I know this may seem like a strange topic, but this was a pretty big deal in my life for a little over a week and I thought that maybe it could help someone else who encounters this same issue because it is STRESSFUL.
Last week I got slammed with the stomach bug and it all but destroyed me. Okay, maybe I am being a LITTLE overdramatic, but it was BAD. Sorry to be graphic, but I was throwing up every 45 minutes for almost 24 hours straight. I was severely dehydrated and I was unable to take care of Eli. My husband stayed home with him and I tried to nurse him as much as I could, but my body just ached so much and I was so tired that I attempted to sleep for most of the afternoon while my husband gave him bottles of my pumped breast milk (very thankful I had a freezer worth of pumped milk and probably the one and only time I wanted to praise the breast pump!).
The following morning around 4:00 a.m. when Eli usually wakes up to eat I felt decent enough to breastfeed him. I immediately noticed a decrease in my milk.
1. I did not have a letdown and I have ALWAYS had a strong letdown that I have always been able to feel to the point that it has been almost painful.
2. Eli was getting frustrated and kicking and pulling off. I did not feel full in my breasts and I just knew my milk had diminished.
Dang you FLU!
So, I did what any mature 28 year old mother would do. I PANICKED! I started to cry and moan to my husband that my breastfeeding days were over and that the flu destroyed me and everything about me and that I would never be able to breastfeed again. I have never denied being dramatic! But I seriously was so scared that I would not get my milk supply back to where it was and it’s been really important to me that I am able to breastfeed Eli to a year old.
So, after Dane talked me down a bit I began to research on what to do and found out that this is actually very common after the flu due to how dehydrated you are. I became determined to get my milk supply up and guess what? I can proudly say that a week later it feels like it is back to normal. I know a week does not sound like a long time, but when you nurse your baby 4-5 times a day every day then a week can seem like a lifetime! Here is what I did and what worked for me to get my milk back up after that evil and nasty flu temporarily stole it:
1. Nurse, nurse, nurse! I went back to nursing Eli every two hours. He was not too excited about this. Eli is not the most dependent on nursing and never really has been. I won’t be surprised if he weans himself soon, but the more you put the baby to the breast the more your body will know that it needs to be making milk.
2. Pull out that pump. I had just retired my pump literally the day before I got sick. I remember smugly packing up all the parts and thinking how done I was with the pump. Yeah, the evil little sucker (literally) showed me! I pumped after Eli went down for the night each night until my milk came back up. Again, it told my body to make more milk!
3. Mother's Milk Tea. LOVE this stuff. I buy mine at Target. I had three cups a day and always have mine with about a tablespoon of honey. It makes it more tolerable for me!
4. Fenugreek. Along with the Mother's Milk Tea I took about three Fenugreek pills a day.
5. WATER. I am really bad about drinking water. I admit it, I don’t like water. I don’t like the way it tastes and I think it’s boring and I can list 100 other things I would rather drink before water. I know, I’m bad. I gave up my coffee and all other drinks that I prefer (soda, juices, etc.) for that week and literally spent my days chugging water to make sure I was well hydrated. Eli, if you are ever reading this I hope you see this large sacrifice I made for you - DRINKING NOTHING BUT WATER FOR 7 DAYS!! ;) I kid, I kid, but seriously…. I do not like water …
6. EAT. This one was hard for me. I did not want to eat much after that flu came in and wrecked my body! I mean, I had lost 6 1/2 pounds after the flu was done with me! It was so important for me to get a lot of calories in and to keep my energy up and get back to normal and that was SUPER important for my milk supply. I could not eat whole meals so I snacked a lot and all day long. These foods helped a lot with increasing my milk supply:
- Steel cut oats
- Garbanzo beans
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Nuts - I ate a lot of almonds and macadamia nuts!
I started to notice a big difference in my milk supply on day three, but I continued to do all of these things for a week to be on the safe side. I have always enjoyed breastfeeding and knew it was something I wanted to continue, but did not realize how important it was to me until I felt like we were nearing the end when I about lost my supply. I am so thankful my milk is about back to normal and am really hoping we can make it to my goal of a year nursing - we are so close!
Has this happened to anyone else? Any other tips on increasing your milk supply after the flu?
share this on »