Learn the best ways to increase your milk supply so you don’t have to quit breastfeeding!
You’re set on breastfeeding, and…you love it! Baby loves it.
But there’s one factor standing in your way that will soon cause you to either abort mission or continue to breastfeed without having the full milk supply that you want and your baby needs.
Too many women give up on breastfeeding because they experience a shortage in their milk supply and believe that they just weren’t meant to keep going.
Their body did not naturally produce it, so there was nothing they could do. Right?
And for those that have tried to find solutions, they became discouraged when their efforts didn’t work.
But here’s the good news… your journey doesn’t have to end. It gets a whole lot better as you discover there are things you can do to increase your milk supply. It took me a while to catch on to these amazing tips back when I was breastfeeding my twins. These methods are incredible.
So- let’s dive in.
Ways to Increase Milk Supply
1. Eat Nutritious Foods
Hippocrates’ well known quote says, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
This is absolute truth, mama! Food fuels the body of the nursing mother. You can’t expect milk to flow out if your not putting enough food in.
Consuming enough of the right foods should be a high priority because it has a direct effect not only on how much milk your body supplies, but on milk quality as well.
A junk food diet will still cause you to produce milk, just not of the highest quality. So make it your goal to maintain a nutrient-rich diet.
It can be helpful to have a quick reference guide close when meal planning. This reminder helps you to be intentional about incorporating the right vitamins and minerals into your diet.
You’ll also have a quick way to see which food sources have the nutrients you need for that meal so you can make the best healthy choices.
While there are some foods you should stay away from, there’s still a plethora of amazing guilt-free foods you can (and should!) indulge in.
So what are these foods that are so great for you and baby?
- Dark leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
- Brazil nuts
- And the list goes on!
To learn more about the proper breastfeeding diet, check out this post!
Fenugreek is a natural herb that has been used for decades for various purposes. One in which just happens to be to increase breastmilk supply.
This supplement comes in the form of tea, capsules, or dopplets.
Please note, you should always consult your doctor before taking any new medication. Even if it is just a natural herb, as some herbs aren’t safe for consumption while breastfeeding.
Also, keep in mind that some mothers have noticed their babies become more fussy when taking this herb. Every mom and her baby respond different, so keep that in mind.
3. Breastfeed or Pump More Often
You should be averaging 8-10 sessions per day with nursing and breast pumping combined.
In order to increase your milk supply, you need to up the number of sessions you do per day. The more frequently you nurse and/or pump (emptying your breasts each time), the more milk your body will supply.
This is known as power pumping. Check out this post where I cover power pumping in greater depth.
It can feel overwhelming trying your best to juggle your daily tasks while pumping more frequently.
When I was pumping milk for my twins, there were times when I believed I just couldn’t handle it anymore. But I found the strength to keep going. And I’m thankful for that.
If you’re uneasy or anxious about keeping up with pumping more, I encourage you to use a breastfeeding tracker.
It’s a brilliant way to maneuver through the early days of motherhood when it’s already difficult enough to find time to brush your teeth and remember to schedule and show up for your appointments.
4. Pump After Feedings
Pumping immediately after you breastfeed your baby will help stimulate more milk to let down and increase production. Do this as often as possible after each feeding session.
Make sure your baby has eaten enough breast milk before you pump. Don’t cut the feedings short for baby in order to pump.
5. Reduce Your Stress
You’ve done it. I’ve done it. Every mother has! We tend to justify our stress when times get challenging.
The house is never clean enough.Our finances are out of control and we’re not where we want to be. We keep meaning to get around to eating healthier and exercising but life always gets in the way! So…those are the culprits.
Stress keeps us on the path of anxiety where there is no peace. It impacts us more than we can even imagine. Stress has an undeniable impact on the way your body performs.
No matter how much we pretend, it’s still there. Unhandled. It takes getting to the root of your stress before you can be free. We all have it in some form.
Honesty is the first step to finding out where it’s coming from, then eliminating it from its core.
6. Stay Hydrated
Not feeling so enthused at the thought of drinking the recommended minimum of eight 8 ounce glasses of water each day?
I’ve been there too! Here are my best tips for making it less dreadful.
- Count to 5 and just drink it up before you have time to think about it
- Add in fruit with no added sugar for taste
- Make your own homemade lemonade with natural sweeteners
- Use an app to remind you when it’s time for another drink
If you really want to increase your milk supply, you’ll make it happen!
Sodas and juices are loaded with added sugars. These beverages don’t compare to water in taste, but water wins in benefits every time!
I’ve fallen in love with apps that remind me to do important things because my plate is always full. Free apps like Water Your Body aim to keep you on track with your goals to stay hydrated with water.
Keeping your water bottle full and within arms reach leaves room for less excuses and more drinking! 🙂
7. Drop Your Nursing Schedule
On one hand, creating a nursing schedule makes a little sense. But largely, it might be what’s limiting you.
By choosing not to nurse because it doesn’t fall into your baby’s feeding schedule, you’ll miss out on the chance to produce more milk.
You see, a feeding schedule is a great framework for striving to nurse as often as you need to. Its purpose is to guide you so you don’t come up short on your number of feeding sessions.
But if you want to increase your milk supply, don’t use a basic recommended feeding schedule as a blueprint.
Your body doesn’t necessarily work on a schedule, although it can be helpful. If you’re schedule oriented and want to stick to your schedule, just add in the extra feedings (see tip #3).
8. Nurse Baby On Both Breasts During Each Session
Breastfeed baby on both breasts during each feeding session to empty each breast.
After the feeding, you don’t want one breast to be full (or even partially full), only to be emptied during the next session.
Do your best to empty both breasts fully during that session. This will indicate to your body that the demand is high, and more milk needs to be produced.
The same goes for pumping. Empty each breast fully when you pump from each breast. Do not leave either of your breasts partially full when before you finish feedings.
It’s devastating the amount of pressure that is placed upon mothers. It almost brings me to tears.
We carry our precious babies for 9 months, endure a painful labor and delivery, and face even more postpartum mothering challenges after birth.
Then, we’re indirectly told we need to be supermom or we’re not good moms at all. So, we hit the laundry room to tackle the laundry, then soar into the kitchen to make dinner for our family.
We haven’t believed it’s okay to say ‘no’ to others, so we take on more than we can handle. We suffer in silence and secretly wish someone would save us from squeezing even more commitments to others into the nooks and crannies of our schedule.
We gently take our personal time for ourselves off the calendar until the time seems right. Only to burn out and blame ourselves before attempting to puzzle the mountain of motherly tasks together again into a 24-hour period.
What a cycle! It doesn’t bring peace, or make us happy. Mama please, take time to rest. Singing and reading to your baby matters just as much as changing your baby’s diaper. Your sleep is no less important than keeping your house clean.
Lack of rest affects your mental and physical health which affects your breast milk supply. There’s no way to separate these things because they all make up… YOU.
So be kind to yourself and accept that you can’t meet everyone’s expectations, nor should you have to.
Maybe you haven’t heard this in a while, mama. YOU matter. You have a right to care for and love yourself before meeting anyone else’s needs.
10. Eat Foods That Increase Breast Milk
Did you know that some foods help to increase breastmilk supply more than others?!
Find ways to incorporate these foods into your diet, mama.
Eating the same food the same way all the time is boring. So find ways to get creative when you eat them in different forms. Try making smoothies, juicing, stir fries, or baking new dishes to excite yourself!
For ideas on mouthwatering lactation recipes that are incredibly delish, check out this post!
11. Speak to a Lactation Consultant
If after trying these tips, you don’t see good results, reach out to a lactation specialist.
They are trained to help breastfeeding mothers and are equipped with information about how to succeed throughout your breastfeeding experience.
So don’t be afraid to reach out! They’re there to help.
Don’t Quit-Try These Tips!
What a relief, eh mama? You should see an increase in your milk supply soon, but the time frame depends on which tips you apply. You could even try a combination of them. Don’t give in, become discouraged, and give up.
For more help here are more guides to increasing your milk supply:
- 15 Lactation Recipes to Increase Milk Supply for Breastfeeding
- The Easy Guide to Power Pumping to Increase Your Milk Supply
You’ve got this! You really do.
Tell me, which of these tips are you going to try? I’d love for you to let me know which of these work for you as well. 🙂
Remember to pin for later!