Category Archives: Doula

How I Increased my Milk Supply

With the boys, I had milk in abundance. ABUNDANCE. So much so that with Ryler, while he was on the 90th percentile in body weight (my little budda boy), I donated 4L’s of breast milk to the Vancouver Milk Bank based at BC Women’s Hospital. I love that place so much I would have given them a kidney if they’d asked me.


So when I took my youngest for her check ups and she was not growing as much as I was used to a baby growing, it caught me off guard. Sure, breastfeeding was going ‘fine’, but this busy mom of three was, well, busy, and it was summer, and it was HOT, and if I thought about it, I wasn’t getting letdown as often as I remember… CUE the intentional breastfeeding.

Can I just say outright, that baby formula is GREAT, and it absolutely has its place. I’m not anti-formula at all, but having had 2 exclusively breastfed babies, I felt strongly that I needed to put time, effort and energy into ensuring I’m giving this the attention it deserves. Fortunately I have a friend who is a Lactation Consultant and Pediatric Dietitian and so I went straight to her and my clinic sister for advice.

This is what I did to increase my milk supply:

I drank Jungle Juice. I had never heard of it before (seems it’s quite popular around these parts though)…

Here’s how you make it:

  • 2 L’s of boiled water
  • 1 L apple juice or rooibos tea
  • 1 sachet Blackcurrent Rehydrate
  • 60 mls Schlehen Berry Elixier
  • 8/10 drops of rescue remedy (if you think it necessary)

Dosage: Day 1: Drink 3L’s of Jungle Juice, thereafter, drink 1 1/2 L’s every 2nd day.

Along with this, maintain hydration. Healthy diet – you know the drill. I also drank Carmien’s Nursing Tea.


Then there is Power Pumping: 

This, my friends, requires a GOOD (ideally electric) breast pump and time. The below image is taking into account you have a double breast pump, which not many of us do, so if you don’t, power pumping would look like this: You would pump 20min on the L, pump 20min on the R, then 10min L, 10min R, 10min L, 10min R. And then you take yourself for an ice cream for all your hard work.


Also, “keep pumping after feeds, even if it seems empty and pointless, it will increase your demand, which will boost supply” – as told to me by Lactation Consultant, Deidre Lindeque.

Medicines:

Please consult your doc/pediatrician/lactation consultant before you go ahead with any medications. I managed to power pump and drink enough jungle juice to increase my supply enough to not need a script of any of the below (I did request one, but never filled it), so I am no expert in this. Please chat to someone medically trained, and who you trust (you’ll need a script for all of the below, so you will have to chat to your doc regardless) :

Some good options are:

  • Domperidone/Motilium.
  • Vomi-guard (a anti nausea drug which has a side effect of increased milk production)

At one point, above what I already needed to pump for my daughters carer to feed her daily (you pumping-working moms – you’re FREAKING AMAZING!), with a looming business trip, when I had to pump and store additional feeds, I asked my paed for a script. For personal reasons, I declined eglynol (which is a very commonly used breastfeeding booster drug) and requested the ones above (Domperidone/Motilium/Vomi-guard). Remember, you have options. Do what works for you!

I also want to encourage you to join Breast Feeding groups such as the Le Leche League in your area for support, encouragement and help. Contact LLL South Africa here.

Final thoughts: Be easy on yourself. This momming thing is HARD. Go with your gut. And please don’t give up too quickly either (unless you’re crying yourself to sleep each night – because then you need to do what you need to do to survive). There have been many times with this 3rd child, where I’ve being humbled by the difference between having a lot of time off with my newborn, and a mere 4 months. I am often whats-apping my working-mom-friends while sitting on a towel on our office bathroom floor, with the ‘zhuuut zhuuut zhuuut’ sound of the pump in the background as we send pics of the amounts of breast milk we’ve successfully retrieved or chat about how ‘pumping is going that day’. It’s no joke.

Friends, I’m with you. Share with us! What have you done that has helped you?

Packing your Hospital Bag

If you’ve had a bub before, did you find packing your hospital bag strange? I kinda do. Maybe it’s admitting that birth is imminent and you’re ‘heading somewhere important’ or it’s just that packing your phone and charger can’t be done until the last minute so it’s all a bit ‘meh’?

Anyways, since my mom has been convincing me this bub is coming early (which now I’m not so sure of), I figured I’d better get it done. Also, thanks to Dischem and Discovery, half my goodies were all over the house and so ‘Nesting Debbie’ needed to put them in their place.

As a doula, I have a list called Packing Your Hospital Bag I usually send expectant moms, but I had to do a bit more research as it seems things are different in SA (they don’t give you nappies, pads or sexy stretchy undies in hospital? – WHAAAAT?).

I combined my doula list with the ones given to me by my midwife, HypnoBirthing instructor, and hospital and so here’s my summary of what you need to pack: (of course this all depends on your personal preference and how long you plan to stay in hospital).

Mom’s Bag: 
Clothes pre and post birth (with easy access allowing breastfeeding)
Slippers, socks and dressing gown
Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deo, lip balm, shampoo, conditioner, hairband, hair brush, face cloth)
Pads
Breast pads (not many, as your milk will only come in on day 3 or 4)
Nursing/comfy bra
Those super sexy stretchy (but admittedly, very comfortable) hot pants.

Dad’s Bag: 
If planning a water birth, dad might need his boardies. (I refrain from suggesting a speedo type suit because really, that’s just not appropriate, unless you plan on laughing that baby out).
Change of clothes
Toiletries (if staying overnight).

Baby’s Bag: 
Change of clothes (for hospital and going home), beanies, socks, vests, baby grows etc.
Swaddling blanket/s
*Nappies
Wipes
Bum cream (this is most NB for that first meconium poo – slap your natural bum cream all over that kids tush to prevent the meconium from glueing itself to your newborns bum).
*I plan to cloth diaper but that’s not so kosher for while you’re in the hospital, so I’m using the samples sent to me by all the baby marketers.

Dare I be so bold as to say you DON’T need to use Vaseline or Surgical Spirits on your freshie? You can use a natural bum cream or pure organic oil (such as coconut) for his/her first nappy, and that belly button cord would be much happier with weeping wound or graze powder over surgical spirits.

Labouring Bag: 
Anything you have that will assist in labour, although your doula will have lots of tricks if you’ve hired one.
Massage oil, massager, TENS machine, hot/cold pack rebozo etc.
SNACKS! Including sugary drinks (such as Powerade/Energade), and any other nibbles of your choice.

Added Creature Comforts: Pillows, blankets, photos, visualization pictures (and prestick), music, iPod/phone docker, candles (check the hospital regulations on what they allow regarding naked flames), essential oil diffusers etc.

FINALLY, things like: your birth plan, pregnancy card (if you’ve been seeing a midwife), hospital authorization forms, ID books/cards, camera, phone, chargers (and adapter), car seat, cash/credit cards etc.

Anything I’m missing? 

Xxx