Let’s chat about pumping and breastfeeding! When I mentioned on social media that I was going to write a post highlighting these topics - the responses and questions came flooding in! This made me even more excited to share all the tips and information I have gathered as a new mom who is both pumping and breastfeeding. I was also inspired to do my due diligence to you by researching before sharing my thoughts to make sure my post had accurate information to back it up. I want to preface by saying, there is ultimately no right or wrong way to feed your baby. Mamas, do what you feel is right for your family - health, convenience, and logistics wise. A baby who is fed is the most important thing, so however you achieve that, whether it be with breast milk, formula, or both- if it works for y’all, it’s wonderful!
If you’re just finding me from this post…Hi! My name is Libby! I’m a certified personal trainer , a women’s fitness and nutrition specialist, and a first time mom with a pretty heavy supply of milk! I hope my post can help you out whether you currently have a baby, are currently pregnant, or are planning to have a baby in the future (especially if you are wanting to pump or breastfeed)! My baby boy, Luca, is 3.5 months right now - wow time flies. He’s eating about 5.5 ounces every 2 to 2.5 hours. I am pumping the majority of his milk as we are primarily bottle feeding him right now. I will nurse him at least once a day so that my breastmilk is more customized to his needs. Read here for more information about the transfer of antibodies. I have found for me personally that pumping helps me to feel that I am getting the most out of the milk that I am producing. It allows me to measure how much milk Luca is getting which gives me peace of mind, and it allows for both my husband and I to feed him when he is hungry. Right now, I’m pumping 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, and night), and I produce about 5-8 ounces from each breast, typically pumping for 15-20 minutes each session. I total around 35 ounces a day which is a bit more than his daily intake. I’ll freeze about 3 to 4 bags a week.
In this post I’m going to cover the key topics that I feel have created a positive experience while pumping and aid in milk production:
~ Devices and Other Tips
So let’s get to the milk supply tips because I know that’s what you’re here for!
1. Multivitamin: I am currently taking a “Postpartum Multivitamin” that says it “promotes healthy lactation, provides postpartum nutritional support, increases energy, improves mood, and helps prevent postpartum hair loss. I can say with almost certainty that it has done everything listed above for me. My hair has been stronger than ever, I thankfully did not experience PPD (postpartum depression), and I feel like the nutrients in the multivitamin have not only strengthened my milk supply, but have ensured that my breast milk contains the proper nutrients for my baby.
In my research, it said that Vitamins C and E are important for lactation.
C because it is a normal component of breast milk and a key milk antioxidant.
E because babies are born with low stores of Vitamin E, so it's vital they receive their daily dosage from breastmilk or fortified formula.
Discount code “LIBBY” at checkout will save you 10% off of this supplement ( I think it’s currently 40% off already so it should stack)
2. I was taking a supplement called Pump It Up - and shared it with some of you, but after doing some research on the ingredients - I decided to not use it anymore. It has an ingredient in it called “motherwort leaf” and I’m seeing some mixed reviews about taking it while breastfeeding. SO - take that one at your own risk. It has 500 mg of fennel seed which I believe is the ingredient that helps with the lactation (because that’s the mutual ingredient in Pump it Up and my other vitamin). If anything, maybe including an extra fennel seed supplement will help. I did see a slight increase in my milk supply when taking this, but again, I don’t want to advise you take this after seeing more of the research on it.
3. Aminos: I take a supplement called Essentials (linked here) which is an amino and branch chain amino acid supplement. It contains all 9 essential amino acids necessary to complete protein synthesis.
Aminos (both BCAA’s and EAA’s are not only the “major components of milk proteins but are also nitrogenous precursors for the synthesis of glutamate, glutamine, alanine, and aspartate in the mammary gland.” Here’s the article I got this info from that supports and explains why BCAA’s and EAA’s are important for lactation.
I drink one scoop of these a day with a scoop of Glutamine to help with my muscle recovery, immunity and gut health.
4. Electrolytes: There’s a difference in drinking enough water and actually getting properly hydrated. You may be drinking enough water, but you may not be actually replenishing the minerals you lose during breastfeeding. My favorite electrolytes are: Replenish (Bowmar Nutrition), Hydrate (Coffee Over Cardio), pure coconut water (Costco brand) and LMNT.
5. Protein: I drink about 2 scoops of protein a day. I am actually counting my macros right now, which means I’m actually intaking about 200 grams of protein which is wild and seems like it’s impossible to reach, but somehow we get there! I’ll talk more about what foods I actually take in later in the blog, but when it comes to protein supplements, I drink both vegan and whey protein powder and collagen powder. My protein has about 20g of protein per scoop and (combined with essential amino acids to complete the protein synthesis) collagen has 18g of protein. Linked here.
You can read more about how a protein rich diet can support lactation from this article here.
Alright now let’s chat about foods that support lactation. A key factor I’ve found from talking to moms on social media is that they are not eating enough. You HAVE to be eating enough. From what I’ve read, mothers breastfeeding should be eating at least about 1800 calories. Sometimes, that can be super easy - I don’t know about you, but I’m always hungry! However, it can also prove to be pretty challenging at times being a new mom while running around doing so many new tasks each day. So, if you’re struggling with lactation - take a look at your diet and see how much you’re eating. I won’t list all the healthy food that websites will list for you. You can find a good one here. What I will share are foods that I have been consuming that link to supporting healthy lactation:
~ Oats (for their great source of iron)
~ Lean meats: chicken breast/tenderloins, pork loin, and chicken sausage
~ Herbs and spices: garlic, ginger, basil, and fennel
~ Seeds and nuts: almonds, chia, flaxseed, walnuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds
~ Omegas: salmon, avocado, walnuts, and eggs
~ Leafy greens: spinach, kale, and spring mix (for their micronutrient properties like vitamin C)
Here’s an example of what I would eat & drink in a day:
Morning drink (greens, reds, glutamine, electrolytes, and essential aminos)
Coffee + creamer
2 protein waffles with protein cashew butter + a protein shake
2 eggs + 2 chicken sausage links + mashed sweet potatoes + spinach
3 postpartum vitamins, vitamin c, b complex, omegas
Berry + Oat Collagen Smoothie
Salmon Salad with walnuts and lots of veggies (in my veggie chopper)
Vanilla Protein Creami
3 more postpartum vitamins, magnesium
There is not any link or website to site about this one, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Taking good care of you and your needs is important - and I feel our body responds well to us when we do that.
Some of these things are: taking warm showers, massaging our breasts, applying nipple cream/butter after we pump or feed, sex - and making sure he’s pleasing YOU, and most of all SLEEP. I know most of these are hard to come by but I strive to do these things when I have the time, and for some reason felt like I needed to share them in case they have some sort of correlation.
Pumping / Feeding Quick Tips
Power Pumping: Think interval training but for your pumping. Read more here.
Increasing your pumping/feeding sessions: maybe try and pump every 3 to 4 hours for a week or just adding an extra session at night
Changing your flange size (I had to increase my size and that helped so much)
Try out a new pump! From best to worst pumps I tried:
Baby Buddha (classic and cups): the suction is the best for me and I love that I can walk around and multi task while I pump
Motif Luna: was very reliable
Spectra S2: reliable but it had to stay plugged in
Medela Swing: didn’t have a screen, suction was in and out, not reliable
Finally, talk to a lactation consultant
I have developed such a passion for not only pregnancy and postpartum health and fitness, but also WELLNESS. This sounds cheesy, but do not let your milk supply amount define you or get you down about your ability to provide for your baby. It’s amazing what our bodies can do, and seem to know just what our child needs (and sometimes it may not be our breastmilk and that’s okay)! However, it never hurts to try all the things you can to help your body with the process! I hope these tips and information have been helpful for you, mama.
Feel free to message me on IG if you have any questions about this! Comment here if you have any other suggestions, and be sure and subscribe to get notified about more posts here. I have so enjoyed writing this and it’s inspired me to write so many more! Until then - keep glowin’ mama!