Lactation is the means of a mother pumping out milk from her own breasts to give to their child or newborn baby.
Because breastfeeding is the most important period in a newborn baby’s life, you need to be able to give it to your young one in the best way possible. Mothers who are doing this for the first time may be too overwhelmed, especially if they are not very used to exploring the wonders of their own breasts – the very source of nutrients for a newborn baby up to about 2 years of age.
There are different methods to make yourself lactate to breastfeed your baby. There are natural methods and there are slightly artificial means, but still natural as a whole. Conditioning your body and preparing it for milk production is the most important thing before you begin breastfeeding.
For example, the most natural method is by having your baby latch onto your nipples and do some dry breastfeeding as a test practice. If you think this hurts too much, then you may begin by manual stimulation of your nipple and areola. You can start off with only 2 to 3 times a day, for a span of 20 minutes or so. Any kind of stimulation, such as using your hands or fingers, will do fine. The goal is for your nipples and other parts of your breasts to be active to alert it to producing breast milk in no time.
If natural stimulation may not work the best for you, here are some other methods that you may find helpful or useful in the future:
Use a Breast Pump
A breast pump is the most common way to help produce breast milk in no time. It is used by moms who are on the go and those who have less time to stimulate themselves to produce breast milk.
The breast pump essentially does the same thing – except that it is motorized or using a mechanism to stimulate your nipples into producing milk in no time. The starting point should be at least every 2 to 3 hours a day, depending on how you can handle it. You can, of course, start in a low setting or medium speed to avoid getting hurt or being over stimulated.
Be careful when you choose the best breast pump out there since there are some that actually hurt your nipples and can be excruciating. Some are also not made of good materials so they are flimsy or contain some harsh chemicals, which you don’t want to be included in your baby’s breast milk.
Specifically, you should choose a breast pump that has different speeds and a safety mechanism. It may be best to ask fellow moms who have already used a breast pump so that you may know which ones are safe for beginners or first-time moms.
If you are already used to breast pumping with the medium speeds, you can increase the speed or lengthen the time of your sessions to get more out of one and save more time in the long run. Usually, your nipples will adjust to each session, anyway.
Estrogen and progesterone are the most commonly prescribed hormones you can buy and take if you want to lactate fast. However, this needs to be consulted to your doctor or physician.
These prescribed hormones will help to stimulate milk production in your breasts. Another common hormone is a galactagogue, and you can easily find this in fenugreek. Before you take any of the prescribed hormones, you should make sure to consult your physician or specialist for an advice.
Better yet, have a lactation consultant because they know what’s best for your needs. Different women have varying needs for lactation and hormones, and you don’t want to overdo things because they can have harsh side effects when taking them. If you are not very sure with prescribed hormones, you can just take herbal supplements instead, listed below:
Lactation can also be induced with the help of nature – using herbal supplements. Below are some of the most common herbal supplements you can have (with the advice of your doctor):
- Fenugreek – since the ancient times, fenugreek has been used to help with a woman’s breastfeeding. It is currently available in various forms, such as capsules and the like. Or, if you have a garden or fresh produce, you can go for that instead.
- Moringa – also known as malunggay in the Philippines, moringa is a common vegetable that is often the ingredient of soups. Moringa is definitely a must-have for moms who want to lactate more because of its nutritional value not just for lactation but for other diseases to help the immune system.
- Fennel – this herb has always been around ancient times all the way from the Mediterranean to Ancient Egypt. It is a leafy green that may also help with menstrual problems and stomach upsets. It also comes in its seeds or you can consume the veggie.
- Blessed Thistle – this one is often found in nursing teas due to its abundance in most American gardens. You can mix it together with fenugreek to have a lactation boost. It is quite a thorny plant, so be careful when harvesting it.
- Alfalfa – this leafy green is also often used for breastfeeding due to the protein, fiber, antioxidants and low-fat content. It has also been used for cows and other animals to help in milk production, so why not add it to your diet? However, like all of the other leafy greens for breast milk boosting, it should be eaten in moderation.
- Ginger – yes, did you know ginger can also help and aid breast milk production? Ginger root is often used for this, and it can also help with moms who have stomach upsets or motion sickness. Ginger has many great health effects and the most common way of preparing it is including it in soups or in tea.