10 Natural Ways to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply

Mom Moment 35

breastfeeding For a breastfeeding mom, there's nothing quite as frustrating as feeling like you're not producing enough milk. You've got a hungry baby here, what the heck do you do!? Give up?

No way! Increasing your milk production is possible, and you don't have to use some quasi-safe pills to do it. Here's a start on some safe, natural ways to boost your milk supply.

Breastfeeding Mom Tips1. Pump. The experts suggest adding a few pumping sessions in between feedings, keeping the pump running for as much as 5 minutes after the last drop of milk is expressed. Putting more demand on your breasts tells the body to make more milk.

2. Switch Breasts While Nursing. Frequent switches will not only put more demand on the breast so the body knows to make more milk, but it will keep your baby from settling into comfort sucking. More active eating ensures that the breasts are actually being drained, which will allow for more milk to be produced. Switch at least two to three times during one nursing.

3. Practice Breast Compression While Nursing. Compressing the breast while baby is sucking will help stimulate the milk letdown, ensuring the breasts truly empty during a feeding.

4. Fenugreek Seeds. Ingesting the seeds of the plant used back in the day for inducing childbirth can help boost milk production. It is known to cause gas and bloating, so beware!

5. Mother's Milk Tea. Another way to get some fenugreek in your system, this tea is a hit with many moms. A few things to be aware of: some mothers report upset stomach from the tea, and it can make you smell a bit like maple syrup. 

More From The Stir: Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: 7 Tips to Guarantee Baby's Bottles Will Be Filled

6. Lactation Cookies. There are various brands you can purchase pre-made or you can make your own. Most feature oats which -- on their own -- are touted for helping moms bump up their production.

7. Eat Healthy Foods. No magic recipes here, but many a new mom has been known to set aside her own needs because she's so focused on the baby. This is counterproductive! The body needs fuel in order to produce milk.

8. Drink a Beer. You'll want to clear this one with your doctor before trying it, but beer is considered by many to be part of a "lactogenic" diet or one that is good for lactating.

9. Reduce Stress. Easier said than done, especially when you're having trouble with breastfeeding, I know, but the stress inhibits the production of oxytocin. That's the hormone that stimulates the milk letdown.

10. Take Baby to Bed. Co-sleeping encourages nursing on demand, and the more you nurse, the more your body will make.

Have you struggled with milk production? What are you safe, natural tips for increasing your supply?


Images via Raphael Goetter/Flickr; © iStock.com/maybefalse



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Stama... Stamatina79

Switching breasts 2 to 3 times is one feeding is a terrible idea. The proper way to ensure a good supply and proper balance of hindmilk and formilk onto allow the baby to drain one breast before offering the other.

Stama... Stamatina79

Breast compression a can also give the baby too much milk at once and have the baby clamp down or spot up after a feeding.

Maias... MaiasMommy619

Steel Cut oats are great!

nonmember avatar Sabrina

Stamatina is right. You don't want to switch up your breasts during feedings like that, or your child won't get the proper amount of hindmilk and will not get properly satiated.

miche... micheledo

Kangaroo care!!! I have heard that helps your milk come in and can help increase.supply. I tried it with my fifth and it had great results!! (Skin to skin contact)

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

I don't believe in the formilk hind milk imbalances. My midwife doesn't either... Maybe it depends on the person, but for me nursing a little then pumping and storing the rest has resulted in a healthy 75th percentile baby. And he's only getting what would be considered formilk most of the time... All wonderful tips. And as with anything, there's no one size fits all.

Heidi Hovis

WATER - I try to drink enough water everyday but I found the days when I really struggle to make enough milk are also following days where I hadn't had enough water. When nursing you NEED to drink your eight cups a day if not more. Consider that if en Elephant mother doesn't get to water within 24hours of giving birth her baby will die. I think water is the MOST important thing to have when nursing. Also #32 Bell Nursing Mothers Tea, works amazingly well and has no side effects that I'm aware of. It will also help with colic and upset stomach for both mom and baby. But seriously drink LOTS of WATER!

Jessica Kwasnik

This may sound terrible, but if I've been sick and not eating I find my milk can pretty much disappear.. what usually brings it back is a calorie fest. An awful example: Mcdonald's meal plus the pies and a mcflurry. (then my supply is pretty much normal by the morning lol)
Rye bread and beer can also help

nonmember avatar Hjk

If you have low supply, then foremilk/hindmilk is a nonissue. Switching breast midfeed is a great tactic as is breast compression. If you have an over abundant supply, these tactics are not meant for you. Please consider the context of the article before spouting false info, us low supply moms can use all the help we can get.

nonmember avatar Celeste

Maybe I didn't have a milk production problem, but when it seemed like my baby wasn't getting satisfied, I just waited it out while he nursed constantly and my milk supply caught up soon after - the next day or so.

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