So now that you know how it all began, here we are. I am exclusively pumping, and according to the Glow Baby App, I'm pumping anywhere from 900-1300 ml per day (30-43.3 oz). In the beginning, I was getting 250-350ml each day. Keep in mind, your supply naturally increases as baby's demand increases, so that has to account for some of my supply increase. Like I previously stated, the steps I took were from research across many sites on the internet, and the information I have is also from research. So here's what I did, and what I learned!
Pump, and pump often. In the beginning, I was pumping as often as I was feeding the baby, and I was feeding on demand. He was a little babe at that point, so it was usually every two hours. If the little babe allowed, I was pumping for twenty minutes as well. Did I always get to pump every two hours? No, no I did not. But when you're trying to increase your supply, pump as often as you can, and if it takes twenty minutes to allow for multiple let downs and completely drain your breast, that's what you have to do. Now that my supply is large, and I'm trying to pump less often, I've been pumping for at least thirty minutes while massaging my breast. Sometimes it can take a little longer. One trick is to pump longer than your actual expression; this sends a signal to the breast that you are not producing enough milk to keep up with demand and helps increase supply.
How did this help my supply? Well my lactation consult and I found that my babe was an inefficient nurser, so even after nursing for 20-30 minutes, he was only eating about an ounce. If I had not started pumping, I would have had even more issues with keeping up with his demands. Pumping helped increase demand. In the beginning, I was supplementing my breast milk with formula; I haven't had to do that for weeks, and I have a stockpile of over 300 ounces.
Drink lots and lots and lots of water. In the beginning, my boyfriend would make sure I always had a full bottle of water next to me. After he went back to work, it became my responsibility, and on the days I slack off on drinking water, my supply suffers. I've gotten into the habit of drinking at least twelve ounces of water each time I pump. Now that I'm pumping less but still feeding at least five times a day, I try to drink that much each time I feed him.
Keep taking your prenatal vitamins. There are also post-partum and breastfeeding vitamins on the market as well. Take a vitamin! You are making your baby's food, and that is a high demand on your body. Make sure you're getting what you both need. I don't know if this effects your supply, but it's hard to be an efficient milk machine if you're run down.
Drink smoothies! You can add the smoothie ingredients to other meals, but making smoothies is fast and easy and sometimes you don't have time to do anything other than throw some shit in a blender and turn it on. Bonus points if you have a separate room away from where the baby is sleeping to run your blender. I usually only drink one smoothie a day, but if I have more than one, the only ingredients I never double are the fenugreek and lecithin. Everything else is on a "what's my mood" basis if I have a second smoothie.
I bought everything I needed for my smoothies between Amazon Prime and Prime Now. Though I do work for Amazon, I don't benefit from sharing the links that way. I do use Amazon Affiliates, but I mostly use it for the shortened links.
Black + Decker Fusion Blade Personal Blender ($20-$30) - This has two cups and is super easy to clean. It handles frozen banana chunks and whole frozen strawberries just fine. I add whole oatmeal as well, and why it's not smooth (because oatmeal), but it's totally drinkable and it is a pretty powerful little machine.
Spectrum Ground Flaxseed, 24 ounces ($7.95) - I use a tablespoon of this per smoothie, if I include it in my smoothie. There is no reason to not include it in every smoothie I make, but I don't always include it. Store this in the freezer to keep it fresh as long as possible; omegas are susceptible to damage from temperature fluctuations.
Spectrum Ground Chia Seed, 10 ounces ($7.84) - I don't always use Chia Seed either, but when I do, it's a tablespoon as well. I store this in my freezer as well to keep it as fresh as possible.
Starwest Botanicals Organic Fenugreek Seed Powder, 1 Pound ($12.76) - this stuff is the magic. Fenugreek is well known for it's ability to increase your milk supply. It is one of the main ingredients of all of the "mother's milk tea"s on the market. I can see an increase in supply within hours. I only use 1/8 of a teaspoon per smoothie, or 1/4 of teaspoon, but only every other day. I have to be careful with fenugreek or I will have issues with engorgement. I've also read that it can give the baby diarrhea, so I am careful to not overuse it. My bub has enough tummy issues.
Lecithin Granules NON-GMO Now Foods 1 lbs Granule ($13.87) - this does not increase supply, but it is vital to your supply. Lecithin is a fat emulsifier, so it helps prevent clogged ducts. I was having issues with recurrent clogged ducts in my right breast, so I started including this. I haven't had clogged ducts since. My supply suffered from the clogged ducts, and my right breast is my slacker now (usually only producing about 65% of what my left breast produces). This is a non-gmo soy lecithin, but you can also get sunflower sourced lecithin if you have a soy allergy. I use one serving in my smoothie, which is listed as 1.5 tablespoons.
I will get some photos and expand on this a little more later, but I wanted to get this information up immediately for those of you who have messaged me. Consider this a work in progress! When I update it again, it will include information about why I use these items specifically, and also resources for information.