Before you read any further I want to reassure you that you probably don't have low milk supply.
It's really common for newborn babies to feed every hour or two around the clock. This is nature's way of establishing your milk supply and feeding regularly is really important to the future success of your breastfeeding relationship. Slow weight gain alone is generally not a problem in and of itself, but more of an indicator to check for other possible problems.
Having said that some women do genuinely have low milk supply. You'll know this if your baby is not having enough wet or dirty nappies.
Other reasons why mums might want to increase their breast milk supply is to pump plenty of milk before returning to work, or as adoptive mothers who want to breastfeed.
There are loads of fancy and expensive herbs and teas and drugs on the market to boost your milk supply, but here's a little secret. Galactagogues (foods that increase milk supply) only work as part of more strategic and long-term approach.
The danger of galactagogues is that they may become a band-aid solution, boosting your milk supply only in the short term. Unless you address the root cause you will continue to struggle.
There are many, many foods and kitchen spices that will naturally increase your milk supply, and many of them are probably things you'll find easy to eat every day - not to mention delicious. Common foods and spices that will increase your milk supply including oats, fenugreek, linseed and garlic.
This lactation tea is one of my favourites because it is delicious and simple and has many benefits in addition to increase milk supply. It is hydrating, gently laxative, relieves cramps and even helps cleanse your uterus.
The fenugreek is heating and the fennel is cooling so they balance each other.
You can use this tea immediately after birth for 6-8 weeks. It's quite normal for your baby to start smelling of fenugreek if you overdo it!
- Mix two parts whole fennel seeds with one part whole fenugreek seeds.
- Store in a small airtight jar.
- Add half a teaspoon of tea to one litre of boiling water and sip warm throughout the day. If you don’t have a large thermos then just add a quarter of a teaspoon in a teapot and cover with two cups of boiling water and drink whilst still warm.
- Ideally, make the tea in a thermos in the morning and keep it by your feeding chair for up to six hours.