When I was breastfeeding my son James I had a horrible battle with low milk supply. I was never one of the women who had a freezer stash full of milk. I could make just enough to be one bottle ahead (when I was exclusively pumping). My diet consisted of basically only oats and fenungreek, or at least it felt that way. It seemed like no matter what I did I could never get ahead.
I think one of the largest contributing factors to my low supply was my working out. It’s fairly common for women who work out regularly to have issues maintaining their milk supply. This is typically due to not having enough extra calories to use to make milk and still have enough calories to burn while working out.
Today I want to talk about how I’m maintaining my supply this time around (since Olivia is finally here!) while still working out.
Combating Low Milk Supply
Let’s start by talking about how many calories we should be taking in every day. When we look to see how many calories per day you should be eating we are looking for you BMR (Basil Metabolic Rate). This is how many calories you need every day just to keep your body functioning. To calculate this, use this formula:
(4.35 X Weight in pounds) + (4.7 X Age in Years) + (4.7 X Height in Inches) + 655
The number you get after doing this formula is how many calories per day you should be eating.
If you are breastfeeding it is best to add an additional 500 calories to this number in order to keep your milk supply up.
Once you know how many calories you need to be aiming for you can start looking at what foods you need to be consuming to help your supply while building toward that calorie goal.
Foods that Boost Milk Supply
I think every woman who has ever struggled with low milk supply has heard the basics of what foods help you make more milk: oats, water, brewer’s yeast. While these are all great there are actually a bunch of foods that can help your supply.
Another essential to making enough milk is drinking enough water. This is compounded when you are working out. Whenever you work out you are dehydrating yourself. Add to this the fact that your body is using a significant amount of your water intake to make milk and you are left with a huge water deficit. To make up for this you have to drink a TON of water. I give myself a goal of at least a gallon of water a day. I know this might sound excessive but my body will not make nearly enough milk if I don’t.
If you are a pumping mama like me then you know that power pumping can have amazing benefits when you have low milk supply. Breast milk works by supply and demand. The higher the demand the more you will make. Power pumping works by completely empting your breasts and then telling your body that the baby is still wanting milk. This signals to your body to start making more milk.
To power pump, start by pumping for 15 minutes. Next, rest of 10 minutes then pump for 10 minutes. Continue like this for the next hour to hour and a half. You may not get any milk after the first couple of pumping sessions but by continuing to pump you are signaling to your body that your baby is still hungry.
Milk Drunk Protein Powder
While I was pregnant this time I went on the search for a protein powder that was suitable for breast feeding moms. I knew that there had to be something out there that would help me boost my supply while still providing the protein I needed just for working out. This is when I found RAWR Naturals Milk Drunk Protein Powder.
This product is incredible! Let’s start with the basics. First of all this is hands down one of the best tasting protein powders I have ever tried (and I have tried A LOT). I have two flavors: “Vanilla Deliciousness” and “Because Chocolate” both of which are super yummy. The back of the packaging has several recipes and my personal favorite is the “Choco-berry Omnomnom Smoothie” which basically ends up tasting like a chocolate covered strawberry.
As far as the protein basics go this product has 17-18 grams of vegan protein (varies depending on flavor), 5-7 grams of fiber, and only around 165 calories per serving. This is awesome for anyone wanting to build lean muscle! Oh and did I mention only 5 grams of sugar! I cannot tell you how excited that makes me. So many protein powders are loaded with sugar which can kill any progress you are making in the gym before you even get started.
Now let’s talk about the breast milk boosting qualities. First off Milk Drunk Protein is all pea protein based. For me this is huge. My daughter has a milk allergy and if I eat anything dairy based it ends up being a very bad day in our house. That means I can’t even think about a whey protein. Additionally it contains oat flour, fenugreek, brewer’s yeast, and flax seeds. Fun side note: apparently fenugreek can make your sweat smell like maple syrup so as a bonus you might be less smelly after a workout with this protein (haha!). All of these ingredients are things I normally add to my smoothies when I’m breast feeding to try to boost my supply so having all of them in one easy powder is amazing and such a time saver for me. Another bonus is it also gives you 30 percent of your daily iron needs which is awesome especially in the first few weeks after birth.
My Personal Experience With Milk Drunk Protein
Since Olivia was born almost two weeks ago I have been drinking at least one smoothie with Milk Drunk Protein Powder per day and I can already tell a difference. One of my biggest struggles is just finding the time to eat enough to make the milk my daughter needs. I’ve made this a go to every morning for breakfast and it takes some stress out of my morning (which is amazing while juggling a toddler and new born).
I’m currently having to exclusively pump for Olivia because she cannot latch correctly. This means I can see exactly how much milk I’m producing every single day. I’ve seen a steady increase each day by around an ounce to two ounces. I know this does not sound like a ton but for me this is incredible! For the year that I breast fed/pumped for my son I would constantly have to struggle to keep up with how much milk he needed. Seeing a steady increase as opposed to dips in supply is awesome for me.
My toddler does not sleep through the night yet and obviously my newborn does not (though she is an AMAZING sleeper compared to her brother at her age) so to say I’m tired is an understatement. To top that off coffee is a hard core no go for me while nursing. Having this to add to my smoothies in the morning has been giving me a little boost of energy to get me through until my son’s nap time.