before we start our conversation today; there’s a news headline out there that I thought was worth repeating definitely because this woman was pretty selfless in order to do this. This takes place in China.
There was a new mother who also happened to be a nurse at a hospital. One of her patients that day was going to have a surgery. I’m probably going to mispronounce how you say this surgery. But it creates some abscess surgery. Anyway, the baby would not stop crying. I feel like we’ve got sound effects in the studio. It would not stop crying. Now go!
Anyways, doctors didn’t get him to calm down. He really needed to have the surgery. So this new mom again who happens to be a nurse basically just breastfed him to get to the point that he was calm and satiated and they could continue on with the surgery. It says here: “The baby’s father spoke out about it and personally thank the nurse for her kindness.”
He said: “Thank you. You didn’t only treat my child, you also nursed him. As a father, you have my endless gratitude. You are an angel nurse.” So we don’t always hear stories like this about people that are willing to kind of go the extra mile especially when it comes to breastfeeding. In a sense kind of what nursing for somebody else, so I just kind of wanted to throw that out there and see what you guys thought of this.
Leilani, what do you think about this mama nurse?
LEILANI WILDE: Well, you know it’s kind of cool. I don’t know how I’d feel if I had someone else volunteer to feed my baby with. I think it’s pretty neat. It kind of goes against when they say about surgery, you can’t have anything to eat before you have surgery right? So my thought was like: “How does that affect him?”
SUNNY GAULT: It’s true.
LEILANI WILDE: But I think you know what? In other cultures, it’s all about the village taking care of the family. So I think, “Well, you know why not?”
SUNNY GAULT: Right. Actually, the mom isn’t quoted in this article. So I’m not sure of the situation there. But the baby’s father was very happy because he really did need the surgery. Basically, the surgeons are ready to call it off because they couldn’t get him to calm down. So props to the nurse!
LEILANI WILDE: Yes, that’s great.
LEILANI WILDE: Today on The Boob Group, we’re discussing: “How to boost your milk supply using the popular known galactagogues.” Our expert Dawn Kersula – an IBCLC in Vermont. Thank you for joining us Dawn and welcome to the show.
DAWN KERSULA: Thank you. I’m glad to be here today.
LEILANI WILDE: Dawn can you tell us what a galactagogue is or however you pronounce it?
SUNNY GAULT: I always sort to go with galactagogue?
DAWN KERSULA: I’m always sure it’s a galactagogue.
SUNNY GAULT: Okay.
DAWN KERSULA: But you know what? This is another thing that I have learned, we all say things in different ways. Some people when they heart problems and have mentioned it and others have in China. It’s incorrect. So we’re going to go with whatever way we say it. But the thing that’s most important is that it’s a medication or an herb or food that believes to help with breastfeeding.
Even the word that the definition is straight from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol and it’s very interesting to me that they say: “Things that are believed to help the milk supply.” Because we need research, a lot of this is word of mouth. You know mama to mama is the most important kind of support that we can get. But it sure is nice when the research can back us up that we need the research to be done.
So I think that in the same way. We always used to complain the doctors will say: “Show me the studies.” So all those uppity women decided: “Well, then I’m going to do the studies.” So now we’re starting to have more of those studies. So I’m looking forward to the ones on: “Initiating, maintaining and being able to increase your milk supply with these different galactagogues or galactagogues whatever we want to say it.”
But the kicker on the research is: “When you start looking at, they’re actually more than 400 different herbs and foods that are used worldwide to help moms to increase their milk supply.
SUNNY GAULT: That says a whole lot right there. I mean we think about the different cultures around the world that use these, right? Different things to help the moms because not all of them have access to what we call medication to do that.
DAWN KERSULA: Absolutely.
SUNNY GAULT: We all don’t have villages that will breastfeed our babies for us if we can’t.
LEILANI WILDE: It’s true. How does it work? How does it boost a mom’s milk supply? Do you know?
DAWN KERSULA: Well, as you can imagine – if there’s 400 different kinds and we haven’t done a lot of research. There’s a lot of questions about or there’s a variety of ways that things work. Interesting way, the first thing that I always look at and think about – we probably knew on some levels but not to do the extent that we are known more today as hormones.
Moms need hormones to be in balance.
To be able to make milk and there’s actually the four that I think that right off are:
• Prolactin which is for milk making.
• Estrogen which we’re all pretty familiar with as one of those hormones that helps us as we’re going through puberty.
• Another one that we’ll find more-and-more about is Insulin. It’s actually a really important hormone when it comes to making milk and not only does the breasts have Prolactin receptors, it also has Insulin receptors.
• Then another hormone that’s quite important is Thyroid Hormone. So moms that have are running low thyroid levels or suddenly started doing that postpartum can also run into problems. That can be quite a challenge.
So some hormones, some galactagogues help Prolactin to circulate longer in the body. That’s important especially in the early days to help increase the number of Prolactin receptors and then galactagogues which we don’t know. It’s interesting that many of them also help regulate bad cholesterol. Like if you start looking some of the food in particular that are used for helping your milk get better. It also helps with insulin resistance.
If you start looking at the list from around the world, you’ll also notice: “Well geez! You have just been [inaudible 00:10:03] really good to have in your diet.” So I wonder sometimes whether because they never know that women around the world can make good healthy milk for their babies. But sometimes, it would be really nice if we were going healthy and feeling loved and not stressed aside.
So that kind of mind should be all on how different kinds of things can boost mom’s milk supply.
LEILANI WILDE: Well, it certainly makes good sense when we think about how we take care of our bodies and how our bodies will take care of our babies too during birth and in postpartum.
DAWN KERSULA: Absolutely!
LEILANI WILDE: So Bethany, were you concerned about your milk supply?
BETHANY DUNN: I was concerned. Elliot was perfect right when he was born. But he had really bad jaundice. So he was hospitalized. Actually we had a lactation consultant come in, work with us. He will bring leak gold. We found out that I wasn’t feeling let-down and he was never full.
Something that she suggested was you know: “Look up a list of things that you could eat.” Almonds and oatmeal were ones that I really remember. Oatmeal definitely did it for me. It was still because I’m not sure. I don’t understand really what was going on with my body at that time. But I wasn’t feeling let-down. Even when pumping, it’s just wasn’t happening.
Then along with Fenugreek, I tried that. But it was that I felt like that I almost getting mood swings and just the smell of maple syrup kind of did it in for me. I couldn’t take it. My husband was like: “You’ve got to stop taking that.” But I tried those and Elliot was dropping in weight. I couldn’t provide him with enough.
So I did definitely do a lot of research and try multiple things to try to boost my supply. But it didn’t work.
LEILANI WILDE: When you recognized at week one, is that when you recognize that you were having a problem in your supply?
BETHANY DUNN: Yes week one.
LEILANI WILDE: Yes. It’s all about how we demand from our body. So I do recall you saying earlier that your baby had a tongue-tie right?
BETHANY DUNN: Yes.
LEILANI WILDE: So the signal wasn’t getting across to your breast.
BETHANY DUNN: Correct.
LEILANI WILDE: Dawn, can you explain a little bit about that?
DAWN KERSULA: Absolutely! One of the things that we wondered, we knew for years that the demand will make a supply when it comes to breast milk. But one thing that we really didn’t understand was: “Why that was the case.”
Peter Hartmann back in 1990s in Perth, Australia did some research. What he found was that: “There’s actually a protein in mother’s milk.” It’s usually called the inhibition of lactation factor or that’s what they still call it. Factor or inhibiting lactations or sometimes people will call it Fill.
There is a famous lactation consultant who works in Preemies in Chicago. She said: “Don’t let flow come to visit.” What she’s talking about there is that: “If your milk stays on your breast which is what happens with a tongue-tied baby who can’t do a good job of draining the breast well.” What happens is that it tells the body: “Hey, we got plenty of milk here. Don’t make more.”
Especially in the early days, what you really want is a baby who’s signaling your breast to say: “I’m on appetizer but I’m going to want a 10 course to town in dinner very soon. So keep making milk. Keep making milk.” Instead what happens with Bethany and Elliot is that: “Because Elliot wasn’t draining her breasts well, her breast thought – we’ve got plenty of milk here. Well, the baby doesn’t need a lot of milk. We’ve got enough. Let’s not make anymore.”
So on a very basic level, since our bodies are intricately and explicitly made but also simple. So that’s the simple answer. What a bummer! What a bummer when that happens! Yes.
LEILANI WILDE: I know that sometimes moms think they have a low milk supply. They’ll start from day one pumping or taking some mother’s milk tea or something like that in anticipation of maybe having a problem. Perhaps maybe even a previous breastfeeding relationship right? So how does a mom know if she really has a true low milk supply?
DAWN KERSULA: Okay. So this is one of those things where you’re going to wish you had a pencil because it’s going to be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. But on the most basic level, the first thing that you really want to look at is that your breast change when you are a teen ager. So did your breast change at puberty and also did your breast change during your pregnancy. Because those can be markers or something called: “Insulin Resistance.” Then going on to what’s called Insufficient Glandular Tissue.
So there’s actually an entire book about this now by Diana Cassar-Uhl. It’s called: “Finding Sufficiency.” That’s a very, very good book. If your breasts haven’t change very much while you’ve been pregnant or they didn’t change a lot back when you were in a teenager and during puberty.
Second thing that you need to do is if you say to yourself: “Yes my breasts did changed.” That’s not where the problem is coming from. The second thing that you really want to do is look at your baby. Once you get to that four days postpartum, if you make the sign for okay with your hand, you want to be able to look at your hands and look at that O in okay.
By day four, your baby should be giving you four poops that are a size of an O in that okay that your hand makes that your fingers make. Some babies are going to give you only half of an O every single time that they eat. Other babies are going to poop right up in their backs and up in their hair. Both of those babies might be doing just fine but that’s about in amount of poop that you want.
Because a baby will not poop well if it’s not eating well. Any time that you’ve got a baby and I wonder if this happens with Elliot that he still at Day Four, he might still have been pooping Meconium.
BETHANY DUNN: He was.
DAWN KERSULA: I actually work in a hospital and when I’m looking at baby poop, I want those babies’ poops to be turned green and begin runnier by the time those moms go and baby’s go home. So anytime that you’ve got a baby who’s not clearing out what’s in the bowel, you’re going to be looking to see if this baby is really getting enough.
Another thing that you want to do is: “You want to be able to get to know your own breasts.” So get to know your baby. Look at your baby and then also your breasts. Most of us are not very familiar with our breasts. I mean our partners are more familiar with our breasts than we are when we have new babies.
So in the hospital very often, I really like to see we know that-that are various things that can make the milk come in later. But very often, the milk will start coming in 36 to 48 hours after the placenta falls out. So what I will like is: “For moms to start knowing their breasts by walking their breasts around and getting to know – are my breasts starting to feel warmer? Are my breasts starting to feel heavier?”
I want you [inaudible 00:17:42] your baby on the breasts and the baby has settled down a little bit or even if the baby comes through the breast have you seen yourself – what do my breasts feels like? Because you know they don’t have any lines on there that will show you how much of my baby takes of this speed.
But if you get to know your breasts, you could actually walk your fingers around. When you are up in your armpits in those early days, you may feel something’s that can really milk glands and their milk cells are bit later full. They’ll actually feel like baby pees or like little broccoli or similar to that. They’ll usually feel those on both sides.
After a while, you’ll actually start to feel them throughout your breasts very often before your baby eats.
Then what will happen is: “As the feed proceeds, you can actually walk your fingers around and tell where your baby has done a good job of getting fill out of there. Also in getting your milk down to let-down and also places where you might able to do what’s called breast compression when the baby slows down to get some more milk out of there.”
So that’s another good way to know if you truly have a low milk supply or not because sometimes there will be spots where you’ll realize: “Gee! There’s absolutely nothing here but there are something over here.” Still, getting to know a little more about that can be really helpful. Then another thing that can help is to pump but pumping can also be a liar because different moms, we tend to never a let-down differently to baby than we do to a pump. So that’s some of the things that we’re looking at when we’re looking at and that will give the true milk supply.
There is a rule in lactation. The number one rule from Linda Smith is: “Feed the baby.” Then the second rule is: “The mother knows.” Then the third rule is: “If you think the mother doesn’t know, go back and read number two again. The mother knows.”
LEILANI WILDE: All that you said is great and sometimes moms are still sabotaging themselves when they think that their baby’s constantly at the breast right? They’ll think: “Well, my baby’s always hungry.” What else could that be if it’s not a low milk supply?
DAWN KERSULA: Yes, babies can be hungry. But they can also have lots of other things that they are trying to tell us like: “My belly is awfully full and I don’t know how to tell you about it.” There’s an awful lot going on in this household today and I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t like it when you got the TV on. That little blue light on your phone that keeps picking up, it’s 2:33 in the morning – so many other different things that are going on.
They also know that there are growth spurts – days when they’re awful something called wonder days. When babies just seem to be making developmental leaps and sometimes getting the milk supply up is a part of that. Also there’s another thing that happens right around at six weeks. That’s where the baby starts doing a lot less often because they’re actually becoming more mature like somewhere between six to eight weeks. The baby’s also starting to nurse for shorter amounts of time.
Part of that has to do with the fact that we get more fishes that are throwing up milk right into the baby’s mouth. We’ve got our let-downs. But babies also become more efficient. But the other thing that happens with that pool is that: “Moms actually go from an endocrine control of lactation to an autocrine control of lactations.”
So what happens is: “My breasts don’t feel full anymore. They’re like, what is going on with that?” So that’s another time that it can really fool us. Then the other thing that we’ve talked about a little bit already is: “I always find this very interesting was – in Australia for many years, mothers found their biggest problem was too much milk.”
Here in the United States we usually say: “Usually things that are problem is not enough milk.” I mean one of the biggest difference is: “How much support we get for postpartum for the village?”
LEILANI WILDE: You know sometimes moms can help determine what their baby is doing at the breast by doing like a pre-impost feed weight check. Maybe at a local breastfeeding support group or something like that.
DAWN KERSULA: Absolutely!
LEILANI WILDE: When they are concern because a lot of times, when visit maybe not enough, it maybe just a snapshot of just maybe the baby wasn’t particularly hungry at that moment. But maybe the next feed would be able to have super large feeds.
So sometimes taking in to everything into consideration not just one thing and dwelling on that. But a lot of times the instincts of the mother reaching out to ask or question her situation with an experienced lactation consultant should be helpful in determining whether or not that baby really does struggle at the breasts.
DAWN KERSULA: Absolutely!
LEILANI WILDE: Great! When we come back, we will discuss with Dawn how to choose the right Galactagogues and which ones you might want to avoid. We will be right back.
LEILANI WILDE: Welcome back to the show. We are here with IBCLC Dawn Kersula and we are talking about: “Popular Galactagogues and their impact on milk supply.” Dawn, what are the most common or popular galactagogues used today?
DAWN KERSULA: You know this is going to be very interesting because I hope that your listeners are going to call in and tell you what they have been using. Because this is another thing we don’t know nationwide or worldwide what’s number one. I’m guessing that mother’s milk tea is probably right up towards to the top.
This is very region-specific is what I found. So I’m going to give you like some of the top three in this area for herbs and foods and then go on in some of the favorite herbal tea [inaudible 00:24:08-09] that are used at least in my area. So mother’s milk tea I would say is probably number one.
Jack Newman’s recipe for fenugreek and blessed thistle is probably another one of the favorites. I do speak around the country. So this is one I hear about everywhere. I was actually very surprised. I was in Kansas City and someone was asking me like: “How much Fenugreek and blessed thistle I told mothers to take when they get back to work?” I said: “I never told them that.”
She said: “People can go back to work and not do that?” Well, they can but that’s probably one of the favorites. It’s Fenugreek and blessed thistle. It does bother some people’s stomach as Bethany was saying earlier and it just didn’t make her feel good.
Actually, that’s two of many of these galactagogues. Shatavari is very, very popular in this area. I don’t know what’s popular in your area. It’s actually called the herb for women who have a thousand husbands because it can also raise your libido. Moms in this area have had very, very good luck with Shatavari.
Oats is also very popular in this area both as let’s have a nice big bowl of oats with cinnamon and maple syrup. Put up maple syrup in the morning but also in lactation cookie. Lactation cookies are moms around here like to make their own. So very often they’ll have oats [inaudible 00:25:42] brewed in cinnamon. I can certainly remember taking [inaudible 00:25:45] with my baby. I said: “That is one of my favorite galactagogues.”
LEILANI WILDE: Well, how do you know which ones to use? There are so many out there to choose from. Do you just kind of randomly pick in the bottle kind of things and go: “This one works.” Do you have like a step-by-step process on how to choose or pick one that’s going to work better for you? How long should you stick to it?
DAWN KERSULA: I know this is such a complicated issue in so many ways. But if we’re back to Linda Smith Rules: “That the mother knows.” If mom starts to think about: “What is it that I’m trying to target here?” So I would say that if you’re saying to yourself: “I’m not sure what’s going on here. I just feel like I can probably pump up my supply.”
I would say: “Why not make yourselves some cookies or have a big bowl of oatmeal in the morning?” Because that’s something that you might already have in the house where you’re not going to have to go out and buy something and be expensive that might not work. So I would definitely start with something like oatmeal.
If you didn’t have breast changes during pregnancy, I will definitely get yourself online and I’ll take a look at Finding Sufficiency and looking at insufficient glandular tissues and some of the information that we have out there. A situation like that, you might be looking at something like Goat’s Rue.
That would be something where if you got insulin resistance and you had gestational diabetes – that would be something worth taking to look at. Oatmeal is also going to help with that one. Mother’s milk tea is something that if you like the taste of it, it tastes a lot like licorice so if that’s something that you’d like. You usually need to drink about a quarter of that a day.
But you can get a pretty bad taste of diarrhea if you start taking more than that. So if you start taking that and you start smelling like maple syrup because that’s when you know that you’re in the right clinical amounts. That’s considered to be – your sweat and your pee will start smelling maple syrup if you’re going to get the right amount of Fenugreek.
If you would go four or five days on those and you realize: “Yes. This is starting to make a difference” then you’re good to go. Usually up to 10 days with the Fenugreek either mother’s milk tea or in capsules is considered pretty good. So that would be for either insulin resistance or just be in general.
If your baby didn’t get to the breast early and often in the hospital, you might be looking at doing something with your – making sure that your prolactin is still in your system and staying in your system a little bit longer to work on those receptors. So in those situations, you might try Shatavari. That might be a good choice.
Then, if you’re really having a hard time with your let-down, with your pumping and you haven’t have time with just sort of feeling on the ball in general, mother’s milk tea is not a bad thing. Oatmeal is not a bad thing. Starting yourself on some fenugreek and blessed thistle and again thinking about: “What is the main reason you are doing this?”
LEILANI WILDE: Bethany, I know that you’ve mentioned earlier that you had tried oatmeal and fenugreek. Was there any other ones that you had tried?
BETHANY DUNNY: I did the oatmeal. Almonds was another one that was high on the food you should eat list. So I would have my big bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and almonds. Drink it with my morning mother’s milk tea while I’m taking my capsules of Fenugreek at the same time.
It got down to the point where I was eating the oatmeal every day. If I cut the other three or four things out that I was doing, the oatmeal was making somewhat a bit different. I would feel fuller. But the fenugreek hurt my stomach and I love black licorice. So the tea was not an issue. But the more I drink it and took it would hurt my stomach.
I noticed that Elliot was fuzzy especially with the Fenugreek. As soon as I stopped taking it, a day later he’s fuzziness went away. So that was something for me. The oatmeal helped a little bit. But the other things just made my stomach hurt and made his stomach hurt I would imagine.
So those are the things that I stopped. I kept drinking the tea a little bit. But mostly I just kept eating oatmeal.
LEILANI WILDE: Are there any ones that we should avoid and why should we avoid them?
DAWN KERSULA: There’s actually a really nice article online by Frank Nice. He is a pharmacist. It’s called: “Common herbs and foods uses galactagogues.” I’m just going to give you a couple of the things that I happen to know about and also some of the things that I read in here that are sort of representative of things to be thinking about.
One of them is like fenugreek. If you have a [inaudible 00:31:04-05] allergy or a peanut allergy or chickpeas – the way things like green peas, you should stay away from fenugreek. You should stay away from blessed thistle if you are allergic to things in the daisy family. Obviously, if you have an oat allergy and some people do, you should stay away from that.
Another thing that is very popular in Eastern European countries as galactagogues like I’m Polish and my son spent time in Poland. He’s very into Nettle Tea. But he’s very careful about where he gets Nettles from because nettles actually take up heavy metals in the soil. So if you think about how we’ve all have to become more careful about where our rice comes from because they put rice [inaudible 00:31:52] into places where contaminated with heavy metals.
But you’re going to have to be pretty careful about where your nettle is coming from here in the United States. I wouldn’t just go to the drugstore and buy something that says: “It’s safe” because they’re not always safe. You want something that’s okay by the US [inaudible 00:32:13] or a quality herb whenever possible.
So I would say: “Don’t buy the cheapest one. Buy something like a co-op is very often it would be a place where you’ll be able to get something that’s a good quality.”
LEILANI WILDE: Okay. Well thank you. Thank you so much Dawn and Bethany for sharing this helpful information about how to recognize a low milk supply and how to choose galactagogues to protect your breastfeeding relationship with your baby.
For our Boob Group Club Members, our conversation will continue after the end of the show. As Dawn will discuss: “Prescription galactagogues or why or when it is necessary to choose it.” For more information about our Boob Group Club, please visit our website at www.NewMommyMedia.com.
SUNNY GAULT: All right, it is time for our segment called: “Mama Hacks” where you guys are able to send us your breastfeeding and pumping hacks, things that you have discovered over time in breastfeeding and pumping for your babies and little tips that you want to give to other mothers out there.
I’m going to totally butcher this name. I’m so sorry. I think it’s Kathja. Sorry if that is wrong.
But she says: Learn about hand expression during pumping and breastfeeding to maximize yield efficiency and fat content. This makes a tremendous difference and can even increase your overall milk supply over time. -Kathja. We’ve talked about hand expression different times here on Boob Group. But Leilani, I love to get your perspective on it and just the overall importance of hand expression.
LEILANI WILDE: Well hand expression can be super helpful in the first few days. If for some reason your baby was sent to the NICU and you’re separated. Well, the hospital will tell you: “Maybe you need to start pumping.”
Well actually, if you do hand expressions, you’ll remove a lot more colostrums. You have a lot better production than you would have you just used a pump. So the first two days, super important hand expression if you are separated from your baby. On the other note, if you are breastfeeding and you notice that your baby is slowing down on the suck and swallow, start massaging and you’ll start moving more milk.
It makes the baby more active which how our bodies work as the baby demands that’s how our supply is created. So it’s about demand first then the supply follows. So the more you get the baby to suck, the better milk is removed, the more it gets replaced. So it is super helpful. It is right about the fat content is near the end of your cycle. So when you’re massaging and moving that out, you’re actually creating more fat-intake for the baby.
SUNNY GAULT: You know I remember right after my twins were born like you said, “It was in that first three days.” My full milk supply hasn’t come in but I have a lot of colostrums. I remember I had to do a lot of hand expression because the baby’s were preemies and they’re 35 week or so not super preemie and they didn’t have to go to the NICU. But they were still not quite able to latch and I was holding them at the breast. We’re doing a lot of skin-to-skin but there wasn’t a lot of transfer of milk.
So I remember doing a lot of hand expression and the nurse coming in. I’m sure lactation consultants too coming in and showing me exactly how to do it. I remember getting like this little cup. I mean it’s not a very big cup. It’s like the stuff they put like medicine – the pills and stuff in. I remember on squeezing into that. They made me feel like the queen of the world because they’re like: “You have all these colostrums. This is so fantastic.” I want to run around screaming: “Look what I did.” The fat content that’s important because the babies don’t need a lot of milk obviously in the beginning of those first three days. But they probably do need, they need substance and it’s probably important that-that colostrum has that fat content in there, right?
LEILANI WILDE: Well, yes. A part of that is true but it is just removing as much colostrum as possible and expression will remove more colostrums than pumping in the first few days. Yes.
SUNNY GAULT: All right, well thanks so much for submitting this.
LEILANI WILDE: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to The Boob Group.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Newbies for newly postpartum moms
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with infants and toddlers
• Twin Talks, for parents with multiples.
Thanks for listening to The Boob Group: “Your judgment-free breastfeeding resource.”
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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