For a number of reasons I am now exclusively pumping. How can I ensure my milk supply remains adequate for baby?

Good for you! There are many reasons why mothers find themselves exclusively pumping. I think it is wonderful that you have decided to pump your precious milk for your baby,

Here are some things you can do to ensure adequate supply while exclusively pumping for your baby.

Remember Rule #1 - For the first 12 weeks after delivery, you must pump 8-12 times a day (that's every 2-3 hours), for at least 15-20 minutes, or 5 minutes past milk flow. The extra time after milk stops, as well as the frequency, tells your body to make more milk. Try to make sure at least one of your pumps is between 1-5 AM when prolactin levels are at their highest.

It's normal for your milk supply to build up over time. While some people have a fabulous supply from the get-go, most people will build up slowly. Don't see those collection bottles as a dare - it could be months before you fill them at a single pump (your best bet will be early AM for that!) Remember that milk is a supply-and-demand situation - you need to keep pumping to tell your body to make more milk.

Power pumping involves pumping every 2-3 hours, no matter what, for 2-3 days. Especially during growth spurts, power pumping is highly recommended. Try to awaken throughout the night for optimal results. That is why it is recommended to do on weekends when your husband/significant other may be home to help with night feedings.

There's no need to gorge on water, but make sure you're getting at least 8 glasses a day. Some people notice more drastic supply changes due to hydration than others.

Make sure you're getting enough calories. It can be tough with all the new action in the house, but you need food to make milk.Supplements and teas can help, don't be afraid to try them.

Many people swear by eating regular (not instant) oatmeal…basically a big bowl of porridge!

Lack of sleep and stress can hurt your supply, as can the return of menstruation. Magnesium supplements will combat the supply dip associated with this.

Galactagogues (substances that increases milk supply) can be used. Herbal supplements, such as Fenugreek or Blessed Thistle can be taken in capsules. There are some fantastic herbal tea blends which contain traditional milk producing remedies. There are also prescription drugs available to increase milk supply; however, these may have some side effects. Consult your lactation consultant and doctor to discuss what is the best solution for you.