Any advice for maintaining milk supply?
I have been pretty lucky with my supply, but I do have days when it seems to go down. There are a few things that I do. First - I increase my water intake. I definitely notice a hit to my supply if I haven't had a enough water. If I really think it's a problem, then I take some herbal supplements. Fenugreek is known for helping the milk supply. It definitely helps boost me after taking for about two days. I don't take it all the time, but just occasionally when I feel like I need a boost. I also eat a big bowl of oatmeal every morning, as oatmeal is supposed to be good for milk production. Finally - the best way to increase the milk supply is to put the babies to the breast more. Milk production works on supply and demand - so putting the babies to the breast more (or pumping more if you can't do that), will tell you body that it needs to make more milk. This definitely helps me. There are prescription drugs you can get if you have a real problem. I don't have any experience with those.
I also religiously read the breastfeeding forum on twinstuff.com - it's great for inspiration when I get discouraged, and tons of advice from ladies who have been there, done that.
I'm also really religious about tracking my output. I have a small calendar book that I keep in my pump bag. Every day I write down exactly how much I pump, how much we use in bottles, how much we take out of the freezer, how much we put in. This lets me very quickly see whether I'm ahead or behind with pumping each day, and then I can quickly do something about it if I see a downward trend.
Mind if I ask where you bought your little cube-trays? Are they especially for baby food making?
I have two kinds of cube trays. Both are made of plastic that are safe for babies, and both have nice tight fitting lids so nothing spills in the freezer. This one is just for baby food. It works pretty good, easy to fill, easy to pop the cubes out. My only complaint about it is that it only makes seven cubes. I got these at a local shop, but I think they're pretty broadly available. This one is made for freezing both breast milk or baby food. I use these to freeze my milk - it's great because each cube is one ounce, and the tray holds 12 ounces. And I've recently started using them for baby food as well. My only complaint with this one is that you have to fill the tray to the rim in order to get a full ounce in each cube. I got my first set of these from Amazon, and recently some more from a local shop.
Oh, and I would love to see your baby food "menus" :-)
I think our menus will get more interesting in another month or so - the 8 month mark seems to be a time when they can have a much wider variety of foods. Right now it's fairly limited and is starting to seem a little boring (to me, but they don't seem bored with it).
The basic formula for one baby (although I make twice this) is cereal (approx. 5 tablespoons mixed with 1.5 ounce breast milk) + 2 cubes (or 1-2 tablespoons) of veggies and/or fruit for the main course. Plus I usually try to do a second course just some fruit or veggie (and ounce or two) without cereal, as I want them to get used to having the stuff without the cereal too.
Our total menu right now consists of these items:
Cereal: rice, oatmeal, and a mixed grain one that contains rice, oatmeal and barley
Vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, peas, green beans and most recently the not-so-interesting zuchini squash (known as courgette in some parts of the world)
Fruit: apples, pears, bananas, mango, watermelon, avocado, peaches
finger food: cheerios, teething biscuits, watermelon, cooked carrots, I tried a crust of bread once and will again soon.
juice: prune and pear (I only give juice when I think Danny needs a little extra help moving things through)
All of these things are good individually, but I usually combine things for different flavors. I pretty much just combine different things randomly, but here are a few examples of favorite combinations:
- cereal + peas + carrots
- cereal + butternut squash + applesauce
- cereal + sweet potato + applesauce
- cereal + peas + banana
- avocado (1 quarter of a fresh one, mashed) + banana (2 frozen chunks) + pear (1T)
- mango + applesauce + prunes
- pears + prunes
Danny likes it all. He will basically eat anything. Callie shows a definite preference for the sweet orange vegetables, she gobbles those up much more than the green veggies or the fruit.
Next month I plan to try parsnip, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, maybe blueberries. The fruit options will get better when we get into summer and good fruit is easier to get. I think they can also have some other proteins at 8 months - meats, cheese, etc. - but I'm not sure I'm in much of a hurry to try that. we'll see.
Ok, that was a very long winded answer to a simple question. Probably should have been a post by itself.