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3 Unique Ideas To Keep The Milk Flowing

1. Close your eyes and visualize milk flowing from your nipples during your breastfeeding or pumping sessions. Imagine lots of it, like Niagara Falls. Cover your collecting bottles with a cloth so you can’t see how much is coming out and keep visualizing the steady flow of your milk. Guided imagery can be used in many settings during your breastfeeding journey; this time for keeping up the flow. Use your deep breathing techniques and visualization during your sessions to encourage one letdown after another.

2. Keep your spine aligned during breastfeeding and pumping time.  “Many of us spend too many hours of the day hunched over... phones, computer screens, and now breastfeeding in an uncomfortable position,” cautions Stacey Mackowiak, a registered yoga teacher and yoga therapist in Cummington, Massachusetts.  “I encourage mothers to first find a more open breastfeeding position and then spend as much time lying flat on the floor as they do hunched over. Allow your shoulders and spine to touch the floor. A bend in the knees will take the strain off of your lower belly and help your lower spine to make contact with the floor. A straight spine and an expanded chest, rather than a sunken chest, allows for deeper oxygenation with each inhalation and exhalation, leading to an increased blood flow.” http://www.sunflowerrevolution.org working with mothers to help them physically regain their strength after pregnancy and childbirth as well as finding ways to bring mindfulness into the parenting journey.

If you are uncomfortable, you are out of alignment. Just as you know to position your baby’s spine straight from head to rump, so should you position your body straight from neck to tailbone. Don’t sacrifice your comfort in the short term for skeletal and muscle pains down the road. “Ergonomics - how the mother holds her own and her baby's body while breastfeeding - are very important,” says Sharon A. Vallone, DC, practicing in Hartford CT. “Pain may influence her let down reflex and, consequently, her milk production.”

Use a laid back or side lying breastfeeding position, with plenty of pillows to support your head and neck, to keep your spine aligned and your oxygen, blood and milk flowing.

3.  Eat, Drink, and Poop more… You are concerned with your baby’s eating and pooping all day long. Now, in an effort to increase your milk supply, you must consider your diet and digestive system. Your body will continue to make high quality breast milk even when your diet is low quality… for a while. Not enough healthy calories “in” will soon begin to affect your milk volume and your immune system, making you susceptible to incoming germs. You will become depleted of your potassium and your sodium and your glucose as it goes into your milk. Electrolyte replacement drinks, without caffeine, such as Gatorade can be used to quench your thirst and a diet rich in lean protein and high fiber fruits and vegetables will keep you pooping, which is super important for keeping your body functioning. It’s all about alignment here. Aligning the mind through visualization to increase the milk flow. Aligning the spine and lungs to increase the milk flow. Aligning your diet and your gut to keep everything flowing.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

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