10 Ways to Help Increase Your Milk Supply

Image by hugbub under Creative Commons License

Many mamas at some point during their breastfeeding journey will begin to doubt their milk supply. You think your baby is hungry and you can’t possibly have any milk left. Maybe you’re pumping a few ounces each pumping session, but think you should be getting more. Maybe your little one is going through a growth spurt and on the breast constantly and you can’t imagine that she’s getting enough milk. Or maybe you’ve returned to work and are looking for ways to increase your milk supply so that you’ll have enough to send to daycare.

Whatever the reason, worrying about your milk supply is very common. But you know what’s actually NOT common? Not having enough milk. Even though we all think we need to make more, most mamas do just fine and their little babes are satisfied. But if you are actually suffering from an undersupply and are looking for ways to boost your supply “just in case,” or just need some peace of mind, then read on.

Here are ten ways to help increase your breast milk supply.

1. Nurse, nurse, nurse as often as possible and as often as your baby wants.

The number one best way to increase your milk supply is to nurse often. It’s all about supply and demand. If your baby is demanding it, then your body will supply it. Mamas of newborns should be nursing at least eight times in 24 hours, and many will nurse more than that. Many mamas choose to co-sleep or bed share so their baby is close by at night and nursing is less of a task. Here are our tips on co-sleeping or bed sharing safely.

2. Drink lots of water.

Your body needs fluids to make that liquid gold! When I was doubting my milk supply with my first born, our pediatrician told me, “Drink until you feel like you’re going to float away.” While that might be a little extreme, she made her point. If you’re not good about drinking water throughout the day, aim for a glass every time you nurse.

3. Get some rest.

Your body needs to be rested and strong to make milk for your little one. Do whatever you have to do to get some sleep, whether it’s bed sharing, napping or just resting your eyes for 30 minutes.

4. Consider taking Fenugreek, Brewer’s Yeast, Blessed Thistle or Mother’s Milk Tea (which often contains all of those herbs).

The above are herbal supplements also called “galactagogues.” Some mamas might use these to help give their supply a boost. Be sure to talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant for dosages and directions. In extreme cases, prescription medicines, such as Reglan, can also be taken.

5. Eat oatmeal every day.

I have to admit, I’m getting sick of oatmeal since I have it every morning for breakfast, but I can tell a big difference in my milk supply on the days that I don’t eat it. Many mamas feel their supply is better on days they eat oatmeal, most likely due to the iron. Real oatmeal is the key though, not the instant packets. Spice up your oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, fresh fruit, peanut butter, maple syrup, raisins or nuts.

6. Make lactation cookies.

This is probably the most delicious way to make more milk! Pretty much any cookie with oatmeal will have the same impact, but these cookies are also made with flaxseed and brewer’s yeast.

7. Enjoy a beer.

Many mamas will swear to the fact that a beer helps their milk supply. Though it’s obviously not okay to get drunk and nurse your little one, the barley in beer can stimulate prolactin which can help us mamas make more milk! It also helps many mamas relax, which in turn also does wonders (see tip #10).

For mamas who are nervous that the alcohol may affect their baby, drink your beer while nursing, so that next time you nurse, it will be out of your system. Many mamas like to have a drink after putting their little ones down to bed before their biggest stretch of sleep.

8. Skin to skin

Skin to skin contact is often suggested for preemies and other newborns. Since newborns fall asleep while drinking mama’s warm milk, undressing the baby down to their diaper can help wake them up so they’ll eat more. Even for older kiddos, it can be a wonderful bonding experience between mama and baby! You can do skin to skin while nursing or even in the bathtub.

9. Pump!

While pumping mamas can definitely have other hurdles to overcome that non-pumping mamas don’t have to worry about, there are some things that nursing mamas can do that involve using a breast pump. Stimulating your breasts more often will tell them that they need to make more milk. “Cluster pumping” is similar to cluster feeding, where baby nurses as often as once an hour for several hours. Mamas who pump can do the same. “Power pumping” is when you pump for ten or so minutes immediately following nursing your baby to attempt to completely empty the breast so that it will make more milk. Make sure to check out our Top 10 Tips for a Pumping Mama, too!

I am a full-time working mama so I pump anywhere from two to four times a day in order to make enough milk to send to daycare. Some days, I don’t make enough. My freezer stash has dwindled down to almost nothing so we’ve started giving our little guy a few ounces of formula each day to make up for it and I’m totally okay with it! Remember mamas, you have to take care of yourself too!

10. Try to relax and enjoy the time with your baby.

This should go without saying, but relaxing and just enjoying your little bundle of joy can REALLY help your milk supply. Stress and worrying about how much milk you have can actually cause you to make less milk. Know that by giving your baby as much breast milk as you can, that you’re already giving them a huge gift. Love them up and try not to worry!

Here are just a few more helpful websites for nursing mamas:

www.lowmilksupply.org

www.kellymom.com

www.llli.org

Image by Daquella manera under Creative Commons License

7 Responses to 10 Ways to Help Increase Your Milk Supply

  1. Thank you for this. Time to make some oatmeal I guess!?!

  2. Biggest thing is don’t give up!!!! Love all the advice.

  3. Thanks for the info!

  4. Thanks for this post. My supply has decrease and I am trying to figure out how to increase it. I will be trying a few things from this post. Thanks!

  5. I am a mother of two and due with #3 anytime now, with my first my milk was slow to come in, but with #2 I drank tons of water! And I was a milk machine! I am a SAHM and was pumping 45-60oz a day just for storage! Water and pumping and nursing as much as you can is the best advice on here.

  6. Instant oatmeal works for me too!!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thank you. I am feeding my hungry boy who is 4 months and has 200ml…also give milk to my mum in law for health benefits…so need supply high…i loved your cookies recipe , maybe next time i put less sugar but this only because i find them a bit sweet but love hoe they held their shape :)

Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>