Andrea Tran RN, BSN, MA, IBCLC
When you are the one responsible for producing your baby’s food, you want to do the best job that you can. One of the most common concerns a breastfeeding mama has is whether she is making enough milk for her baby. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of women make plenty of milk.
If you are one of those moms who has a true low milk supply, you will want to do everything you can to increase your production.
Perhaps your supply has been fine, and you have just hit a bump in the road and need a little boost. For moms who work full-time, they often find their supply starts to dip by the end of the week. The truth is that there are many scenarios where a mom might want to know how to make more milk.
Whatever your reason is for wanting to increase your breast milk supply, these tips have been used successfully, time and time again.
Always make sure you start with good breastfeeding basics.
- A good latch ensures comfortable nursing and good stimulation.
- Frequent breast stimulation is essential. This is that whole supply and demand thing that you have heard about. The stimulation can be from breastfeeding or pumping or a combination. There just needs to be lots of it.
- Thorough emptying of the milk. When a lot of milk is left in the breasts, it tells them to make less milk.
- It takes a lot of calories to grow a tiny human. Make sure you are eating enough quality calories. On average, you need about 500 calories above what you needed before you became pregnant. Make sure you are getting lots of protein, as well as good fats. Salmon is an excellent source of both, and Milk Dust is an amazing source of protein and quality calories.
- Keep yourself well-hydrated. Always have a water bottle nearby.
Pumping to increase milk supply
This taps into that whole supply and demand thing. More stimulation results in more milk.
- Pump within 15-20 minutes after a feeding to ensure you don’t take food away from your baby’s next feeding.
- There are no hard rules about how long you need to pump. If you only have 5 minutes, then pump for that long.
- If you have a full 15 minutes, don’t stop pumping just because you stop getting milk. The continued stimulation after your breasts are empty tell them to make more milk.
- Research has shown that moms who massage and compress their breasts during pumping make more milk. This is called “hands-on pumping.”
- The right size of breast flange is important for proper stimulation and emptying. Your nipples should not rub on the sides of the flange, and only a little bit of areola should be pulled in.
There are lots of foods that can increase milk supply. Many of them are very yummy and make tasty snacks.
- Oatmeal is great for milk production. You can use it in cookies, muffins, energy bites, bread, and even smoothies!
- Dates are a tasty treat that helps support milk production (Source). You can keep some in a bag in your purse for an on-the-go snack.
- Smoothies – you have to eat breakfast, so make it count. Using a smoothie mix like Milk Dust Protein Powder is going to give your supply a boost. Throwing in a handful of spinach leaves helps you get your daily dose of veggies.
- Cookies – This is my favorite one! Use foods that encourage milk production like brewer’s yeast and oatmeal. Adding some fenugreek will give it an extra boost, or a scoop of Milk Dust in the recipe. These Brownie Boobie Bites are AWESOME!
- Energy bites – dates and oatmeal make great energy bites with two foods that are good for your supply.
- Pinterest is a great place to get recipes for lactation cookies and smoothies.
There are single herbs, and there are blends. You can get most herbs as a tincture or in capsules. In my experience, the tinctures seem to be more effective. They do have a very strong taste, though. You can also brew them as teas.
One of the most common unpleasant side effects of herbs is an upset tummy. Begin with a low dosage and always stop taking anything that causes an allergic reaction.
- Fenugreek (main herb in Milk Dust)
- Goat’s Rue
- More Milk Plus
- Milk Rich
These can be used topically with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. Take care to make sure none of it gets on your nipples. If an essential oil is labeled safe for internal use, it can be added to foods or taken in a capsule. Safety for use this way can vary according to the manufacturer of the essential oil, so always check the label.
- Clary Sage
Avoid foods that can hurt your milk supply
Some foods can actually cause your supply to decrease. Avoid these while you are breastfeeding.
Acupuncture is something I always encourage a mom with a low milk supply to consider. Research has supported its value for increasing milk supply (Source). It has been so effective in the mamas I have worked with over the last 25 years.
Now you have lots of ideas on tips to increase your milk supply in a variety of ways. Pick the one that works best for you.
Andrea Tran is an RN and a lactation consultant (IBCLC). She has her Master’s in Health and Wellness and has been helping moms and babies breastfeed for over 25 years.
These recommendations are for general and educational purposes only. You should always check with your health care professionals regarding your situation.