increase milk supply Tag

The pumpkin spice news breastfeeding moms have been waiting for

Autumn is officially here, and that means it’s pumpkin spice season. While motherhood often means sacrificing things you love (like that tenth cup of coffee if you’re breastfeeding), one thing you don’t have to sacrifice this October is the flavor of fall. We all suspected there was magic in pumpkin spice, and it turns out, we weren’t wrong.

Pumpkin boosts breastmilk production

“Galactagogue” is one of our favorite words around here, and not just because it’s fun to say and sounds like a comic book villain. According to the National Institute for Health, “Galactagogues are synthetic or plant molecules used to induce, maintain, and increase milk production.” We’ve covered a few of them in past blog posts, and The Great Pumpkin falls into that celebrated food group, too.

How pumpkins benefit breastmilk

  • Pumpkins have antioxidant and antibacterial agents that improve the immune system of moms and babies.
  • The bright orange glow of a pumpkin marks it as a food rich in health-boosting nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin A, and potassium, and it’s a low calorie source of fiber.
  • Studies show that eating pumpkin and other galactagogues is significantly correlated to increased milk volume.

But it’s not just pumpkin that’s good for milk production…the spices are, too!

That’s right! Cinnamon is a traditional herbal treatment to enhance milk production. Cinnamon falls into a class of plants called “nervine herbs,” which means herbs that help reduce anxiety. As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, stress can impact milk production, so add a little cinnamon to your pumpkin to ease stress-causing anxiety.

Like cinnamon, ginger has a long history with breastfeeding moms. It many areas, it’s still given to women after childbirth to stimulate milk production. Research is underway, but at least one study has already returned some promising results, so throw a pinch of ginger in that pie!

Happy pumpkin spice season, mamas!

It was a long summer, and I think most of us are good and ready for fall. It’s time to rest and recuperate. Go ahead and enjoy a little hibernation, mama bear, and indulge in that pumpkin spice magic. You deserve it.

If you’re headed out and about to the coffee shop for your favorite fall brew, you’ll need a fashionable bag, and we think this Sarah Wells version is perfect for the fall! Pick yours up today while you’re here.beautiful breast pump bag for fall

 

woman wearing Elvie double breast pump

What is double pumping breastmilk and how do I do it?

What is double-pumping?

Double-pumping is exactly what it sounds like: using a breast pump that allows you to express milk from both breasts at the same time.

What are the benefits of double-pumping?

The most obvious benefit to double-pumping is the time savings. Rather than pumping one breast and then the other, you can pump both at once. Using a bra like the Medela Easy Expression™ bustier frees up your hands for other tasks, saving even more time. According to research conducted by Medela, double-pumping can save up to two hours per day compared to single-pumping.

In addition to saving time, double-pumping can boost the volume and nutritional value of your milk supply. Medela’s research showed that mothers who double-pumped produced on average 18% more milk volume than those who single-pumped each breast, and the milk from double-pumping had a higher energy content at 8.3% fat content compared with 7.3% fat content for single-pumping.

Double-pumping tips

  1. Stay relaxed. Stress inhibits the production of oxytocin, the key hormone for milk production, so try to maintain manageable expectations around breastfeeding and pumping. Worrying too much about milk production can actually harm milk production, so stay relaxed. We recommend meditation as a way to turn double-pumping sessions into a more calming experience.
  2. Massage your breasts before and after pumping. Speaking of relaxing, try using your fingertips to gently massage your breasts. You can lightly move from the top down to your nipples as well as in circular motions to loosen clogged ducts, soften firm areas, and encourage milk flow.
  3. Use a warm compress. Dampen a soft cloth with warm water and apply it to your breasts to further stimulate letdown and encourage milk flow.
  4. Adjust your breast pump to your own personal maximum comfort vacuum. Not too long ago, we wrote on the affect of suction intensity on milk supply. The main takeaway was the value in experimenting to find the optimal pump suction for your body. Finding that setting can lead to increased milk flow and higher cream content in your milk.
  5. Choose a strong, comfortable electric breast pump. Ideally, the pump you choose for double-pumping will have a strong suction and a comfortable fit as the combination of those two factors is critical to milk production.

Elvie Stride: the ultimate double-pumping time saver

Elvie, the woman-owned company that produces very cool femtech to make women’s lives easier, recently released their newest double breast pump The Stride. This lightweight, wearable pump fits into any standard nursing bra, and you can control it with a small remote. You can also pair The Stride with your smart phone using The Elvie Pump App, which allows you to track milk production and create setting preferences once you’ve found your personal maximum comfort vacuum. We love the Elvie Stride for double-pumping, and we think you will too.

Call or email us if you want more information on The Elvie Stride or double-pumping in particular. We’re always happy to hear from nursing moms.

top tips for breastfeeding and pumping

Top 7 tips for combining breastfeeding and pumping

Pumping offers a number of benefits to breastfeeding mamas. Most nursing moms experience engorgement at some point. Pumping almost instantly relieves the pressure of engorged breasts. Worried about your breastmilk supply? Pumping stimulates milk production and allows you to store away milk for a future feeding – maybe even netting you a day at the spa (or work if that’s your thing). Pumping also allows your partner and other family members and caregivers to feed your little one, and you can even donate your extra milk to moms who aren’t able to breastfeed.

Use the following tips to help you make the most of your pumping sessions without interfering with those special skin-to-skin feedings.

#1 Breastfeed on demand when possible

Pumping will never replace the special bonding that happens when you nurse your baby, and on demand nursing actually boosts production during your pumping sessions. So go ahead and enjoy breastfeeding as your schedule allows.

#2 Pump frequently

Because breastmilk works by supply and demand, more pumping sessions means more breastmilk. Therefore, it’s a good idea to schedule 15─20 minute pumping sessions every three to four hours. Make the most of those sessions by double pumping.

#3 Avoid formula feedings

Formula is harder for infants to digest, which means it stays in their systems longer. That, in turn, means babies who are formula fed are hungry less frequently. Babies who aren’t hungry don’t breastfeed as often, and that interferes with the whole chain of supply and demand. In other words, the less your baby feeds, the less milk your body makes. If formula is a must, make sure to pump during formula feeding sessions to keep your milk supply up.

#4 Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Your breasts naturally produce breastmilk from water, carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins in your body. Therefore, less water in your body means less breastmilk when baby is hungry. Besides that, water is good for you, mama! Hydration is a struggle we all face, even when we’re not breastfeeding, but it’s especially important to hydrate when you’re drinking for two.

#5 Avoid dehydrating foods and drinks

Even if you drink an abundance of juice, milk, water, and other hydrating fluids, you’ll undo the good work if you’re also consuming foods and drinks that dehydrate you. High salt snacks and high sugar beverages are two culprits that contribute to dehydration. Meats also tend to dehydrate as do fried foods. And of course, alcohol, coffee, and tea can lead to dehydration, which may interfere with breastmilk production.

#6 Try meditation

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase relaxation, which can in turn boost breastmilk production by more than 60%! It also turns your pumping session into a self-care session, which will make you even more relaxed during those precious breastfeeding sessions.

#7 Choose your breast pump wisely

A comfortable breast pump is important to maintaining your pumping practice and will help to boost your milk supply. Conversely, an uncomfortable pump could cause you to throw in the towel early if the discomfort is too distracting. If you’re not sure which breast pump is right for you, get in touch with your friends at Milk N Mamas Baby. We can help you choose a pump that maximizes both your comfort and your breastmilk production.

woman meditating with baby

Meditation, breastfeeding, and mindful mamas

Being a mom is often overwhelming. It’s not easy being responsible for a whole other human (even less so when you’re responsible for a few of them). Moms frequently feel lost in a brain fog. Even though breastfeeding is linked to that feel good hormone oxytocin, it’s not uncommon to feel “touched out” after a day of nursing. Mindfulness meditation is one way to re-center yourself on those challenging days. And it may be good for breastmilk production, too.

What is mindfulness meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is exactly what it sounds like – a practice that combines meditation and mindfulness. Meditation is a centuries old practice that has been used in nearly every culture and religion to encourage calm, centeredness, focus, and awareness. In its most basic form, it is sitting or lying comfortably and focusing on your breath, a mantra, or a specific object. However, writing in a journal, walking, and breastfeeding can all become a meditative practice if you are practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply drawing your focus to the present moment and being fully involved in the experience of it.

The benefits of meditation for breastfeeding moms

Being a new mom can be a stressful time, especially when you’re juggling breastfeeding with work and other responsibilities. It’s not uncommon to feel exhausted and even depressed as a new mother. According to Mayo Clinic, meditation is a “simple, fast way to reduce stress” while cultivating inner peace. Research suggests that meditation helps to clear away information overload while offering a new perspective on stressful situations. It can reduce negative feelings while increasing patience. Research even suggests meditation may improve some medical conditions that are aggravated by stress, for example, anxiety, chronic pain, and tension headaches.

Meditation and breastmilk production

Notably, new research suggests that meditation may boost breastmilk production and even make pumping a more pleasant experience. How? The hormone oxytocin plays an important role in breastfeeding, as it triggers the let-down reflex and encourages mother-infant bonding. Studies show that stress hormones play a role in reducing milk production and inhibiting milk transfer by interfering with the production of oxytocin. According to one study, mindfulness meditation leads to the release of oxytocin in the brain, promoting a sense of well-being and stimulating bonding. More importantly to breastfeeding mothers, that release of oxytocin may stimulate breastmilk production.

Meditation while pumping for improved production

In another study, women who listened to a relaxation tape while pumping for twenty minutes a day had a 63% increase in milk production compared with the control group. Imagine that! Using your pumping session as an opportunity to meditate can boost your breastmilk production and improve your mood, your patience, and your stress levels.

How to practice mindfulness meditation while pumping

  1. GET COMFORTABLE. Find a cozy, quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. (This is a good time to call on your partner to run interference and protect your peace.) Attach your breast pump (or pumps if you are double-pumping) and find your maximum comfortable vacuum.
  2. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHING. Close your eyes and focus your attention on the rise and fall of your breath. Breathe in deeply, and when you release your breath, imagine stress and tension leaving your body.
  3. SCAN YOUR BODY. As you breathe in and out, scan your body from head to toe, noticing tension and letting it go. Keep breathing and allow your attention to your breathing to ground you if your mind begins to wander.
  4. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. You have many distractions in your life right now, many responsibilities, and your brain is likely to try to tiptoe back to those thoughts that cause you stress. That’s okay. Make a note of the thoughts and then gently bring your attention back to your breathing.
  5. REPEAT DAILY. For maximum rewards, repeat this practice at least twice a day for twenty minutes each.

A comfortable breast pump is important for this practice as it won’t distract you or cause discomfort. If you’re not sure which breast pump is right for you, get in touch with your friends at Milk N Mamas Baby. We can help you choose a pump that maximizes both your comfort and your breastmilk production.

How does suction intensity affect my milk supply?

How does suction intensity affect my milk supply?

How is breast pump suction measured?

If you check the product description of your favorite breast pump, you’ll see the suction documented as mmHG, or millimeters of mercury. The more mmHG, the more intense the suction. At Milk N Mamas Baby, we carry breast pumps with a range of suction intensity, from the Medela at a maximum strength of 240 mmHG to the BabyBuddha at a whopping 320 mmHG of maximum strength. In between, are Luna at 280 mmHG and Spectra at a maximum strength of 270 mmHG.

Main Takeaway: Breast pump suction, or vacuum, usually falls between 220 and 350 mmHG.

Is a breast pump with a stronger suction intensity better?

Suction does play a role in milk production. A study published in Breastfeeding Medicine analyzed the effect of strength of suction on the flow rate and volume of breastmilk using an electric breast pump. Mothers participating in the study expressed breastmilk for 15 minutes using a pump set at their own maximum comfortable vacuum. Then, they expressed at softer vacuums. The study found that milk flow was greater at the maximum comfortable vacuum, and cream content was higher.

Main takeaway: Pumping at the highest intensity you’re comfortable with is likely to lead to increased milk flow and cream content.

Maximum comfortable vacuum may vary from one mother to another (or even from one feeding session to another)

It hardly needs to be said that every mother is different and, therefore, every mother’s maximum comfortable vacuum will also be different. However, your maximum comfort vacuum may change from day to day and even from feeding session to feeding session. While pumping at your maximum comfort vacuum can increase flow, pumping at an uncomfortable suction can hinder milk flow. If a suction level is set too high, it can cause breast tissue to compress, which can block the flow of milk ducts and potentially irritate them. Furthermore, if the suction level is uncomfortable, your body is less likely to produce the oxytocin that helps stimulate letdown.

Main takeaway: Increase your suction intensity until it is just slightly uncomfortable, and then back it down to find your own, personal maximum comfort vacuum.

Talk to our consultants to learn more about the breast pump most likely to meet your needs

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we know that different moms need different pumping solutions. We’ve had years of experience helping all kids of moms find the best breast pump for their circumstances. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you find a breast pump that meets your needs and your budget. Many of our pumps are 100% covered by insurance.

Pamper breastfeeding moms with these breakfast in bed options

Breakfast in bed is the iconic Mother’s Day gift

Moms know better than anyone that food is love. That’s why we take the time to cut the crust off of sandwiches and to set the table for a healthy family dinner. That’s why a lot of mothers choose to breastfeed their babies for as long as possible. Breastfeeding is the ultimate act of food as love. A mother’s milk is the most nutritious source of vitamins and minerals a little one can get. Therefore, offering a nursing mom a healthy breakfast in bed is really the gift that keeps on giving. You’re giving her rest and nutrients, both of which can boost milk supply.

Which foods benefit breastmilk production?

Galactagogues is a fancy word that means milk-boosters.

And it probably comes as no surprise that your best bet when breastfeeding is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, including the following:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Animal and plant protein sources
  • Healthy fats, i.e., polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats

With that in mind, a perfect breakfast in bed for nursing moms might include something from each category. Take a look at some of our favorite suggestions and mix and match to suit the tastebuds of the mom in your life.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Spring is a great time to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet because there are so many delicious varieties in season. How about mixing up a fruit salad for mom with the following spring fruits:

  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Kumquats
  • Strawberries
     

    Fresh fruits are a great addition to a nursing mom’s breakfast.

Whole grains

Whole grains are a great source of fiber. They also contain nutrients important for keeping moms and breastfeeding babies healthy, such as B vitamins, iron, folate, and potassium. That makes oatmeal a perfect breakfast treat for moms. Try this delicious, lactation-boosting recipe for Oatmeal Stout Crockpot Coffee Cake from mom blogger The Leaky Boob.

These oatmeal stout crockpot cookies by mom-blogger The Leaky Boob are delicious and milk-boosting!

Animal and plant protein sources

Protein is a critical building block for new tissues and organs, making it a necessity for growing babies. Adequate protein intake also ensures mom’s body will recover from labor and delivery quickly. The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends nursing mothers get at least 65 grams of protein per day, or two to three servings. Try including one of the following in mom’s breafast in bed to get her off on the right foot:

  • Omelet, quiche, or other egg-based dish (extra points for adding spring vegetables like green onions and asparagus)
  • Smoked salmon
  • Nut butter on whole grain toast
  • Yogurt parfait with fresh fruit

Healthy fats

Dietary fats give your body energy and support cell growth, making them essential for breastfeeding moms. These healthy fats will help baby gain weight while aiding in brain development. Fortunately, a lot of the fruits and vegetables, protein sources, and whole grains also include a healthy amount of fat. The avocado on avocado toast, for instance, is about 77% fat, and 62% of the calories in eggs come from fat. However, you can also add a little dark chocolate to mom’s breakfast in bed to give her a daily dose of healthy fat, fiber, iron, and even antioxidants! Try this recipe for Dark Chocolate Apricot Lactation Cookies from Sunkissed Kitchen if you want to treat mom to cookies for breakfast.

Send us a photo of your favorite mom enjoying breakfast in bed!

We’d love to see the delicious meal you prepared for your favorite mom this Mother’s Day. Tag us on our Instagram account at @milknmamasbaby to show us.

mother use breast pump to get breast milk and sitting near the sleeping newborn

Can I increase my breastmilk supply by pumping?

Am I producing enough breastmilk?

Many mothers who are new to nursing worry that their milk supply may not meet their baby’s needs. Usually, the fear stems from the fact that newborns never seem to be full. The truth is that for the first month, you’re likely to be breastfeeding baby around the clock. It’s typical for newborns to nurse 8 to 12 times a day when they’re feeding on demand.

If you do feel you need to boost your milk supply, pumping can help.

Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis. As milk is removed from your breast, your body will create more. It doesn’t matter how the milk is removed, whether by baby or by breast pump. It only matters that your milk supply is regularly depleted. That means pumping can help to boost your milk supply.

Increase the frequency of pumping sessions to produce more milk.

Adding one or more pumping sessions to your regular breastfeeding or pumping routine will signal to your body to produce more milk. In addition to hormones, circadian rhythm plays a role in breast milk supply. For many women, their milk supply is most abundant in the morning, which makes an extra morning pumping session a great time to boost your supply.

What is cluster pumping?

Another way to use your breast pump to increase the volume of your milk supply is by cluster pumping. Cluster pumping is a technique used to create a continual stimulation of milk production by pumping every five minutes. Adding a session of cluster pumping to your morning, evening, or weekend schedule could help to boost your milk production.

Does pumping after nursing help with breastmilk supply?

It’s not uncommon for newborns to fall asleep while they’re nursing, which can leave milk in the breast. Using a breast pump to completely empty breasts of milk after a nursing session will stimulate your body to begin producing more milk.

Double pumping for more breastmilk.

A high-quality pumping bra makes it easy for nursing moms to pump both breasts at once, saving time and increasing the volume of milk produced. A good pumping bra and hands-free pump like the BabyBuddha or Elvie allow you to pump while you’re performing other tasks, making it easy and convenient to boost your milk supply.

Check out our large selection of breast pumps to find a breastfeeding solution that works for you. Not sure which pump to choose? Our consultants are here to help. Give us a call and explain your situation so we can identify a pump that meets your needs.