Having a frozen supply of Breastmilk can be the ultimate game-changer for all nursing moms. Some women enjoy nursing in public but for me, it was always a struggle, which meant I had to revolve my day to day schedule around my baby’s nursing needs. This ultimately made me feel resentful about my entire Breastfeeding experience. I set a goal for myself to give my baby breastmilk only for at least her first year and anyone who knows me knows I will do anything to accomplish what I set my mind to.
Below you’ll find my “Itsy Mistakes” and my “Brittsy Tips” for how I exclusively breastfeed my baby while still being able to store over 35 ounces of pumped milk each day. I should add that I am in no way, shape or form a Lactation specialist nor am I certified in any way. All of my tips come from hours of research & lots of trial and error.
Itsy Mistake #1: Allowing My Baby to Favor One Breast Over the Other
Soon after my milk supply came in, my left breast became very sore and felt extremely hard. It was as if I had rocks shoved inside my bra. I later found out that I had a clog, but being new to breastfeeding, I had no idea what was happening. Being in so much pain on my left side caused me to only latch my baby on my right. Long term this created my left side to coin the infamous nickname “slacker boob.” I still pumped out the left side in hopes to relieve my pain, but what I didn’t know was that the best way to unclog a clogged duct is to allow your baby to nurse on that side.
Brittsy Tip #1 : Nurse on Both Sides Each Feeding
I was told by hospital staff to always offer both sides during feedings, but some friends of mine have been told to just alternate between each side when nursing. Ironically, those friends seemed to have a supply issue. With that being said, I highly recommend nursing your baby on both sides, each feeding. I kept a journal of what side my baby started nursing on and how long she fed on each side. That way, during each nursing session, I knew what side I started on the last feeding.
Brittsy Tip #2: Contact a Lactation Specialist
If you are having issues getting your baby to latch or if your baby is favoring one side, call your insurance company and ask for information about a lactation specialist near you. We had a company come to our house and it was the best thing we ever did. Within two minutes of latching my baby onto my left side, the lactation consultation gave me corrections to achieve the proper latch. With that minor correction, I instantly felt relieved while my baby was nursing on the left side.
Itsy Mistake #2: Eating Lactation Cookies Around the Clock
Since I was so into upping my milk supply, I had my mom make me homemade lactation cookies and although the cookies helped my milk supply, they weren’t helping me fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. This was when I knew I had to research other options.
Brittsy Tip #1: Liquid IV
If you research about upping your milk supply, many people will tell you to drink a lot of water. A family friend gave me such good advice before I had Josi. I was told to always have a glass of water nearby during feeding because breastfeeding will make you thirsty. With that being said, I made myself drink 12-24 oz of water every couple of hours. However, all that water intake caused me to feel bloated and suppressed my appetite. Some breastfeeding moms like to drink Gatorade or Body Armor which are full of electrolytes which have shown to also increase supply. I started drinking Body Armor 4-5x a day and it did contribute to an increase in my breastmilk production, but since these drinks are full of sugar, in the long run, it wasn’t the best solution. That was when I found out about Liquid IV. Even though Liquid IV contains 11 grams of sugar, it’s still better than the 36 grams the other sport drinks contained. I began adding Liquid IV to my water 3x a day and had great results.
Brittsy Tip #2: Upspring Milkflow Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle Powder
Once Josi stopped cluster feeding (which all us moms know can be such a trying time), I started using Upspring Drink mix. A friend of mine who also just had a baby, told me about this product. I didn’t mind the taste of it but since she wasn’t a huge fan, she told me she added this supplement to her morning shakes. I was so thrilled with the results that I shared my success on a Facebook Group for Breastfeeding moms. Although, I thought people would applaud me for my recommendation, a lot of moms jumped down my throat. Some studies have shown that Fenugreek can cause the opposite affect for some women which means it essentially dried up their milk supply. However, for me, the exact opposite happened. I noticed an increase in supply after only two days of using this product. I highly suggest this product to any moms who are struggling to up their supply.
Brittsy Tip #3: Sunflower Lection
By adding supplements to your daily routine, you may find yourself experiencing your first clogged duct. This can be extremely painful and can even lead to Mastitis (a painful infection of breast tissue) which is caused by a clogged milk duct. Unfortunately, I experienced Mastitis three times which led me to slow down the number of supplements I was taking. One of my mom friends suggested I take Sunflower Lection which helps keep your ducts from clogging. Once I started taking this supplement, I never had a clog again. I wish someone told me about this sooner, but I am glad I can help other mamas not experience the same pain I did. And for any moms who have gotten Mastitis, you know the pain!
Brittsy Tip #4: Legendiary Milk Products
This company came upon an Instagram advertisement, so I started to follow their account. Not only does this company offer an awesome variety of supplements, but they also add daily tips and go Live on Instagram with professionals in this field. I learned so much by following along on Instagram and their supplements increased the number of ounces I was able to pump during each pump session. I went from pumping 2-3 oz to 6-8 every time I pumped. Keep in mind, the key to getting maximum output is to pump around the same time every day.
Itsy Mistake #3: Sleeping All Night When Your Baby Does
Josi started sleeping through the night at about 8 weeks old (I know, I got lucky). However, after sleeping all night long for about a week, my supply dropped. This was because your milk production is based upon “supply and demand.” If you’re not emptying your breasts, your body will start to adjust and make less milk during those periods that your baby isn’t nursing. As much as I loved my sleep, I researched and find out that your body produces the most milk during those late night/early morning feedings. For moms who aren’t worried about a freezer supply, you can enjoy all the extra sleep. You may wake up for a couple of weeks with rock-solid breasts, but eventually your body will slow down its nighttime production. However, if you are anything like me and want to add to your frozen supply or even keep your supply as is, you’ll want to follow my Brittsy Tips below.
Brittsy Tip #1: Pump Before Bed, Late Night and Early Morning
Once your baby starts sleeping through the night or for longer stretches, pump right before you go to bed, once in the middle of the night and again an hour or two before your baby wakes again. The key to adding these pump sessions is to stick to the same pump schedule as much as possible. For me that meant pumping between 9-10 PM, 1-2 AM and again between 4-5 AM. Those three tiresome pump sessions added 20-25 ounces to my frozen supply and that number doesn’t include the additional ounces I would pump out during that given day.
Brittsy Tip #2: Pour Hour Pumping
If you are super adamant about getting all the extra sleep you can and do not want to wake up to pump, you can give Power Hour pumping a try. The key to successful power hour pumping is to pick a time and stick to it for a week. I first gave power hour pumping a try when Josi was only about 6-8 weeks old. I found that between 5-7 PM, Josi was trying to latch on more than usual because my supply (just like many other breastfeeding moms) dropped during the evening hours. Since I was usually home alone with Josi, I picked a time when I knew my husband would be home. Every night around 6 PM, I power hour pumped for a week. There are different ways to get to the one hour mark but for me, I would pump for 20 minutes, rest 10, pump for 10, rest for 10 and then pump for another 10. You will find that during the first couple of days, you may not produce much milk at all. I remember jumping for joy when I was able to store close to 5 ounces early on but by the end of the week, I was able to double my output. Power hour pumping can be beneficial anytime you find your supply dropping.
Itsy Mistake #4: Allowing Your Body to Adjust to Your Babies New Feeding Schedule
Once Josi stopped cluster feeding and I stopped waking her every two hours to nurse (until she was 6 weeks old), she began nursing every 3-4 hours. I quickly noticed a drop in my supply and even more of a drop once we introduced her to food when she was about 4 months old. This goes back to the “supply and demand” concept we discussed earlier. My body was starting to regulate and adapt to my babies new nursing needs. However, since I knew what my supply was capable of producing, I knew I wanted to take advantage of this to up my frozen supply.
Brittsy Solution: Pump or Feed Your Baby Every Two-Three Hours
Instead of allowing my supply to adapt to Josi’s new feeding schedule, I set a goal to make sure I was emptying my breasts every 2 hours. Since my Medela Sonata Breastpump and Handsfree Pumping Bra, allowed me to carry the pump around while pumping hands free, I was able to pump even while Josi was awake or while playing with her. The key to adding pump sessions to your daily schedule is to pump around the same time every day. By trying to stick to a pumping schedule, you can trick your body in producing more milk during those times which in return will increase your output. Adding pump sessions to your day to day routine becomes easier as your baby gets older and the schedule begins to regulate.
Every Nursing Experience is Different
Everyone’s nursing experience is different. Many people in my life couldn’t understand why I revolved my day to day schedule around nursing and pumping for my baby. I sacrificed a lot of time and energy to educate myself to form a game plan that worked for us. I knew my breastfeeding journey was going to be a lot of work and there were many times I wanted to throw in the towel. However, I was not only able to persevere and go above & beyond my goal, but by having so much of a frozen supply, I was able to stop breastfeeding when Josi was almost 10 months old. Josi was still getting my breastmilk through a bottle but my body was no longer a slave to her nursing needs and I was able to slowly cut out pump sessions. By utilizing my “Brittsy Tips” above, I hope you can have the same success.
I encourage all nursing mamas to reach out to me with any questions.