Want to increase your breast milk supply?
Guess what: it may be easier than you think!
Today, we’re sharing 12 tips to help you give your supply a bit of a boost.
Many soon-to-be moms are lulled into believing that breastfeeding is easy.
I’m here to tell you it isn’t easy. I loved nursing my babies, but it was harder than I expected.
Even after getting the hang of nursing, there was the constant concern about supply.
I was fortunate to have some wonderful nurses who gave me excellent pointers, but I also did a lot of my own research and used trial and error to see how my body and supply would respond.
If you are concerned about your supply, don’t forget that if your baby is gaining weight, you’re probably doing just fine.
The rule of thumb is that your baby is more efficient than the pump, getting roughly an ounce more per feeding that you can expel while pumping.
It never hurts to make sure you have an ample supply, though, and here are 10 tips to help you do so.
Tips to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply
Affiliate links included below. If you make a purchase through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for your support!
First things first: if your breast milk supply is incredibly low or you’re worried that your baby isn’t getting enough to eat, talk you your doctor. This is not meant to be taken as medical advice!
1. Eat plenty of healthy fat
To have nutrient-rich, fatty milk, you have to eat properly. Breastfeeding burns a ton of calories, and you cannot skimp on what you’re taking in if you want to produce healthy milk.
Avocado, nuts, eggs, olive oil, etc. are great sources of healthy fat and will help with your milk production and quality. I snacked every time I nursed or pumped – it was an easy way to remember to do it!
Need some recipe ideas? Try these 20 Easy Egg Recipes for breakfast or our delicious grilled avocado with shrimp for lunch!
2. Drink lots of water
Your body needs water to produce breast milk; it’s as simple as that. The problem? Most of us aren’t getting enough! While the rule of thumb used to be eight 8-oz glasses a day, how much you need depends on a lot of factors. The Mayo Clinic recommends that nursing moms drink about 13 cups of water daily.
The hospital where I delivered gave me a big water jug in the hospital that I took home with me, and I knew if I drank 3 a day, I had enough water. If you’re apt to forget to drink enough water, consider purchasing a large tumbler and determine how many refills you need each day to get the proper water intake.
If you simply cannot stand the taste (or lack of taste) of plain water, try making fruit-infused water!
3. Take fenugreek supplements
Fenugreek is a one of the spices used in fake maple syrup to give it that maple flavor. Though it’s not known exactly why, fenugreek supplements may increase your milk supply.
Once you start taking them, you should see an increase in production within the first few days (if it’s going to work for you). While fenugreek is considered safe for nursing moms when used in moderation, you should consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Please do not take fenugreek to increase your milk supply while pregnant. It can affect uterine contractions, according to NIH. Fenugreek can also cause your breast milk to smell (and possibly taste) a bit like maple syrup.
4. Mother’s Milk tea
Made by Traditional Medicinals, Mother’s Milk tea is a blend of fenugreek, coriander, anise, fennel, and blessed thistle – herbs that are supposed to increase production.
While the jury is still out on whether these herbs are scientifically proven to increase your breast milk supply, I do think that the tea made a difference with production for me. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t bear the taste. Other mamas I know loved it, but it wasn’t for me!
A word of warning: while herbal teas are pretty safe for most people when used in moderation, treat them as you would any herbal supplement and run them by your doctor. Remember, herbs were the main source of medicine for thousands of years.
5. Pump after nursing
As you work to establish your breast milk supply early on, a great way to do that is to pump for a few minutes after you nurse. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand – your body will make more milk if there is demand for it.
By pumping post-nursing, your body will start to make an extra couple of ounces per feeding. You may also want to consider renting a hospital-grade pump. Even top-of-the-line consumer breast pumps are not as efficient as a hospital grade. Sometimes you have to “go big or go home!”
6. Pump through 2 letdowns.
I figured this one out by chance. I was pumping while working (I worked from home), and the time got away from me. Low and behold, a second letdown happened, and I got another couple ounces. I made that my routine from that point on.
7. Get as much sleep as you can.
The more stressed, anxious, and exhausted I was as a new mom, the more I noticed an issue with my breast milk supply. Sleep as much as you can! It will make a difference.
8. Nurse on both sides at each feeding
Offer both sides at each feeding, spending longer on the first side. That will ensure your baby gets the fatty hind-milk, but it also gives both breasts an equal chance to build up your breast milk supply.
Along with nursing on both sides, you should alternate your starting side. You want even feeding from both sides, so alternate which side you start on. I used to wear a bracelet and would alternate wrists. That way, I knew the side with the bracelet was the side to start on next time – the reminder helps a lot when you’re so tired!
9. Eat Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a good source of iron, and low levels of iron can decrease milk supply. Oatmeal is great for you, anyway so there’s really no negative! If you don’t have time to make it in the morning, try these overnight oatmeal recipes:
10. Visit with a lactation consultant
If you’re still struggling to increase your breast milk supply, ask your hospital or doctor for a recommendation of a lactation consultant. She will help make sure your baby’s latch is correct and will give you as much support as possible to help you have a successful nursing experience.
Hopefully these tips will make a difference for your breast milk supply! If they don’t, please don’t beat yourself up. Part of being a happy mama may be supplementing with formula or stopping breastfeeding altogether, and that’s okay. You and your baby will be just fine, either way!