The smell of a newborn…I don’t know that anything beats it. The combination of milky breath from a recent breastfeeding session and the softest, smoothest skin smells like pure love.
For some mothers though, that milky breath smell doesn’t come so easily. Breastfeeding can be tough. Some women struggle to produce enough milk for their little ones. Sure there is the option of using formula, but supplementing with it can actually lead to further milk supply issues if not done carefully and just end up compounding the problem. There is also the option of supplementing with donated breastmilk, which can be a wonderful and natural option for women who are not able to produce enough on their own. Again though, if not done correctly this can create an even larger supply deficit for mama. If baby is getting their food elsewhere and not sending those hunger cues to mama’s body, mama’s milk supply will suffer.
So what other options are there?
Take a good long look at your diet. What are you eating? Yes, some women can produce enough milk while living off of hot dogs and Twinkies, but that should never be our goal. We are what we eat. As mothers, we can only produce milk that contains the vitamins and minerals that we get ourselves. If we don’t have enough and our bodies start to break down our own tissues to have enough for our milk supply, we end up feeling the results of a body that is breaking down. We feel tired, we feel sluggish, we feel sick. That isn’t something you want to be concerned with when you are busy looking after a newborn. You need to take care of yourself, and that includes making sure that your diet is optimal. This benefits both mom and baby.
Are you getting enough fluids, and what is the source of those fluids? Are you getting enough water, or is it all sugary drinks? This can make a huge difference. Breastmilk is a liquid, so if you are not drinking enough in a day for your body to produce liquid gold, then you are fighting an uphill battle. Your body needs water. If you don’t like water, try adding a little lemon or infusing it with other fresh fruits and herbs. Processed sugary drinks and alcohol will dehydrate your system, so you need to focus on adding more of the good stuff.
Speaking of adding herbs to water…we need to talk about blessed thistle, aka holy thistle. This wonderful herb has been used to increase milk supply for many generations. More benefits of blessed thistle include curing headaches and easing digestive discomfort, both of which can be added bonuses for mama. If you are struggling with milk supply, drinking blessed thistle tea can make an amazing difference. Drinking at least 3 cups of this tea warm throughout the day will increase your fluid intake and boost milk supply. If you aren’t ready for an herbal tea yet, consider taking it in capsule or tincture form.
This herb works so well that it can even build a milk supply in adoptive mothers. Dr. Christopher helped more than one woman successfully nurse an adoptive child, even for women who had never had a child of their own. He had these women focus on a good healthy diet while drinking plenty of blessed thistle tea. In a short amount of time, these selfless women were able to nurse the babies that had become part of their families. Even just thinking about these examples warms my heart.
Nursing a newborn is definitely not always easy, but it is incredibly rewarding. There are many times that I feel sorry for my husband because he will never experience that connection or the look that my son gives me while breastfeeding. There is no feeling in the world like what a mother feels gazing at her nursing baby, knowing that they are being nourished by her alone. Her body built that baby, her body birthed that baby, and her body can feed that baby. We just need to trust in the process and trust that as women, we were built to do this. You got this, mama!
If you find that you are struggling when it comes to optimizing your diet and lifestyle for breastfeeding, I would be happy to chat one and one during a virtual wellness consultation.