7 Natural Ways to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply

If you are experiencing low milk supply, you may be worried that your baby is not getting enough to eat. Here are ways to increase your breastmilk supply naturally for your baby.

This post contains affiliate links. To see my full disclosure policy for details.

“Drip, drip….” Watching your breast milk drip into the bottle as you pump is like watching a suspense movie. Am I having a good milk day and I will score tons of liquid gold? Or am I going to pump out next to nothing and feel like my boobs have dried up? Some days, when I pump more than I expected, I feel like doing a victory dance and parade my full bottle around like a trophy. Then on the other days… I just feel like sitting around, eating ice cream and doing nothing.

It’s hard not to be obsessed with milk supply when you are a nursing mom. After all, it is pretty miraculous how your breastmilk contains protein, antibodies, and all the nutrition your baby needs to thrive. So naturally, if you feel like your precious milk supply is running a little low, you start to feel anxious.

I remember when my supply tanked when I got food poisoning and wasn’t able to keep food down for days. Despite the fact that I wanted to die every time I got up from the bed, I continued to nurse my baby and researched on all the ways to increase milk supply. Now that I have nursed my son successfully for 2 years and am currently nursing my 10 months old daughter, I have several tricks up my sleeve when it comes to kicking milk production into high gear. So when you are feeling low, give these a try, and the results may just “perk” you right up (ha… ha…)!

1. INCREASE STIMULATION

The law of supply and demand may be derived from economics (yes, nerd mom here), but the postulation also applies to breastfeeding. Barring any medical problems, you should be producing as much milk as the baby needs. Therefore, to increase supply naturally, you need to trick your body into thinking that the baby needs more milk and trigger your breasts to produce more milk supply to keep up with the demand. There are several ways to do so:

Increase Feeding Frequency.

Feed the baby as often as you can during the day, preferably every 2 hours, if not more. The baby being fussy? Take out the boob! The baby seems bored? Take out the boob! The baby looks happy and content? Take out the boob anyway and offer it.

Point is, you want your baby to be sucking on you as frequently as possible so that your boobs think you have a ravenous baby and produce more milk! You want to trigger the let-down reflex as much as possible. Try nursing while holding your baby skin-to-skin to encourage even more milk production. Now, if your baby is back to his or her birth weight, you don’t need to wake up the baby every 2 hours for a nursing session at night. God knows you need all the rest you can get!

Pump after breastfeeding.

You want your breasts to think your baby needs more milk, but your baby has already drifted off to la-la land, full and drunk off your milk. You can’t force an already stuffed baby to drink more milk (unless you want to see the milk come out of your baby in reverse), so pump instead right after a feed to completely empty your breasts. Instead of telling your breasts your baby needs to feed more often, you are now telling your breasts that the baby needs more milk per feeding session. You don’t have to do this after every single feed but try to do as many as you can during the day; again, there is no need to stay up just to pump during the night.

Power pump.

Remember the evenings when your baby likes to cluster feed and you are stuck on the glider for hours at a time nursing your little one? Power pumping is similar in concept, but much easier because you are not dealing with a fussy baby and this only takes one hour a day. Here is how it works:

  1. Pick one hour each day (preferably in the mornings, when you produce the most milk).
  2. Pump for 20 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Pump for 10 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Pump for 10 minutes.
  5. Pump as usual the rest of the day.

The idea behind power pumping is stimulating your breasts frequently in quick succession. This should kick-start an increase in supply after 2-3 days. You can resume your normal pumping schedule after you see a result, but feel free to power pump again whenever you feel like giving your supply a boost.

2. USE BREAST COMPRESSIONS

Sometimes, your baby gets so comfortable while nursing that he or she starts falling asleep and stops sucking. While I feel like I have sleep-inducing super powers whenever this happens, a sleepy baby does not help with milk supply. Use breast compression and squirt some breastmilk into the baby’s mouth to wake them up just enough to start sucking again. Breast compression also helps remove milk more effectively from the breast while pumping. Trust me, you will love hearing the sound of more liquid gold getting sucked out by the pump and landing in the bottle when you compress during a pumping session. If that’s not the most satisfying sound on earth, I don’t know what is.

3. USE SUPPLEMENTS TO INCREASE MILK SUPPLY.

If you do some research, you will find a bunch of food that increases milk supply. The ones that work personally for me are:

Fenugreek.

Fenugreek is a common galactagogue (a substance that increases milk supply). I take these in capsule form and they work fairly fast – I usually can feel a difference within 48 hours.

Oatmeal.

Granola is one of my favorite snack items, so I have no issue with eating lots of oatmeal. Great for boosting milk supply. Not so great for my weight.

Organic Mother’s Milk.

Especially during the cold winters, I love drinking Mother’s Milk tea to help keep me warm as well as increase my supply. The tea is a combination of milk-boosting herbs such as fenugreek and blessed thistle. I find the Mother’s Milk tea quite pleasing to the taste buds with a little bit of bitterness and sweetness. 

Lactation Cookies.

Eating delicious cookies while increasing milk supply? Yes, dreams do come true. There are tons of lactation cookies recipes out there, but make sure the essential milk-boosting ingredients such as oats, brewer’s yeast, and flax seed meal are part of the recipe. I know, I wish chocolate chips could help with milk supply too, but at least now you have an excuse to eat cookies.

4. EAT A WELL-BALANCED DIET

You have little factories in your breasts pumping out milk while you are nursing. Therefore, you need to eat 3 healthy meals and about 3 healthy snacks per day to replenish the calories necessary to keep the factories running.

5. DRINK MORE WATER

Don’t force yourself to drink an uncomfortable amount of water, but drink at least the recommended eight 8-ounces glasses of water a day. While drinking more than the recommended amount does not make me produce more milk, drinking too little does make me lose supply.

6. REST UP

Especially for mothers of newborns, it’s difficult to get enough sleep. However, mothers tend to produce more milk when they are rested and are not stressed. Therefore, nap when your baby naps. Seriously. Hire someone to help with the house chores or walk the dog. Ask your relatives for help. Order healthy take out instead of cooking for a week. Let go of some responsibilities so you can spend time cuddling and nursing the baby all day. Take a “nursing vacation” and spend 2-3 days with nothing to worry about except breastfeeding your baby, sleeping, and eating. You will be stressed about your kids the rest of your life – take 2-3 days out to do something that’s good for you and the baby.

7. GET HELP.

Sometimes, the source of low milk supply may be due to incorrect latching, hormonal problems, medication, etc. If nothing is working at home, seek help with a lactation consultant or attend a breastfeeding support group near you. You can also find a la leche league in your area for breastfeeding education and encouragement.

YOU CAN DO IT!

Breastfeeding is not an easy journey, but one so worth taking. Whether you are exclusively breastfeeding, exclusively pumping, or doing a combination of both, you are giving your baby the best nourishment he or she can get. Don’t panic if you start seeing a decrease in supply because there are many ways to get your milk going again. I hope these tips will help boost your milk supply naturally and you will be back to worrying about shooting your baby accidentally in the eye with a strong letdown in no time!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Always seek the advice of a pediatrician, breastfeeding consultant, or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

What way(s) of increasing breast milk supply worked for you?

If you are experiencing low milk supply, you may be worried that your baby is not getting enough to eat. Here are ways to increase your breastmilk supply naturally for your baby.

42 thoughts on “7 Natural Ways to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply”

  1. Oh wow, so happy to find all these great tips on increasing the milk flow – I was literally pulling my hair out…now I’ve got hope and will start following your advice. Thank you so much 🙂

  2. Those first few lines about watching every drop in the bottle brought back such strong memories for me! I had a really hard time with my supply so each pump was stressful! I tried the fenugreek capsules, but had to stop when they upset my daughter’s stomach. I really liked the Mother’s milk tea though! Even just as a drink!

  3. Diet has so much to play in the supply.. Liquids & certain foods increase the milk supply & they are really important to have in diet. Great tips for all lactating mothers!

  4. pumping is so hard-I agree with everything here but supplements, only because I never needed to take them. just by supply and demand, I had sooo much extra milk I had gallons to donate (which I did and fed two other babies)

  5. Oh wow, I was a formula feeding mom so I didn’t know any of these increased milk supplies. You learn something new everyday.

  6. I never could pump back in the days when I was breastfeeding! I’d get nothing and I tried all the pumps out there. Breastfeeding was pretty easy. For me, pumping was not.

  7. Many different products and ways to up your milk supply. I always just drank an 8 ounce glass of water immediately when the baby latched on. Helps body relax and need stay hydrated.

  8. What a helpful post. I struggled with breastfeeding.. perhaps it was a mix of not knowing what to do and not being motivated enough to do it when i was failing. These are really good information, I wish I read up on during those depressing times. Thanks for sharing this with other moms. xo, Maria
    https://imommy.co

  9. The very best way to boost milk supply is letting your baby suckle as often and as long as s/he wants. No pump on earth can best a suckling babe.

    Oatmeal (not the instant or quick varieties) and a tea boosting supplement healthy nursing tea. I had great support with these two things and continuous nursing.

  10. Pam Wattenbarger

    These are great tips for anyone who wants to increase their milk supply. It’s so important to keep your supply up.

  11. I had great results with a lactation cookie recipe my friend gave me. Making sure you drink a ton of water is so important. I will have to share this post with my friend that is expecting.

  12. What a great post for anyone who is breastfeeding, thinking of breastfeeding or pregnant! I’ll definitely share this with a family friend who recently had a baby.

  13. Ah! Breastfeeding is a great deal. It is a helpful article for the mothers to be, or going through this period. The time has been evolving and hence are the new methods for every requirement. The methods are though, difficult at first.

  14. I did not have problems producing breast milk for my children. It was a problem weaning them away from the boob! However, in my daughter’s case it was different. She had to take supplements to increase her supply. She was taking Fenugreek and Moringa. It did help increase the flow.

  15. Breast milk is still best for babies. Thank you for sharing your tips to increase breast milk supply. I will bear this in mind when I become a mother someday.

  16. Every time I have a problem with my milk supply, I take moringa. It’s something my doula recommended before and it’s wonderful! Not only does it help increase my milk supply, it’s supposedly chock full of other vitamins and nutrients!

  17. I have made it almost 6 months with my 2nd child. My 1st would not latch and I got mastitis twice and dried up. Here’s my concerns with my second child right now. I nurse her in the morning. Pump before I start work(usually 5-8oz). Pump 5hrs later at lunch (5-7 oz) and then 5hrs later nurse her the remaining evening. On the weekends I nurse her when needed no pumping usually. I do feel like my supply is dwindling and sometimes she acts like she’s not getting much. The mothers tea I am not a fan of. I do drink the milk flow berry mix 4x a week in the morning. Has anyone tried that and does it help? I’m not sure what to do, drinking lots of water and trying to eat well balanced meals. Any tips? I have milk in the freezer home and at daycare. They do have to get some out while I’m at work since the two bottles I pump during the day aren’t enough.

    1. Hi Jessica! I have not heard of the milk flow berry mix. Have you tried taking fenugreek supplements? I also have a post on lactation cookies if you want to check it out (https://www.theterrificfive.com/lactation-cookies-boost-breast-milk-supply/). As I mentioned, the most effective way to increase milk supply is to basically nurse your baby lots. However, since you are at work and have to pump, I would pump more frequently than the beginning of work and lunchtime. During the weekend, do your 6 months old nurse more often than every 5 hours? If so, then you should be pumping at the same frequency if not more to try and increase your milk supply. Pumping extract a lot less milk than nursing the baby directly so if you are stuck with the pump then you will just have to do it more frequently. Do please try the lactation cookies because I have seen them help a lot of people increase milk supply. Good luck and please do not hesitate to contact me if you need more information!

  18. This is full of so much valuable information. Thank you for sharing.
    I struggled with low milk supply with my last baby. I did many things including taking fenugreek. I smellled like pancake syrup for months!

  19. These are all great tips! I totally agree one hundred percent with offering your boob to baby as much as possible. I fed my little man every two hours pretty much and I found that to be super helpful. When I started work, I would add a pump session at night as well for extra stimulation.

    1. Wow props to you! It’s so stressful to make sure you have enough breast milk for your little one, sounds like you did a superb job!

  20. These are awesome tips! Breastfeeding can be such a struggle for many women. With my son, he breastfed for 2 years- but not after several hiccups. He wouldn’t latch the first month and I had to pump, then he’d only latch to a nipple shield until 6 months and during this time my supply drastically dropped (not just leveled out, but dropped to barely anything). Oats really helped me as well as drinking 90-100 oz of water a day. And some of those lactation cookies are seriously delicious (and VERY helpful)!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top