Note: This is not the only way to stock up a freezer full of breastmilk but rather to document how I did it, hopefully it will work for someone too – remember every woman is different and a method that worked for me might not work for you but it never hurts to try.
This story is TMI (too much info), especially talking about breasts and nipples – please don’t read it if you’re the type to get offended! 🙂
PART 1 : A Story + The Basics
When I became a mother for the first time, my knowledge of breastfeeding was VERY barebones. I attended a short course at the local clinic and basically that was it. My own mother could only breastfeed us for a short time as back then, maternity leave wasn’t as long as it is now. So I have to jump into it and learn on the go!
My ‘style’ is a combination of direct breastfeeding and by bottle. Don’t get me wrong, I love the whole idea of breastfeeding – healthy babies and promotes bonding.. but sometimes I’m just too impatient – bottle feeding is so much faster!
To be able to do that, I had to learn to express a lot of breastmilk. I learnt, I read, I tried and experimented, failed and tried something else until at 7 months old, my breastfeeding journey with Irfan ended. Although looking back now, then I stocked up was just average and sometimes struggling to even have stock for the next day.
Fast forward to our second child, I applied what worked and thankfully, I managed to express 12 oz in one sitting! Hopefully by sharing what worked for me would help you on your breastfeeding journey as well!
What you need
- Lots of water
- Hot ginger soups
- Hot drinks (especially Horlicks)
- Multivitamins (Daily, Calcium/Magnesium)
- A happy movie
- A consistent pumping schedule
1. Eat and drink enough!
You need to eat and drink to be able to make breastmilk, so make sure you eat fresh nutritious food. I survived on hot chicken ginger soup and some rice – every meal and every day for 40 days.
Some food might have an effect on babies such as cucumbers (may cause tummy aches), cabbages (gassy), too much ginger can also be ‘heaty’, eggs (may cause eczema), seafood and even coffee could also cause a reaction – please monitor your baby as I previously mentioned, every babies are different!
2. Drink like you’re walking on the desert
That’s it to say – drink a lot! Like no tomorrow! Drink gallons of water. This is how my drinking schedule is:
Every half an hour: Drink a glass of water
Every hour: make a hot drink – alternated between Milo and Horlicks
Drink milk – my fav is Pura brand, from my days in Australia..
If I’m not doing anything else, I drink water!
I drink my protein shake ESP every morning.
Followed by my hot coffee.
Then hot Horlicks
Water and more water and moreee…
Horlicks especially is a type of malt and helps a lot in boosting your milk production!
3. Swallow those pills
Start each day with a Daily multivitamin and at noontime a Calcium/Magnesium supplement. You might never know what your body is lacking. Maybe the reason why some women have difficulties expressing much breastmilk are lacking vitamins as their bodies are recovering from pregnancy and bloodloss from giving birth. To be on the safe side, eating these supplements will hopefully boost your milk production – plus the vitamins will also be absorbed by your baby too!
I read a tip once regarding Calcium/Magnesium supplement where if your period is due, some women suffer a low production of breastmilk, and by eating more Calcium/Magnesium their production goes back to normal.
4. Buy a breastpump you’re comfortable with
I’ve been using a manual Avent breastpump and I think what type it is doesn’t matter, however the method of expressing will play a greater role.
Pump slowly while your other hand squeezes and massages the breast. I’m not sure how to apply this method if using an electric breastpump tho. Send me a message on your own method – i’d love to read about it!
5. Be Happy
I think its difficult not to look at the bottle and see how much milk you’re pumping, but try not to. Don’t stress yourself – stress will only make you produce even less milk.
I tried this – one day I was watching Russell Peters (the comedian) while pumping. Without looking I didn’t notice until it started dripping, the bottle was full and overflowing! It was a 9oz bottle.
You can try anything: reading a magazine, a book but a movie is the easiest – your hands are busy pumping anyway to turn the page.
6. Be consistent
Pick a schedule to pump and stick to it. In the beginning, I did a 4 hr schedule and later on once we’ve past the 1 month mark, I did a 6-7 hr schedule so I could rest more.
When pumping, drain the breast until its very soft and not firm at all – if its still firm, there’s still milk in there. Think of it like a factory. The more your empty it, the more it gets restocked!
Alright, that’s all for this blogpost – I’ll cover my schedule in detail and more tips and things to avoid if you want good breastmilk production! Thanks for reading and I would love to hear back from you – what worked for you and what didn’t?