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  • Rica Peralejo's 'Game-changing' Ways That Boost Her Milk Supply

    Rica Peralejo first accepted that she has a nursing problem to be able to really deal with it.
    by Rachel Perez .
Rica Peralejo's 'Game-changing' Ways That Boost Her Milk Supply
PHOTO BY @ricaperelajo/Instagram
  • One of the reasons why many moms stop breastfeeding earlier than they planned is low breast milk supply. But as they say, "If there's a will, there's a way!" 

    Rica Peralejo's breastfeeding journey with her second son, Manu, has not been smooth-sailing. Her milk production decreased when she was under a lot of stress when her father died last August 2019. She was staying up late for several nights and skipping meals due to exhaustion. She even had to wear an eyepatch due to corneal abrasion when Manu accidentally poked her eye. 

    It was a wakeup call when Rica also noticed her baby boy was showing some signs of dehydration and lost some weight. Since then, the mom vlogger has been doing everything to boost her breast milk supply. Just last night, November 13, 2019, she was able to do it! Rica was able to express six ounces of breast milk -- from only an ounce to four ounces weeks before.

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    "So much of the work was on the acceptance part, where I had to admit I had a nursing problem, and it just won't be as easy as how it was for me before," Rica revealed. She didn't have the same problem with her first son Philip and was able to nurse him for two years. 

    Rica described her path to increased milk supply is a "long and steep climb." She's sharing the practices that's has worked for her.
    PHOTO BY screenshots from @ricaperalejo/Instagram Stories
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    5 ways to boosted milk supply, according to Rica 

    Every breastfeeding journey is also different, as much as every child is different. Rica thought it would be easy for her to nurse again since she did so well the first time. After accepting her and Manu's nursing problem, she was able to focus on what's working for them, which she shares below. They're not exactly new (she had shared some tips before), but it was gam-changing for her. 

    Round-the-clock milk expression

    "Consistency is key. Never miss a session or opportunity to drain breasts," Rica said. "When I became consistent about my schedule, the milk supply improved also. It wasn't fast, though! It takes time," she said.

    The mom vlogger shared the best milk expression tools that are working for her are right now are the Haakaa manual breast pump, Haenim Pocket Pump and Freemie cups, hand-expression, and direct latching (more on the last two below).

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    It still took time for RIca's milk supply to recover even after committing to round-the-clock pumping sessions. 
    PHOTO BY SCREENSHOTS FROM @RICAPERALEJO/INSTAGRAM STORIES

    When the breast pump fails, hand-express!

    Even after having Manu latch directly, Rica still hand-expresses milk to empty her breasts. Emptying the breasts of milk is one of the signs that the body needs to produce more milk. 

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     How do you know if a breast is empty of milk? "Hindi siya actually nae-empty completely, but you feel that milk is removed efficiently from the breast. Parang na-deflate na balloon," Rica described. 

    Rica says it's a must for all moms to learn how to hand-express breast milk.
    PHOTO BY screenshots from @ricaperalejo/Instagram Stories
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    Rica has heard many stories of moms who initially thought they don't have milk because the breast pump only expresses just a few ounces of milk. But when they hand-expressed, they have a lot of milk. It also helps relieve breast engorgement and prevents mastitis. (Click here to learn how to hand express breast milk.)

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    Galactagogues that work for her

    Just like choosing a breast pump, finding lactation treats can help. Rica's go-to galactagogues are malunggay, fenugreek, blessed thistle capsules, Milksta Mommy Brew lactation coffee, and doctor-prescribed medication to increase prolactin levels.

    Lactation massage!

    She got her lactation massages from Recovery Mode MNL. It helps not just the breasts to produce more milk, but relieve engorgement. Sitti Navarro and Yasmin Kurdi had also credited the miracle of lactation massages on their breastfeeding journeys. 

    Direct latch whenever possible

    Rica still nurses Manu on-demand, which meant looking out for his hunger cues instead of feeding him on a schedule. The baby boy feeds almost every three to four hours or so, which is her basis for her pumping schedule. "My game plan is this: Express as much as I can to have enough on standby." Rica shared.

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    Rica based her round-the-clock pumping schedule based on Manu's feeding schedule. But she still lets her baby latch directly whenever possible.  
    PHOTO BYSCREENSHOTS FROM @RICAPERALEJO/INSTAGRAM STORIES

    She's mostly giving Manu her expressed milk now since "he's a little impatient with the letdown," the mom of two shared. But she still lets him latch whenever he wants to snack or sleep. When she can freeze and have enough stock, then she plans to prioritize direct latching and transition back into full breastfeeding.

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    For more ways to deal with low breast milk supply, click here.

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