How to Increase Your Milk Supply After Mastitis

If you’ve been around my blog or Instagram for any length of time you remember that in the first few weeks after my son Jameson was born I was fortunate enough to get Mastitis not once, but twice. How lucky am I, huh?

All joking aside, mastitis sucks…like REALLY SUCKS!

I was also fortunate enough to get several clogged milk ducts. And both of these things severely decreased my milk supply.

I was already having to supplement a little bit of formula because he wasn’t latching properly, which killed me, and I didn’t want to have to switch over to 100% formula if I didn’t have to. (If you’ve chosen to formula feed, way to go mama, as long as your baby is fed and healthy it truly doesn’t matter!)

But what was I going to do?

How could I increase my milk supply after mastitis almost landed us both back in the hospital?

If you’ve ever had mastitis, you know this fear, you know this pain.

So, here’s how I increased my milk supply after mastitis. *

*If you think you may have mastitis or are suffering from low milk supply or have any other concerns, please contact your doctor. I’m not a doctor, I am simply sharing my experience.

  1. Water Makes that Liquid Gold

If you’ve read my other blog posts, you know I am a huge advocate when it comes to making sure that you are drinking enough water. Not only is it good for you, but it helps your body make the nourishment that your baby needs.

As soon as I started drinking 80-100 ounces of water a day, after just roughly 24 hours I noticed a huge improvement in not only the amount of milk I was able to pump in one sitting, but the quality of it as well. There was definitely a thicker layer of fat in it to keep Jameson fuller longer.

If you have a hard time remember to drink water or tracking how much you’ve had, you can download this chart (Make That Liquid Gold  )to keep track of it all.

  1. Pump or Breastfeed as much as Possible

Because Jameson had a hard time latching, I pump primarily; however, if you are breastfeeding crawl in bed and do nothing but sleep and feed your sweet baby. If you are pumping like I did, then pump all day.

Okay, maybe not literally all day, but even if it’s only been an hour since you pumped and you’re feeling sore…pump anyway!

One thing I learned from my lactation consultant was that by doing this it helps get things moving in your breasts which helps them heal faster.

Side note – I hated pumping for the longest time because I didn’t like having to hold the pump for the 15-20 minutes that I needed to pump for.

Then I discovered hands free pumping bras…when I say my life changed FOREVER.

I’m not kidding.

I’m actually using mine right now as I type this. Ha!

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  1. Sleep – I’m Not Joking

Probably the biggest thing that helped me get over my mastitis was sleep.

I am fortunate enough to have an amazing mother who came over one night, took over all the feedings and let me just sleep. (Now, for those of you who are wondering where the hubby was…he’s an EMT and had to be to work at 3:00 in the morning so he needed his sleep too!)

I slept ten hours that night.

I woke up to extremely engorged breasts, a happy fed and sleeping baby, a clean house and decreased pain in my breast with the mastitis.

Now, this may seem contradictory to my third point, pump or breastfeed; however, the day prior I had pumped every 1-2 hours so things were moving and at that point and my body was so exhausted that I was beginning to go even more down hill so I slept.

I was a new woman after those 10 solid hours of sleep.

I know you want to be awake and with your new sweet baby 24/7, but trust me on this one, you need the sleep. Not only for you, but for the baby as well.

  1. Eat Healthy

Now, I know you just had a baby and if you have (or had) mastitis recently you are completely worn out and don’t have time to make fancy meals all day.

That’s okay!

Just add in simple things to your diet throughout the day.

A few examples of the little healthier snacks that I added to my diet were:

  • Apple and Cheese
  • Celery and Peanut Butter
  • Whole Grain Crackers and Breakfast Bars
  • Kind Bars
  • Fruit – like grapes, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, ect.

Nothing super serious, but it helped my body replenish what it needed from fighting off the mastitis.

You also just want to eat in general, when I was eating once or twice a day my milk supply was at its lowest. Once I started not only eating better but more often, my milk supply went through the roof!

  1. Lactation Cookies

While I’m not sure if these alone helped my milk supply, I ate them during my mastitis recovery and not only are they delicious, my milk supply increased so it wouldn’t hurt to add them to the list!

You can make your own, there are a ton of recipes out there, but I didn’t have time for that nonsense. So, I ate the oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies from munchkin…let’s just say, buy a couple boxes!

  1. Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a supplement that is supposed to help with milk production. A friend of mine recommended it to me and after reading about it on kellymom.com and speaking with my lactation consultant I decided to give it a try.

I honestly didn’t notice a different at first but having staying consistent with it for about three days I saw a huge increase my milk supply at each pumping session.

I have heard that it can cause gas in babies; however, like I’ve said before, I’m not a doctor so talk to yours before following any of my tips/advice here.

  1. Skin to Skin with Baby

There is a reason that doctors and hospital recommend skin to skin as soon as possible after baby is born…because it’s so good for not only them but you as well!

My lactation consultant told me, when I had mastitis, to crawl in bed with Jameson, strip us both down, do skin to skin, nurse/pump and sleep until I was better.

She explained that by doing skin to skin, it will help both of our bodies regulate themselves and my milk will start producing nutrients that are specific to what he needs right then and there. It didn’t make since to me how that happened, but I wasn’t going to fight her if all I had to do was rest and cuddle my baby, she didn’t need to say another word!

 

Recap

So, to recap, when I was diagnosed with mastitis, my milk supply plummeted both times. I was only pumping 1 oz on each breast (or even less sometimes), and once I implemented these seven things, I was pumping 4-6 ounces on each breast after about a week.

  1. Drink 8-10 cup of water a day
  2. Breastfeed or pump as much as possible: every 1-3 hours
  3. Sleep
  4. Eat Healthy
  5. Lactation Cookies
  6. Fenugreek
  7. Skin to Skin with Baby

 

There you have it, the seven things that helped me increase my milk supply after mastitis.

Again, remember that I am not a doctor of any kind, this is just my experience. If you have any questions or concerns, always consult your doctor first!

 

Good luck mama, you got this!

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