2 Things That Will Help Your Supply:
1. Understand Boobonomics:
The law of nursing is similar to that of economics, it's all about supply & demand. If you remember one thing about your milk supply, please remember that. When you put a baby to your nipple [even if they just play around or pacify] they are triggering your amazing body, sending a "hey let's make more milk for this kid" message. Your body literally relies on you to tell it how much and how often to make milk. So...if you let that baby sleep---give it a pacifier [too much]---keep supplementing with a bottle---please don't blame your body...you told it to only make so much milk.
One of the largest complaints I hear from moms trying to nurse, or those that stopped is "I didn't have enough milk" or "I dried up". Followed by comments about how fussy their baby was, or how when they pumped it was only a few ounces came out, etc. Before I launch into my recommendations let me be clear...I am not a Dr., or even a certified lactation consultant, so please by all means do not trust my advice alone. Especially if your baby is loosing weight or not gaining weight. I do think my advice can help, but since we're talking about keeping a person alive here---let's not do any experiments, mmmkay?
2. Take Care Of Yourself
Personally, I think this is the #1 reason why moms have to stop. Your supply is very sensitive, make no mistake about that. If you're overly tired or stressed out or very ill, it will effect your supply. Do whatever possible to get some sleep, calm down and get healthy. Ask for help! Every time I nurse [those first few weeks and months] I sit down with a glass of water & a small healthy snack [cheese stick, piece of fruit, granola bar, nuts]. Your body needs two things to make milk: water & calories! If you're low on either, so will your supply.
Did you know a [exclusively] nursing mom needs
more calories than she did during pregnancy?
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times...this is not the time to diet! I mean, do what you want, but if your goal is really to nurse AND you're having trouble with your supply---cut back your intensive exercising and start averaging more calories until you notice your baby is gaining weight and happy with your supply. Now, if you're a genetic anomaly and you can starve yourself, run a million miles a day and your baby is healthily growing---more power to you. But, in general, I find a lot of moms are torn between getting their pre-pregnancy body back and putting their kid's health first.
Am I drinking enough water?
Am I eating enough food?
Am I sleeping enough?
Am I stressed out?
Am I dieting when I shouldn't be?
Am I burning too many calories exercising too hard?
And remember, nursing isn't everything, so please never feel judgment from this post if you choose to stop, or never start. Totally your business and not anyone else's.