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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Dani Friedhoff

having a boyfriend/husband that supports you can help your supply too. I've noticed this winter that I've been feeling kind of dried out, so keep hydrated, the dryer I feel the less milk I pump out for his cereal.

Sharon Matthews

I nursed 3 children and had no problems with milk supply. I was their milk supply and pacifier whenever they needed it. Ate normal meals, drank water when thirsty, never pumped bc I didn't want them to prefer the bottle over me, did the co-sleeping thing and had a great experience all 3 times. I think the main reason for my success was in not allowing a pacifier or bottle ever. After my last child, I had milk (not dripping or anything) for 7 years before it finally dried up.  I just wish I'd known how to offer myself as a wet-nurse or even just sell my milk. Could have made a fortune!  :)

lovem... lovemyson1224

Most important in my opinion... DO NOT SUPPLEMENT with formula (as long as the baby is gaining of course). I think a lot of first time breastfeeding moms who think they aren't producing enough fall back on formula and dont realize that hurts your supply. Breastfeeding is a supply demand thing. Of the demand isn't there the breast won't produce the milk.

nonmember avatar SLP

I used a product called More Milk Plus by Motherlove, you can find it online and in some pharmacies. It's basically concentrated fenugreek extract. It tastes absolutely HORRIBLE but it worked for me (I had to mix it with juice and down it like a shot, chased with more juice). Oatmeal almost every morning helped too.

nonmember avatar jodie

I had no issues with supply and I supplemented with formula when ever I felt like I needed a break. No issues with two kids. Oh and I used a shield the entire time, and pacifier for both, bottles within a few days of their birth. There is no "right" answer for everyone, do what works for you!

Cham Beau

The first week I had to keep pumping after every feeding. The best place to pump is in the shower. Hot water help the stimulation of milk flow.

nonmember avatar tuffntiny

2 cups of regular old V8 a day. Not the blends. That and lots of water did the trick for me.

Heather Wood

Essiancal Oils from doTERRA, Clary Sage to start production, fennel or basil to increase production, peppermint to decrease production, and jasmine (might help) to decrease production.

WImommie WImommie

Recently, I have been soaking half a tbsp of fenugreek seeds in about 2 oz of distilled water for a full day (kept in the fridge to keep them from going sour) and then chew the seeds & drink the water before bed... within 48 hours I noticed that not only was my  production improved, but my beast tissue itself increased... very satisfied with my results...


nonmember avatar Melanie

I was DETERMINED to solely breastfeed, but my milk glands barely developed during pregnancy. I tried ALL of the methods listed here and then some....the most I was ever able to produce at once was 2oz. I consulted lactation specialists, my midwife and other moms to no avail. It was absolutely heartbreaking to not be able to be all my baby needed, but I stuck with breastfeeding as much as my body would allow and spent lots of skin-to-skin contact when giving formula. I'm praying the next go around improves things a bit more.

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