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For breastfeeding moms, the topic of milk supply is a huge one. Hang around with a few nursing women and you’re bound to hear: Am I making enough? How do I know? My supply is dipping, help! Why won’t my pump actually pump?

There are so many questions that it can sometimes be overwhelming. The good news is that there are people who will help…and many of them for free! We asked Lactation Consultant and La Leche League Leader Leigh Anne O’Connor to help explain milk supply and show us some ways to increase that miracle liquid gold.

Removal of Milk from the Breast. The best and most common way for your body to learn to make more milk is for baby to nurse. Removal of milk from the breast is important, because the more this happens, the more your body knows to continually make more milk. The only time this would not be effective is if your baby doesn’t have a good latch, which can be due to a weak latch or lip/tongue tie. If you suspect that your baby has a bad latch or a lip or tongue tie, you should definitely speak to a lactation consultant or your pediatrician. They can help you correct baby’s latch, teach you how to use a nipple shield, or even easily clip the tie.

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Pumping. Pumping is another way to tell your breasts to make more milk. Removal of milk from the breast and the sucking of the pump is a great way to help increase supply and build a stash of milk. A hospital grade pump is usually best for this--many of these, like the Medela Symphony, can be purchased online or rented from your local hospital. Not all women respond to pumps the same, so if you’re not getting a huge output from the pump, don’t be discouraged. In most cases, how much baby removes from the breast isn’t the same as how much the pump removes. The general rule of thumb is if baby seems happy, has enough soiled diapers and is gaining weight, then they should be getting plenty of your milk.

Lactation Cookies. Delicious and helpful, plus who doesn’t like an excuse to eat cookies? Lactation cookies are made with brewer’s yeast, something that has long been known to help with milk supply. Remember that old wives tale...drink a Guiness to help increase your milk? Well there’s some backbone to that story, and it’s the yeast which has long been known to help with milk supply due to its high concentration of iron and protein. Adding it to cookies is the perfect way to boost supply, and best of all they’re easy to make with tons of variations gracing the pages of Pinterest!

Fenugreek. Fenugreek has been known to help mothers increase milk supply within a few days. Although this and other herbal supplements haven’t been scientifically proven, most mothers do seem to notice an increase in supply. Whether it’s the placebo effect or not, Fenugreek is safe to take as long as you’re not pregnant (it can cause contractions) or a diabetic.

Herbal Tea. There are many herbal teas on the market that have a concoction of ingredients to help with milk supply, like Organic Milkmaid Tea by Earth Mama Angel Baby. This tea, and many others, contain Fenugreek, fennel seed, red raspberry and milk thistle, among other herbs, that have been known to help with milk supply.

Water. Lots of water is a general rule of thumb for nursing mamas, so make sure you’re getting your daily intake to keep hydrated and the milk flowing!

Oatmeal/Steel Cut Oats. Another item that can help increase milk supply in some moms is oatmeal, or steel cut oats. Whether it helps you or not, it’s great to try because regardless, it’s good for you and has no side effects. Some ways this is thought to increase supply is because it is high in iron. Experts have noted that moms who have low iron can potentially have breast milk production issues, so eating oatmeal will increase iron and, in turn, increase milk supply.

Domperidone & Reglan. These are two pharmaceutical drugs that can be prescribed to help increase milk supply. Reglan can almost always guarantee an increase in milk supply, but there are side effects, such as irritability, depression and fatigue. Domperidone, on the other hand, doesn’t have as many side effects since it doesn’t enter the brain tissue, but it isn’t approved for use in the U.S. and is only available over-the-counter in Canada.

Here are some things that could dwindle your supply:

Scheduling Feedings. Essentially, breastfeeding is established by nursing on demand. While schedules can be demanding or we head back to work after maternity leave, nursing baby exclusively sometimes decreases. Most importantly, baby should be fed on demand, which is whenever they show signs of hunger and generally, that is every two hours or so (sometimes more, sometimes less). Try to nurse and/or pump as much as you can and remember that if you’re a working mom, in most cases, the law is on your side as a nursing mother. Be sure to research your state laws and employers guidelines.

Birth Control. Birth control pills...something most women have come to seriously rely on! But some birth control pills taken while you’re breastfeeding can cause a significant decrease in your supply. When choosing what is best for you, stray away from contraceptives that contain estrogen and progesterone. Experts almost always suggest the “mini-pill”, or a birth control containing only progestin, such as a Depo-Provera shot or an IUD. Talk with your healthcare provider about what would work best for you while you’re nursing and when the best time to begin it is.

Sore Nipples. Sore nipples are not fun and can make feeding near tear-inducing. Some ways you can soothe sore nipples are to use a cold compress, like Booby Tubes from Earth Mama Angel Baby. You can also try different positioning to help with your latch. A tongue or lip-tie can also be the culprit of a shallow latch and may help both you and baby.

Stress and Sickness. If you’re stressed out, not getting support from your partner or family, or coming down with the flu or stomach bug, your supply could dip. It’s best to stay hydrated, eat right and continue to nurse your baby through your sickness. As for support, lean on those who are with you in your breastfeeding journey or attend a support group like La Leche League.

Supplementing and Pacifiers. While sometimes babies do need milk supplemented, it can hurt your milk supply. When a baby is fed formula, they often stay fuller, longer, which means they’re not getting time at the breast. If you need to supplement, remember to pump in turn of that skipped meal (or two). As for pacifiers, they can be helpful sometimes, but make sure that it isn’t used as a supplement for nutritional sucking.

So what if you’re doing all of this and it still isn’t working? Not all women can breastfeed, and that’s totally ok. While it can sometimes be a defeated feeling, know that it’s not your fault and that there are other means to feeding your baby how you feel is best. At the end of the day, doing what is best for you and your health, as well as your baby, is the most important thing. Don’t stress, talk to others and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Find a La Leche League meeting near you, or a Lactation Consultant in:

Manhattan

Queens

Park Slope & Windsor Terrace

All of New York

Closed La Leche League breastfeeding support group with help from both other moms and Lactation Consultants

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If there's one thing you learn as a new mama, it's that routine is your friend. Routine keeps your world spinning, even when you're trucking along on less than four hours of sleep. Routine fends off tantrums by making sure bellies are always full and errands aren't run when everyone's patience is wearing thin. And routine means naps are taken when they're supposed to, helping everyone get through the day with needed breaks.

The only problem? Life doesn't always go perfectly with the routine. When my daughter was born, I realized quickly that, while her naps were the key to a successful (and nearly tear-free!) day, living my life according to her nap schedule wasn't always possible. There were groceries to fetch, dry cleaning to pick up, and―if I wanted to maintain any kind of social life―lunch dates with friends to enjoy.

Which is why the Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller was such a life-saver. While I loved that it was just 14 pounds (perfect for hoisting up the stairs to the subway or in the park) and folds down small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment (you know, when I'm brave enough to travel again!), the real genius of this pint-sized powerhouse is that it doesn't skimp on comfort.

Nearly every surface your baby touches is padded with plush cushions to provide side and lumbar support to everything from their sweet head to their tiny tush―it has 40% more padding than other compact strollers. When nap time rolls around, I could simply switch the seat to its reclined position with an adjustable leg rest to create an instant cozy nest for my little one.

There's even a large UV 50 sun canopy to throw a little shade on those sleepy eyes. And my baby wasn't the only one benefiting from the comfortable design― the Metro is the only stroller certified "back healthy" by the AGR of Germany, meaning mamas get a much-needed break too.

I also appreciate how the Metro fits comfortably into my life. The sleek profile fits through narrow store aisles as easily as it slides up to a table when I'm able to meet a pal for brunch. Plus, the spring suspension means the tires absorb any bumps along our way―helping baby stay asleep no matter where life takes us. When it's time to take my daughter out, it folds easily with one hand and has an ergonomic carry handle to travel anywhere we want to go.

Life will probably never be as predictable as I'd like, but at least with our Metro stroller, I know my child will be cradled with care no matter what crosses our path.

This article is sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's been more than a year since Khloé Kardashian welcomed her daughter True Thompson into the world, and like a lot of new moms, Khloé didn't just learn how to to be a mom this year, she also learned how to co-parent with someone who is no longer her partner. According to the Pew Research Center, co-parenting and the likelihood that a child will spend part of their childhood living with just one parent is on the rise.

There was a ton of media attention on Khloé's relationship with True's father Tristan Thompson in her early days of motherhood, and in a new interview on the podcast "Divorce Sucks!," Khloé explained that co-parenting with someone you have a complicated relationship with isn't always easy, but when she looks at True she knows it's worth it.

"For me, Tristan and I broke up not too long ago so it's really raw," Khloé tells divorce attorney Laura Wasser on the podcast. She explains that even though it does "suck" at times, she's committed to having a good relationship with her ex because she doesn't want True to pick up on any negative energy, even at her young age.

That's why she invited Tristan to True's recent first birthday bash, even though she knew True wouldn't remember that party. "I know she's going to want to look back at all of her childhood memories like we all do," Khloé explained. "I know her dad is a great person, and I know how much he loves her and cares about her, so I want him to be there."

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We totally get why being around Tristan is hard for Khloé, but it sounds like she's approaching co-parenting with a positive attitude that will benefit True in the long run. Studies have found that shared parenting is good for kids and that former couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse" are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Khloé says her relationship with Tristan right now is "civilized," and hopefully it can get even better with time. As Suzanne Hayes noted in her six guiding principles for a co-parenting relationship, there's no magic bullet for moving past the painful feelings that come when a relationship ends and into a healthy co-parenting relationship, but treating your ex with respect and (non-romantic) love is a good place to start. Hayes describes it as "human-to-human, parent-to-parent, we-share-amazing-children-and-always-will love."

It's a great place to start, and it sounds like Khloé has already figured that out.

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Kim Kardashian West welcomed her fourth child into the world. The expectancy and arrival of this boy (her second child from surrogacy) has garnered much attention.

In a surrogacy pregnancy, a woman carries a pregnancy for another family and then after giving birth she relinquishes her rights of the child.

On her website, Kim wrote that she had medical complications with her previous pregnancy leading her to this decision. “I have always been really honest about my struggles with pregnancy. Preeclampsia and placenta accreta are high-risk conditions, so when I wanted to have a third baby, doctors said that it wasn't safe for my—or the baby's—health to carry on my own."

While the experience was challenging for her, “The connection with our baby came instantly and it's as if she was with us the whole time. Having a gestational carrier was so special for us and she made our dreams of expanding our family come true. We are so excited to finally welcome home our baby girl."

A Snapchat video hinted that Kim may have planned to breastfeed her third child. What she chooses to do is of course none of our business. But is has raised the very interesting question, “Wait, can you breastfeed when you use a surrogate?"

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The answer is yes, you sure can! (And you can when you adopt a baby, too!)

When a women is pregnant, she begins a process called lactogenesis in which her body prepares itself to start making milk. This usually starts around the twenty week mark of pregnancy (half way through). Then, when the baby is born, the second phase of lactogenesis occurs, and milk actually starts to fill the breasts.

All of this occurs in response to hormones. When women do not carry a pregnancy, but wish to breastfeed, they can induce lactation, where they replicate the same hormonal process that happens during pregnancy.

A woman who wants to induce lactation can work with a doctor or midwife, and start taking the hormones estrogen and progesterone (which grow breast tissue)—often in the form of birth control pills—along with a medication called domperidone (which increases milk production).

Several weeks before the baby will be born, the woman stops taking the birth control pill but continues to take the domperidone to simulate the hormonal changes that would happen in a pregnancy. She'll also start pumping multiple times per day, and will likely add herbal supplements, like fenugreek and blessed thistle.

Women can also try to induce lactation without the hormones, by using pumping and herbs, it may be harder but some women feel more comfortable with that route.

Inducing lactation takes a lot of dedication—but then again, so does everything related to be a mama. It's a super personal decision, and not right for everyone.

The important thing to remember is that we need to support women and mothers through their entire journey, no matter what decisions they make about themselves and their families—whether Kardashian or the rest of us.

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