Diabetes, PCOS: Increase Milk Supply
Are you one of the many moms struggling to make enough breast milk? Have you tried everything? Is it possible that there is something you and your doctor may not have considered? There are many individuals that are diabetic, not diagnosed diabetic, or have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. All these conditions can affect your ability to make milk. If you have tried everything else to increase your milk supply and nothing is working, please consider trying these things. Here are 8 suggestions that can increase milk supply for diabetics and PCOS:
1. Keep your blood sugar levels more stable by eating high proteins and staying away from sugars and simple carbohydrates. When our blood sugar levels are all over the place it is a lot harder for our body to work correctly and it can affect your hormones. Our hormones are crucial in milk production. Eating more often the right foods can make a difference. This is especially the case in women with diabetes or poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. Some of my favorite easy and healthy foods to have on hand are: boiled eggs, nuts, jerky, greek yogurt (low sugar), protein drinks (Costco has one made by Premier Protein that has 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. It actually tastes really good too and I feel full when I drink it!) Other recommended foods for those with insulin resistance include: garbanzo and kidney beans, brown rice, carob, and cinnamon (Marasco 2015).
2. Consider talking to your doctor about Metformin which is a medication that helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and has been shown to help breastfeeding moms with insulin issues to increase their milk supply. Metformin improves the insulin receptor sensitivity thus helping with milk synthesis. (Bargiota 2012) It is also being used as a treatment during pregnancy and has been successful in reducing miscarriages, GD, pre-eclampsia and premature births (Glueck 2002, 2004). Myo-inositol can also be considered although no research has been done on the impact of lactation, but it should have the same effect as Metformin. Note: Metformin can deplete B-12
3. Increase your magnesium as it has been proven to improve insulin resistance (Bindlish 2014). This suggestion is most helpful to moms with PCOS as their condition is an insulin resistance instead of an insulin deficiency. Some foods that are rich in magnesium include bananas, broccoli, figs, artichokes, raspberries, avocados, nuts and fish. Many of us are magnesium deficient which can cause other health problems too. You can also consider talking to your doctor about adding a magnesium supplement.
4. Talk to your Doctor about supplementing with Chromium and Gymnema. Both of these nutrients have been shown to help with insulin resistance (Bindlish 2014).
5. Take galactagogues that are best for those with diabetes or PCOS: moringa, goat’s rue, milk thistle, nettle leaf, coriander seed, and dandelion. These galactagogues have anti-diabetic properties and can often help. The best form and most effective way of taking galactagogues are in a tincture. If you have a hard time with strong tastes, consider it in pill form. The least effective form is a tea. You must drink a lot of tea to see any benefits. Here is a link to research studies that show the benefits of moringa through the company Go-lacta http://www.golacta.com/go-lacta-studies/
These next couple of suggestions are helpful for all breastfeeding moms, and I often remind moms at lactation visits. They can have a huge impact especially if they are done in the early first few weeks.
6. Skin to skin contact with your baby helps to increase the happy love hormone, oxytocin. This alone can help increase your supply. This also allows the baby to nurse more often and more stimulation equals more milk. If necessary, have what is called a babymoon. You and your baby stay in bed for a couple of days and allow the baby to nurse as much as they would like. Infant Massage can also be a great way to increase your oxytocin levels. It also helps to relax you and the baby which in turn can sometimes improve breastfeeding.
7. Massage your breasts while you breastfeed to help remove as much milk as possible. The more milk you remove, the more your body will make for the next feeding.
This next suggestion is something to plan to do for your next baby. This is something that is especially important for those with diabetes or PCOS. However, this recommendation can be done by all moms before their little one arrives.
8. Antenatal Expression – early stimulation of lactation is recommended and has been proven to increase the amount of colostrum available to the newborn along with milk coming in earlier (Forster 2011; Singh 2009). When you are 38 weeks you can start expressing colostrum and freezing it to give to your baby. This early stimulation helps to wake up the breast and let it know to start making more colostrum. This can also decrease the chance of a baby having blood sugar issues and from getting jaundice as it helps to provide the baby with additional colostrum you can give them that you have frozen and the higher amount that your breast now making because of the earlier stimulation.
If baby still doesn’t seem to be getting enough, please seek help from a lactation consultant and/or physician. Sometimes with these conditions no matter what we do supplementation is necessary. Never feel like you failed, and also realize that some breast milk is always better than no breast milk. By figuring out why you have a low supply you may be able to make a huge turnaround and successfully exclusively breastfeed your baby. If your condition happens to be a blood sugar issue, these suggestions likely will help. It is certainly worth a try!
Here is a great blog post with additional suggestions: https://momlovesbest.com/feeding/increase-milk-supply