Boost Your Breastmilk: Quality and Quantity. One of the most common problems I encounter with breastfeeding, after latching is supply problems. Many mothers are concerned how to improve their supply, or sustain it for as long as they want to feed their baby.
Eat regularly - you'll be hungry anyway as breastfeeding burns calories, but by eating a little protein and some complex carbohydrates every 3 hours, you'll keep your energy steady and supply your body with the calories it needs to produce milk.
Ideal snacks would be a piece of fruit and a few nuts, an oatcake with nut butter, cheese or ham on it, or some organic plain yoghurt with a sugar-free museli and some berries. All are quick to grab when you need them.
Eat plenty of oily fish, or supplement with Essential Fatty Acids. These are needed in abundance for your baby's growing brain and developing nervous system.
Drink regularly - you need to be properly hydrated to produce enough milk. Drinking water is also one of the quickest and cheapest ways to increase your energy.
Take a specific supplement such as Biocare's Lactation Formula - it will ensure you get all the specific nutrients you need for breastfeeding.
Use galactagogues. Galactagogues are herbs whose function is specifically to increase breastmilk quantity. I generally use a blend of the following three herbs:
Nettle is a galactagogue, but also a general tonic, improving energy in the mother but also enrishing the breastmilk with many minerals, and iron.
Oatstraw - a soothing, relaxing herb that also improves stamina and tonifies the reproductive organs - it's hard to think of anything more specific for a new Mum!
Borage - another galactagogue that completes this trio. In the old days, herbalists used to say "borage brings courage" - and I still use this herb for this purpose. In the context of breastfeeding, I think it's important, because breastfeeding is a big, very important job and it can take courage and determination to get it established and to sustain it for the 12 month period recommended by WHO and UNICEF.
Fennel is another galactagogue, which is commonly drunk on the continent for the duration of breastfeeding, and it has the added bonus of being indicated for colic. The properties of fennel will pass through the breastmilk and relax the digestive system of the baby, allowing any wind to pass through, rather than getting trapped and causing colicky pains.
As long as you're not taking any medication, or have a medical condition, then these herbs are indicated for anyone who would like to boost their breastmilk - otherwise please consult a qualified herbalist before you take any herbs.