How to Increase Breast Milk Supply Naturally (Video)

I love breastfeeding. It’s not only the optimal food for baby but it’s wonderful for mama. I’ve previously written about some surprising breastfeeding benefits, and also shared tips that made breastfeeding easier for me.

But what happens when you can’t produce enough milk for baby? In this post, I’ll share 10 tips that will tell you how to increase milk supply naturally.

When we aren’t producing enough breast milk, our first inclination is to panic, but that’s the last thing we want to do. Stress can deplete milk supply more than anything else. (Here are some surprising ways to reduce your stress levels.) Breathe deep and remember that everything will be OK. Focus on what we can do to help increase our supply, which many women have been able to do successfully without resorting to drugs or formula. (And we don’t feel bad or mama guilt if we try everything we can and have to supplement. I’ll have some healthy options at the end of this post.)

Here are 10 tips that will help you increase milk supply naturally

Increase milk supply tip #1: Nurse, nurse, nurse…

There is nothing that can increase your supply like your baby’s suckling. You see, breast milk creation is all about supply and demand, and it’s a tightly regulated system. Don’t worry if your breasts don’t feel full or think baby isn’t getting much milk, the sucking reflex will help stimulate more milk over the long run. So, anytime you can, bring your baby to the breast and let him nurse, nurse, nurse.

Increase milk supply tip #2: Nurse skin-to-skin

When you do nurse, go skin-to-skin. Take off your shirt and bra and keep baby in just a diaper. Wrap a blanket around the two of you and nurse away. This practice is not only incredibly bonding for mama and baby, it also helps release more of the hormones that produce milk as well as the milk ejector hormones. Continue this practice during nap time, bedtime, and throughout night.

Increase milk supply tip #3: Put no time limit to nursing sessions

If you are struggling with supply, it’s best not to schedule feedings or limit how much time baby is on each breast. Try to give baby both breasts during each feeding for more overall production. Consider even taking a “nursing vacation” where you spend the weekend in bed with baby and nurse as much as possible.

Increase milk supply tip #4: Don’t use pacifiers, bottles or food

These not only satisfy the oral stimulation but can reduce hunger, making the baby less likely to nurse. Talk to your doctor but it’s best to only limit solid food if your baby is less than 6 months and he/she is at a healthy weight.

Increase milk supply tip #5: Get enough sleep and stay relaxed

Easier said than done with a newborn but try as best you can. Studies show that mothers produce more milk and have a better milk letdown when they are calm and relax. Nap when baby naps. If you can get a babysitter, neighbor or family member to help out. Cancel or eliminate too many outside activities and keep things simple. Order takeout or better yet have friends or hubby cook you homemade meals in bulk for easy access to nutritious food. Listen to tranquil music, think of flowing streams and trust that you can and will successfully nurse your baby.

Increase milk supply tip #6: Watch your diet

Be sure to drink a lot of liquids. I know we hear this all the time but it really does makes a difference. Shoot for at least 12 – 8 oz. glasses a day or drink to thirst. For nutrition, many moms have boosted supply by eating galactagogues like oatmeal, barley, millet and quinoa as well as spices like fennel, ginger and turmeric. Brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, almonds, and sesame seeds can boost your supply. Try my delicious cookies that contains many of these pro-milk foods! Of course, Mother’s Milk tea, the herb fenugreek, and moringa powder are very effective in increasing milk supply. Be sure you are eating enough to keep up with the demands of nursing. For exclusive breastfeeding, you are going to need at least 500 calories more a day.

Increase milk supply tip #7: Pump in-between nursings

Pumping can be a great short-term way to keep your breast stimulated and produce more milk. I know from experience that consistent pumping really works! You can do right after a feeding until all of your milk drains from both breasts and then continue for 5 additional minutes. If there is no milk from the beginning, just keep pumping as the stimulation will still help. Aim for 10 minutes for each breast. As an FYI, milk production tends to be highest between the hours of 2-5 a.m. (I plan on asking God about why this is one day 🙂 ) so you may want to set an alarm and pump during this time as well.

Also, here’s how you can get a free breast pump.

Increase milk supply tip #8: Take some helpful supplements

Fenugreek is one of the most popular herbal supplements to boost supply. Brewer’s yeast is another great supplement as are green powders, calcium and bentonite clay due to their calcium and alkalinizing effects. Blessed thistle and alfalfa are natural milk boosters and some say work best in conjunction with fenugreek. As a very last resort, you can talk to your doctor about prescription medication to boost supply.

Increase milk supply tip #9: Make sure latch is right

Obviously, if your baby can’t efficiently drain the breast, you may have problems with supply since the breast isn’t stimulated enough. It can be a simple as correcting a bad latch or addressing any anatomical issues that are preventing a good latch from a baby being lip tied, tongue tied or mama having inverted nipples. The good news is most of these issues can be corrected and baby and mom can be breastfeed successfully. If you’re having any issues in this department, it’s best to see a lactation consultant or seek out your local La Leche League chapter.

Increase milk supply tip #10: Switch breasts or double feed

For a sleepy baby that falls asleep before they reach the second breast, stop her a few minutes into nursing and switch her to the other side. By doing so, you have a good shot at keeping her awake to feed more. Keep switching back and forth when you notice her starting to dose off until breasts are drained. You can double feed which is to nurse, take a break by burping baby, and then place her back on for another feed at both breasts. By taking the burping break, you are releasing gas bubbles in her stomach that allow more room for milk.

Need breastfeeding help?

I hope these 10 tips help you!

Hopefully, these 10 tips will help you increase breast milk supply naturally and you’ll be back in the swing of things in no time.

If you’re still struggling with supply after a few weeks, I’d highly recommend finding a milk donor if you can. Here’s a great resource for more information.

If you need to go with formula, I would recommend the Nourishing Traditions homemade version.

For those that are adopting, you may be able to breastfeed. Check out for more information on relactation and adoptive breastfeeding.

How about YOU? Did you struggle with supply? What helped you increase milk supply?

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Add a Comment
  1. Great Read and insight!

    Thank you 🙂

  2. Good way of telling, and fastidious post to get information regarding my presentation topic, which i am going to
    deliver in college.

  3. I am using an organic tea formula healthy nursing tea by secrets of tea to increase my low milk flow and it’s working great. I am completely breastfeeding my son.

  4. Hey everyone, I’m a new parent and I am desperately to get my two month son to sleep longer during night. At the moment I am fortunate to get three hours sleep a night. Regards

    • Make sure that he is well fed and a good bath. He will surely sleep like a baby

  5. I’m breastfeeding twins and what is helping the most is the Secrets Of Tea lactation tea, the oatmeal cookies and also lots of funny movies to avoid stress

  6. Hello friends, how is all, and what you want to say regarding this piece of writing, in my view
    its actually remarkable in favor of me.

  7. what about when you go back to work. My daughter has gone back to work and doesn’t seem to be pumping enough for me to fed her baby during the day. Now she is having problems with him nursing at all. It has only been a few days and I am careful to do everything I am supposed to when feeding with the bottle. He is tongue-tied but he was so small (3.4) at birth they would not clip it. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. He is her first and is feeling less then adequate that her son does not want to nurse.

  8. Do you have any video of that? I’d care to find out some additional information.

  9. I would like to caution people using these techniques- when my son was 4 weeks old I got a cold and had a dip in supply, and needed ways to keep it up. Nursing skin-to-skin albeit effective was the worst decision I ever made. Ever. This website was the worst advice I have yet to receive as a mother. It created such a strong sleep association that for the past 9 months he will only sleep when nursing, he has yet to sleep through the night or even take regular naps and I have tried every method/technique out there. We are now weaning from nursing to sleep because he will not sleep without nursing which can make things a little difficult and isn’t healthy for him. He needs sleep! I would have traded formula for this any day, I have not been able to really enjoy my baby for the past 9 months because of how this turned out for me. I’m sure others have been able to do this without this happening, and that is wonderful and great and I’m so happy for you but this is a cautionary warning for what could result, and it’s been almost a year of hell. Good luck!

    • Have you read the nutrition label on the back of formula?!?! So many addictives that are NOT as beneficial as breast milk. Your child may not have the best sleeping habits but at least their brain development was most important.

    • I nurse skin to skin often and my baby sleeps like a dream. She has since and was 2 weeks old. She’s 4 months old now. I don’t think you can really blame skin to skin. There are obviously other things at play. My first liked to nurse to sleep too and I didn’t really know much about skin to skin. In order to combat fatigue with him I co slept. It worked great and we were both happy!

    • I just would like to tell you, it is not the technique…because I did not use it and my baby boy still sleeps only when brestfeeding, for the last 8 months. Don’t be affraid, he will someday sleep like every other child…it will not last forever 🙂

      • Thanks! I was worried I’d only get to see judgy replies at this brave mama’s commemt.

        Thanks asjla for caring and sharing.

    • My babies breastfed to sleep almost always and I would say the exact opposite. It made sleep time soo much easier! I would actually say it’s one of the best advantages of breastfeeding!

    • My 7.5 month old son nurses to sleep every night and sleeps all night. From 8pm-6am. Every now and then he will wake up around 3am but, i just change him and nurse him and he falls right back to sleep.

    • Sorry that your son don’t sleep for the first year. That is not the fault of a website, as moms or caregivers to children we have a choice on to how to care best for our children. And if baby falls asleep wake him/her up to finish eating. Then rock or soothing him bck to sleep. It sounds like this is your first child, and it takes some time to learn what works best for each child I have three an all three of them were different. What works for one child may not work for another child

    • Getting in a routine of sleep time, eat time, wake time then sleep time again and repeat was the best thing I ever did. I never nursed my baby to sleep even after being urged by a lactation consultant, not even “topping them off” when it was time for bed to get them to sleep longer. The pattern works!! They eat right after waking then have awake time, time will vary depending on age (sometimes even just 15 minutes if really young), then back to sleep. That way they baby learns to eventually self sooth and without having to be fed to fall asleep. This still works with skin to skin. Very new babies tend to be very sleepy, you just have to keep waking them up and it may take up to an hour sometimes just for one feeding (for the first little while).

    • well when my son was born (5 years ago) i decided breastfeeding. it was natural and the best way for him and for me, as cheapest way to feed my little one. i tried nursing with no limit, skin to skin contact and i got the best result ever for me. 🙂 my baby fell in love too deep with mommy 🙂 and yes he couldnt sleep without nursing. he was eating not only because of he was hungry but he wanted just sleep, and trust me it was very very beautiful.. every baby needs it. it was so beautiful habit, he was falling asleep very soon and deep. he needed nursing to feel protected and loved. also it was very emotional for me. i loved every minute with my baby. only us two. ^_^ now Nick has lil brother 🙂 and im breastfeeding again . use the same way i did and im so so happy,.

    • All kids are different and some just don’t sleep well. My 5 year old still doesn’t sleep through the night and I didn’t do any of this. The only difference between now and when he was a baby is he stopped crying when he wakes up. The advice on here sounds good and I will try some of it with my DD who is refusing the bottle and formula.

    • I’ve come to see this is a pretty common issue, wich I was unaware of.
      Thank you Kirsten!

      I was disappointed at the tone of some of the replies down here. It amazes me how we demand respect for our way of thought but seem unable to respect other people’s.

      Just one knows oneself’s story.

  10. I’m wondering what any of you have to say about low weight gain. With my first child, BFing was a flop. I pumped what I could, but it was only a few ounces per day (did the nourishing traditions formula which is great!).
    2nd child is just two mos. old and nursed like a champ right away, but had trouble with weight gain. Dr. said he should gain 8 oz. or more per week. He reached his birth weight in 2 wks, but then gained none 3rd week, 1.5 oz 4th week, 4oz 5th week. I started supplementing after that… Would you have been concerned too with that small weight gain?
    I was/am nursing constantly, using fenugreek & blessed thistle, brewers yeast, oatmeal, plenty of water & good fats. I try to pump but rarely stop nursing long enough to do so.
    I just wonder if I could have held out longer before supplementing?

  11. I feel like staying up-to-par with enough breastmilk is the most stressful thing ever! Like What is enough? babies drink at the least 21 oz per day and I don’t feel like I pump/breastfeed that much to my child. At first I was doing great until I had to return back to work. At work I would wait between 3-5 hours to pump. Where I was getting at least 6oz (3 from each breast, pumping ever 2-3 hours). In just a week that has dropped to half (barely filling a 50z bottle after pumping both breast)! When I leave for work I’m constantly calling checking in with the sitter making sure she has enough milk for the day. I work 8-12 hours and try to leave at least 12oz (4, 3 oz bottles). Sometimes I have to come home between lunch breaks and bring her the milk I’ve pumped at work. To keep breastmilk steady I read I have to eat right, get sleep, and nurse often. I try to do all these things except sleep! i can never get sleep! she’s so excited when I come home she doesn’t go to sleep until the wee hours of the night and I’m right back out in the morning to work. I just feel discouraged and like there nothing I can do. It doesn’t help I have the worst pump ever but its all I can afford. I found this article helpful but its soooooooo much harder done than said!

    • not sure if you have insurance, but if you do you can get a great pump for free through your insurance. Good luck!

    • Have your OB write a prescription for you and then take it to a medical supply place. (Your OB will be able to direct you properly) I got a new medela pump this way. I had no idea it was part of the new health care law until my friend told me (and my daughter was already 10 wks old). It may not be the answer but it can’t hurt! Good luck on your pumping. Blessings to you and your family!

  12. Ya se my problem is this. The article says to let baby nurse as much as possible and not to set a time but with my 6 week old daughter shell eat all that’s offered and end up throwing it up. Not spit up I mean full on throw up every last ounfe and then choke on it and have a hard time catchimg her breath so after talking with pediatrician we agreed to time her feedimg. Feed her 5 minutes burp her to let her decide if shes really still hungry then 5 more minutes. Only if she’s stoll showing obvious sign then 5 more but 15 minutes tops.
    Its working no more throwing up and a healthy bab. But heres my problem
    I just started going back to work and obviously ill need to pump but I can’t seem to pump enough and feed her. Any ideas?

    • Massaging the feast while pumping helps the express more milk kellymoms after you get comfortable you’ll learn where to squeeze to get more milk

  13. I am devastated that I ever stopped breastfeeding. My first son never could latch and he had really bad GERD. My second had bad reflux but was on meds. He never had any issues latching or feeding. But when the meds stopped working the Dr refused to change them & told me he wouldn’t get better so long as I continued to breastfeed. When my baby started to lose weight is when I stopped and we started formula to help the weight. I wish I never had… he got Salmonella poisoning from contaminated formula at 8 weeks old.
    I still produce a little milk but mostly drops. I have all the stuff to relactate and want to. I will never be able to get him back to the breast after 9 months and now eating table food, but pumping to put in a sippy cup and to donate would be nice. I was my happiest when I was breastfeeding and my husband says he loves how I am when I was pregnant/nursing; that I had the best attitude and if there was a magic pill that could make me like that all the time without being pregnant, it would be worth the money. I have to agree. LoL.

  14. Genevieve
    I appreciate your article and youtube videos on breast feeding tips. In my first time around I had a difficult time with breast feeding . Needless to say my son did get some milk but not what I was hoping for. Now we are on baby #2 { 4 months} and breast feeding has become #1 top priority. Although I wish I could do it all in a perfect world. IE, cloth diapering, breast feeding exclusively, making baby food, taking care of regular mommy stuff like school home work, grocery shopping, and laundry etc.. I know myself and I know that I can’t do it all with 3 animals, a 6 year old, and military lifestyle The less stress the better. Recently I overheard a mother speak of her concerns about Huggies Snug and dry issues with blisters and such, so I really started thinking: What is the best solution? I found ” the honest company” and wondered if you had thoughts about their products their diaper, wipes, and hygiene products. I haven’t changed a diaper in 6 years and huggies was our brand that we were faithfully using along with Johnson & Johnson baby products. I spent a lot of time overseas without TV so up until now I had no idea that there were so many unethical companies selling hazardous products even to our babies. I don’t necessarily need organic products, but I have no idea where to start in terms of what companies outside of the J& J company. Your help with baby hygiene products would be most appreciated.

  15. I delivered at 33 & 4 days. My baby has been in the nicu now for 3 weeks. I feel like I have tried everything to build my milk supply. Fenugreek, sleeping enough lots of liquids, pumping about every 3 hours, mothers milk. I had about two good pumps two weeks ago and it seems to be slowing every since. Every pump I do not get more than an ounce if not less. Pretty much about 3 of my pumps equals just 1 of her feedings and I just can’t keep up. I don’t mind them giving her formula of course because she’s getting the feeding she needs. Can some women just not have a good supply no matter what? I’ve heard once the baby comes home it really helps with the supple? I’m not giving up yet!

    • I’ve always struggled with my supply. It seems like every time I get my supply up my baby goes on a growth spurt and I’m left playing catch up again. That being said, I do know that my baby always can get more out of me than my pump will. So, even if the pump says you’re dry, you may still have more in there. My breasts don’t respond to the pump like they should, maybe yours are the same way. I also used the nipple shield for every feeding this last time (on my 3rd nursed baby here). It didn’t seem to affect supply, but it took her a lot longer to eat. When she was 2 months old I started weaning her off the shield by offering her the bare boob first, then only putting the shield on if she refused. Sometimes she’d take the bare boob after she’d been on the shield for a few minutes first. Now she only wants bare boob, I haven’t used the shield for 2 months. I was really worried that she’d never nurse without it, but once she was old enough it was much easier to switch her. With my other daughter I went to a lactation nurse and she helped me SO much. You should consider that. I WISH I had advice for better supply but I struggle there as well, so I’m not much help. Instant breakfast (like carnation milk) randomly through out the day, brewers yeast, lots of water, and old fashioned oatmeal seemed to help the most. Good luck!!!

    • I hate breast pumps. They are not natural, and they’ve been set up as this perfect alternative for moms with NICU babies and working moms. It’s untrue. According to, a normal pump output is about an ounce. Those that get more usually have an oversupply. So if this is the case, why is it the expected norm? I had A NICU baby and came back to work six weeks after we came home. In the hospital, breastfeeding was seen as “practice”, no more than five minutes allowed. It was only when we were getting close to going home that I found out they could have weighed her before and after to measure how much she was getting. I was so mad. It made my supply low, and just getting her to breastfeed was monumental. Then I came back to work and she went in strike. I proposed working from home but my company would not accept it. It just seems to be this bygone conclusion that a lactating mother can just pump, but if the average output is 1 ounce, I would have to pump five times to feed my daughter. Why is this acceptable? It seems even in these modern times, many of us normal women still have to choose between working and breastfeeding.

      • I feel sad about this struggle as well. Why should women have to choose between breastfeeding & caring for their babies (something completely natural) vs. rushing back to work (just to make it in today’s world)?
        I started pumping & supplementing with formula at my pediatrician’s and hospital’s recommendations. But I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do. At seven weeks, my supply is nearly dry – makes me wish I would have read this sooner.

      • You have a choice if you want to, you just need to choose between money or taking care of your child at home. Why criticise pumping, it is not being pushed against anybody as illegal if you don’t want to use it. Maybe you just need to get a good kind of breast pump. I stopped breastfeeding when my baby was 1 month old. I have decided to relactate when my baby is 10 weeks old. I used Medela swing for 2 weeks and and it seems that it is not getting that much progress maybe because I am not religiously pumping every 3 hours. I then decided to rent a Medela Symphony which is a hospital grade pump on Jan 28 and at the same time supplement with fenugreek in capsules. As of today, my boobs is getting heavy with a tolerable soreness and voila! I am happy to see my nipples starting to get wet and see a single drop of milk coming out. Will continue doing so and aiming to give my son a 100% breastmilk supply. I consider myself lucky, I live in Sweden and my husband and I has the luxury of sharing 480 parental leave with pay (although reduced salary it is still not bad, I am still happy that I have that option).

    • Some women just dont respond well to pumps :/ once shes home youll be able to nurse her which will stimulate your body to produce more. Nurse her as much as possible doing skin to skin and as often and for as long as she wants. Even letting her nap on you (safely of course) while doing skin to skin will help a little. My greatest assets have been my local lactation consultants. I highly reccomend getting in touch with one (mine are located at our lical health dept) or a local la leche league. Even nurses at the hospital can help you as many of them have breastfed as well. Dont give up momma, its worth it!

    • I delivered my son at 34 weeks and 3 days and I’m having the same problem. Please some one who has gone thru what we have share any tips

  16. My baby is 3.5 weeks old and I have a low milk supply. Some days I can pump 3oz after baby feeds, sometimes only a few drops. Realistically, how many times a day should I pump? My baby is colicky, never let’s me put him down, hardly naps, and I have to work from home on top of it. I barely have time to eat with the amount of time he nurses. He nurses for sometimes an hour or two. I have tried all the supplements, oatmeal, etc.
    I also have to use a nipple shield, and I’m wondering if that’s partly affecting my supply? Are my nipples not being stimulated enough? He will not latch without it.

    • I have the same dilemma with my son which is now 3 months old. I am having my first meal of the day at 3pm because of the same situation as yours. I bought him a Babybjörn bouncer and that solves the problem. I am not an endorser of this product but this really helps me a lot and I call it my son’s bestfriend. My milk even dried out because I don’t eat properly, stressed with his crying and has no time for pumping. By the way I am pumping because he dont want to suck my nipple. You can give it a try maybe it will work the same wonders to your son. I am now on a relactation journey and so far so good. I just bounce him while doing my pumping.

  17. I have PCOS and have never made enough milk to come close to feeding one of my own babies. It is heartbreaking. I have tried everything, the most helpful thing you can do if you are REALLY struggling is rent a double breast pump from the hospital and get down to business. Also, I found fenugreek and oats helpful, but none of the other stuff ever helped me to make more. I also tried a medication and had no success with it. The fenugreek and pumping. I never have made milk, it is not in the cards form me, but not making milk does not make you a bad mom. I have struggled more and worked harder than almost any other mom I know to feed them, and they have all been well fed!

  18. the only thing worked for me was fenugreek seeds. which made me milking cow, leaking all the time .
    many ways to take it depends how much bitter taste of fenugreek you can tolerate.
    1. dry roast seeds and grind them when cool. keep this powder in airtight container. sprinkle a bit on anything on eat.
    2. soak teaspoon in water overnight , chew it next morning and drink that water as well.
    3. use fenugreek seed powder made in step one in lactation cookie recipe or any other food while cooking.

    • Fenugreek also has a very strong smell. So I am taking mine in capsules.

  19. I first must say that I support all breastfeeding moms, no matter how long you did. But, The first thing I noticed is that the baby in the photo has a fairly shallow latch which can hamper a good supply as well as prevent baby from transferring milk well.

  20. Baby number one; I dried up after only three weeks. Completely dry. I had no choice but to use formula, but he did great on it and is now an amazing little four year old! Baby number two; only breastfed for three months. He kept getting sick and losing weight. The hospital was horrid to me and said they were going to call CPS on me for starving my baby. I had no choice again but to supplement formula. He gained weight, but was still staying beyond sick. When he was 10 months old, it was finally determined he had a protein allergy and couldn’t handle breast milk, or cows milk, and he is allergic to legumes (so no soy) but thank God for goats milk. I have felt like the worst mom ever and have even been called so by other moms. I have baby number three on the way and am already scared. I am reading everything I can to make sure I make lots of milk and finally know what tests to ask for if baby gets sick. It is all overwhelming and trying to ignore the stress is hard, but I am going to try again. Thank you for your posts. I hope they can help me through this!!

    • Oh Anne, I’m sorry to hear about your troubles with little ones. I too was pressured when I had my little girl, those in Oklahoma are still very “traditional” when it comes to many things, and they treat you like the anti-christ when you tell them you are no longer able to breast feed. I also dried up completely after about 3 weeks, and my baby was throwing up all of it, not to mention the formula we had to supplement in between. Just be sure if anything like that happens again with baby number 3, you stick up for yourself!! Explain that you know something is wrong and you want the doctors to check instead of accusing you of mistreating your child.
      I hope you don’t have to go through it again, and everything works out. But just know that sometimes our bodies just refuse to do what we want them to do, and it is OKAY! Me and my mother have had trouble breast feeding, so I almost wonder if genes play a factor there. If you are TRULY wanting your child to get breast mild and are not able to produce, donated milk is always an option (if you are willing, I’m still on the fence about using another woman’s milk, but hey, it’s an option)!
      And, I am working on baby number two now, for me, I have decided I really want to give breast feeding another shot, but I don’t want to put so much pressure on myself that I’m upset if I don’t get it right or stress myself to the point I can’t produce. Just take it easy and try not to be “super breast feeder” and I’m sure you’ll be okay! Good luck!

  21. I ran into supply issues a few weeks in, and was devastated. I was nursing round the clock and my baby often took over an hour to eat, so the idea of pumping after that – and potentially just 45 minutes before the next meal – was mind-boggling to me. I did all of the things on this list, while also using a supplementary nursing system so that my baby would get what he needed while I worked on my supply. The SNS was not fun, I’m not going to lie – I had to nurse in one specific room with a table in front of me where I could set up the little tube with formula – SO not the cuddly, comfortable kind of nursing I’d been doing in bed and around the house before then. But the SNS also got us through the toughest weeks. We nursed for 21 months total, which was much longer than I’d ever planned to. I will always be proud of making that happen. The real secret to my success was having a lactation consultant on staff at my pediatrician’s office who helped me through it by getting me to relax. I feel like many “lactivists” are often so intent on convincing women that they can succeed at breastfeeding that they don’t realize how much pressure that kind of support can create. One *really* well-intentioned, caring, and compassionate professional, when I told her I was having trouble, said “Just keep nursing. If you’re really committed, you’ll get your supply back up.” She wasn’t wrong, of course – breastfeeding is super psychological – but the unintended implication there was that if my supply didn’t go back up it was because I wasn’t truly committed. And that a lack of commitment had caused the problem in the first place (NOT true – I changed up some medications without realizing they’d have an effect!). That was so demoralizing. My lactation consultant, in contrast, helped me strategize how to deal with the problem, but also very swiftly put things in perspective by saying: “I had to supplement with my second child. Now he is in law school.” Breastfeeding is an amazing, special experience that I’m glad I had. But it is not the only thing that makes you a good parent. Sometimes good parenting is deciding that you need to prioritize other things, like getting the minimum amount of sleep you need not to lose your mind and forget where you put your baby. Ironically, having that mantra in mind was what helped me relax and, well, keep breastfeeding. My kid is almost 2 now and he still has a ridiculously huge appetite, so I feel vindicated. 🙂 Hope this is useful to any mamas who are struggling out there. You are doing great, and your babies are so lucky to have you working so hard for them.

  22. Do you have any recommendations on how much Moringa to consume to increase milk supply? Or where I might be able to find this info? I’ve searched and searched.

  23. I induced lactation.

    Our son was born via a Gestational carrier, biologically ours, but I was unable to carry. With the help of the most wonderful lactation consultant I was able to induce lactation and I have been breastfeeding our son for 18 months. It is not only a miracle that I am able to breastfeed without ever being pregnant, but also that I started the protocol to induce lactation only 1 month before my son was born (the protocol is usually 6 months or more) The protocol that we used was from Dr.Jack Newman. I used Domperidone, Fenugreek, Blessed thistle, ate lots of oatmeal and almonds, and pumped with a hospital grade pump q2 hrs until he was born. We did have to supplement his feedings with some donated breast milk, but now he only receives my milk.

    I LOVE and I am so Blessed that I am able to have this with my son.

    If you are adopting or having a child via a carrier IT IS POSSIBLE TO BREASTFEED YOUR BABY.

    • Amazing good for you!

    • Woahhhh. Such a SUCCESS! Congrats. Indeed such a good experience for you. Motivation and commitment is a big key.

  24. These are wonderful tips. It’s important to recognize that some women just can’t make enough. I have a wonderful lactation consultant who has coached & supported me through my breastfeeding journey. Currently, I only produce about 40% of what my 18 week old needs. It turns out my issues are related to gland tissue, and not a deficit in Prolactin (which is what most of the herbs help with). I could have seen it coming as my breasts didn’t change much during pregnancy, but you never know until it’s time for baby.

    I take Domperidone (an off-label pharmaceutical that my LC and midwives recommended). It only helps to yield about 1-2 more ounces per day, but it’s worth it.

    We supplement with Baby’s Only Organic (voted #1 formula by a panel of pediatricians).

    In the end, I think it’s about being gentle with yourself. I had a wonderful pregnancy and home birth, and I was really mourning the loss of the breastfeeding relationship I thought I would have. At this point, I’ve accepted our situation, and I am finding so much joy in being able to provide my daughter with any breast milk at all. I know I will cry once she decides to wean … breastfeeding is such a beautiful relationship. I feel so blessed to experience it.

    • How did you find out that your supply issue was related to gland tissue and not prolactin?

      I had a baby 2 months ago and have struggled with low milk supply since he was born. I had a difficult birth and recovery but have been taking fenugreek and eating oatmeal and chia seeds every day since he was a couple weeks old. He had a lot of difficulty latching the first month but we’ve been working on it with the help of a wonderful lactation consultant since he was 2 weeks old. I also breastfeed (with the help of a nipple shield) whenever he is willing to, and he has been improving in his ability to breastfeed. Sometimes he breastfeeds for half an hour, but still needs a couple of ounces of formula after that. I pump every few hours, but it takes at least 30 minutes to get an ounce or 2, often less. I feel like I have a very slow flow, and am wondering if it’s even possible to increase my supply. If it’s a gland issue, then it’s possible I can’t produce more than I am, correct? I ordered blessed thistle, and will be taking that in conjunction with fenugreek but I’d love to know if I have a gland issue so that I can make peace with the amount I have and not work so hard to increase my supply if it’s not possible. My lactation consultant doesn’t seem to think that I have a gland issue based on the shape of my breasts I think but it’d be great to see if there’s a way to tell other than appearance. My husband isn’t sure domperidone is a good idea and anyway, if it’s a gland tissue it might not help much. Any advice would be appreciated.

  25. Thank you Genevieve! This post could not have been more timely! Our midwife just asked for people to donate breastmilk to a local mom so I volunteered and just pumped for the first time about an hour ago! Then I checked your blog and found this! What a Godsend of a post!! Knowing that I’m able to help out other Mamas and babies with milk is such a wonderful feeling, and I was just about to research how to up my milk supply as much and as fast as possible! Thank you!!

  26. I have not had success breastfeeding with my first 2. For different reasons. I was told at some point I had inverted nipples. Don’t really understand that. Any advice? I will be heartbroken if we cannot breastfeed this time

    • A nipple shield would definitely help. It’s not ideal, because some babies aren’t accepting of them, but it would really help you avoid pain & discomfort associated with inverted or flat nipples. A lactation consultant could definitely help you find one that would work for your specific needs.

    • I also have inverted nipples and had the same concerns. Without the shield we probably would have given up breast feeding early on. It has worked pretty well for us. My baby is 2 months. I am worried about weaning him off the shield at some point and if it will be possible. He is very dependent on it now and won’t latch without it yet. My LC does not seem concerned. She says that as he gets bigger/stronger suck it will be easier for him. It does seem to take longer to nurse and I have some supply issues (baby also has tongue tie so this could be effecting his suck/my supply). We supplement 1-2 bottles per day of formula right now. Our baby had juandice early on that I think was due to early latching issues/not getting enough food, pre-shield. So we have been catching up on weight gain since his 1st few weeks. All in all, I am very glad we started using the shield because at least I can breast feed for part of his needs and we have been able to have that bonding time.

  27. I had periods where I struggled with milk supply after I went back to work, though luckily I have not had to supplement. I’ve tried fenugreek, oatmeal, brewers yeast, all have helped but recently I increased the amount of raw veggies and fruits in my diet and this has given the biggest boost to my milk supply. I am able to pump and store milk daily aside from breastfeeding my 6 month old.

  28. I only occasionally needed to boost my milk supply when nursing. I didn’t understand what other moms go through.

    My friend had baby number 6 two months ago and is struggling. She has always struggles with nursing her babies. She is so determined and she has done all of these suggestions with minimal results. What is helping is reglan and supplementing. Her baby was losing weight while nursing around the clock. She is still nursing but is also doing what is best for baby, supplement with formula so he can thrive!

  29. I pumped every day, and the more I pumped, the more milk I seemed to have. So my number one advice for moms who want to increase their milk supply is to have a good quality pump and pump after each feeding to get every last drop of milk out.

    • Select also the proper breast shield to optimize the pumping of milk.

  30. Great post! I was so lucky when my daughter was born – I had plenty of rich creamy (almost orange looking) milk for her. I breastfed her until she was almost 3 years old! 🙂 Once I was tired of her trying to publicly undress me while screaming “mik, mik”, I decided to quit. But I LOVED every moment of breastfeeding and I truly miss it now. I had too much milk and I had to pump all the time to get some relief from engorged breasts. I gave away a lot of my milk – I could feed the whole future football team! 🙂

    I did not limit our breastfeeding sessions and I gave her milk at first signs – she had it on demand day and night and for as long as she wanted. We slept together, I breastfed her publicly any time and anywhere – I encourage all moms to do this. I find it beautiful and necessary.

    I do not say it was easy – the beginning was hard and I could not even touch my nipples or wear any light clothes for the first few days or weeks, they were so painfully sore. At some point I got horrible mastitis that my husband had to massage out, because I refused taking antibiotics (it was very very very painful), and on top of all that, my whole house was a dairy farm… lol, but it was all worth it! There is no better baby food as mama’s milk – breastfeed by all means, mamas!

    • I had that orangy milk supply only in the beginning of the pumping session to help my milk out. After that its the normal milk color. What was your diet during those time?

  31. Anyone have any suggestions for super thin breast milk? I have an auto immune disorder and have had to stop nursing all of my babies due to them not gaining weight. I never have a problem with the amount I produce but its practically like water :'(

    • Whitney, are you getting enough fats in your diet? And I do not mean oils – I mean fats fats, like butter, for example? I ate lots of pastured butter and raw pastured egg yolks while breastfeeding and my milk was super rich. I had orange creamy colostrum and thick yellow milk. When my pumped milk set in the fridge overnight, almost half of it was cream and my baby had lovely pink cheeks and “sausage” arms and legs – she was just perfect! This is what my European Ancestors told me to do in order to have plenty of good quality milk and it was my experience. Your diet has an effect on your milk, so if I were you, and if you are not already doing this, I would enjoy all the butter and pastured egg yolks I wanted and then see if it had an effect on my milk. Good luck to you and your babies! Anya

      • Anya,
        Thank you so much for the tips! I am pregnant now and I will try out your butter and yolks trick gearing up towards my hope of breast feeding a baby with sausage arms-ha! Can I ask how you ate the raw yolks?

        • Anna-
          I would HIGHLY recommend you read “Nourishing Traditions Book for Baby and Child Care” by Sally Fallon Morrell.
          Second, I consume a TON of egg yolks. I make omelets and add an extra yolk or two (not the whites). But the way I consume them raw is in smoothies. I use raw milk, organic fruit, raw local honey, and milk kefir when I have it. Then I add about 5 egg yolks to the entire blender (which in my blender makes two or three full glasses of smoothie). If it makes it taste too eggy start with one or two yolks at a time, and work your way up. 🙂

        • Anna, I add raw yolks to my raw kefir or yogurt smoothies, I also put them on top of my meal or I simply like to swallow a yolk (but I am used to it from growing up in Europe and I like it). It is ok to mix it with just about anything – top yolks on salad, steak, etc… Just experiment how you like it best. But make sure to get pastured eggs from hens that were NOT fed any soy.
          I hope this helps! Good luck,

      • How do you have the egg yolks?

      • Wow, I just asked you in your previous comment about your diet in achieving that orangy milk and here it is. Will try this though. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  32. And the o so critical-plenty of water!! Hate to state the obvious, but it definitely gets forgotten & makes huge a difference 🙂

    • Oops! A huge difference, lol

  33. Thanks for the great tips. Do you have any reccomendations for green powders? Also, my baby is almost two and we are still nursing. My milk supply seems to be lower than a year ago but consistent. We still nurse 4 times per day. I heard removal is the key at this point. Any other tips? Thanks so much.

    • Best green powder I know (and I’ve tried alot) is The American Botanical Pharmacy’s Superfood. Awesome stuff!!!

  34. I’m really glad I found this website. It’s encouraging with all the comments. I am recovering right now from a plugged duct and it really decreased my supply. I am pumping after every feeding, taking fenugreek and brewer’s yeast, lots of water, and oatmeal. It’s been a week since I was sick and I was disappointed that I’m not back to normal with supply yet, but I know I need to be patient. I am at 3 months now with bf and really want to get to at least 6.

  35. Fenugreek taken in conjunction with blessed thistle will help you reap maximum benefit from both herbs. 3 capsules, 3x day and drink plenty water! 3L a day or more

  36. Sadly, with insufficient glandular tissue, nothing has helped ENOUGH. Supplements and medication did help some, but there is an upper limit to what I can produce. We have had to supplement with formula but I am thrilled that we have just found a milk donor.

    • Kate I am in the exact same boat as you. Not enough glandular tissue and nothing has helped enough. We had to supplement with formula but just found someone who makes way too much milk and is giving us her extras! I’m still working on my milk supply though.

      • Me too Kate. Me too. I’m about as crunchy as you can get and I sometimes felt like a huge fraud with my babies in cloth diapers, organic slings and wraps all day and then feeding them a bottle of formula. With my first, it was 2 weeks of sheer heartbreak coming to the decision to stop pumping like a maniac for a mere Tablespoon of milk a day. With baby #2 I cried at 24 hours out when I realized he’d need a bottle too. But this time, I continued to nurse him too for comfort if nothing else. I was a lot less stressed and one time I pumped a Tbs. of milk in one sitting! For me that was huge. I’m not accustomed to seeing any amount of my own breast milk that could actually even slosh in a cup! LOL

        I pumped those tiny amounts for about 4 weeks and I let him suckle for as long as he seemed interested. And I cherished it. Wish I could have let go and enjoyed the ride more with my first. Also, my cousin shared her small freezer stash with me for my second. I cherished that too! I saved it for anytime I thought he might have been exposed to a cold etc. He loved it when he got it and his tummy was definitely happier on breast milk. If I could have made it for him he’d probably still be slurping it down happily to this day.

        All this to say…I know how you feel. It still pangs a little when I think about it. But my sweet babies have turned out so beautiful and wonderful. So I am very thankful for formula too. Even if I’m working overtime to fill in gut flora because of it.

        • Yall really should try the homemade formula recipe that Genevieve recommends from the book “Nourishing Traditions for Baby and Child” I’m pretty sure she links to it above. It’s the next best thing to breastmilk and much better than conventional formulas. 🙂

  37. I found almonds to be a galactagogue for me (soaked in salt water overnight and then dehydrated or in 150 oven until dried out.) I had to be very careful because I would become engorged if I ingested too many almonds (great problem to have!) Also, oatmeal and, lastly, sleeping with baby at night.

    • Oh my gosh! Almonds!! THAT’S why I was engorged!! I had a ton of almonds at my mom’s house the other day and the next few days I was crazy engorged!! Thanks for solving the mystery for me!! =D

  38. I used so many of these mentioned in the article. I have smaller breasts and did struggle with a low milk supply on baby #1. One thing I can say about pumping, I never had much luck pumping on my own. Although, if I pump from one side while baby is feeding on the other, the let down from baby allowed my other breast to let down during the pumping. This is probably not recommended to start on right after birth. Something I experimented with a couple months in to see if I could help increase my supply. It worked! Baby #2 was a breeze to BF, and baby #3 we will meet in February!!

  39. Make a tea out of tahini or add sesame seeds to everything. My tahini tea was made out of a spoonful of tahini, 1 sugar, 1/2-1 cocoa and boiling water. Had one after every feed to get ready for the next.

    I also supplemented with fenugreek tablets.

    After a few days I was pumping to remove the excess until I found the combination/balance that worked for me.

    Make sure you drink loads of water too!!!

  40. Every 2 hours unless not feeling well or growth spurt.

  41. Another thing..about every 3 months they have a growth spurt where they want to eat all day long. It is very important that you take the
    Time to do that.! It increases the milk for the age. I nursed mine until hey were 2-2 1/2 years old.

  42. I nursed all 8 of my children. The one major thing I did was drink lots and lots of water. Also embrace night feedings the longer you night feed the better.

  43. Hi! Great article! Thank you for the refreshingly real take on making milk for our precious babies 🙂 There is one thing I wish to mention and that is there are many risks in taking reglan. Please encourage everyone to research as it is soo important. Domperidone is a much safer alternative 🙂 Thanks again!

  44. The best advice I received (on top of all of your very relevant suggestions that I also followed) was to drink tons and tons of water. More than you ever could imagine you would need. I drink at least 4 liters of water a day and am nursing a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old both since birth. I have had many issues, but think they just come with the territory. Mastitis, thrush, latch issues, all are just part of the learning curve. It wasn’t easy to power through the tough times, but the payoff was well worth the effort.

  45. Any tips on how to make homemade formula? I found a recipe on and just want an additional opinion… Thanks!

    • I have to supplement with Earth’s Best Organic formula but I am still not giving up. I am trying to boost my supply. We are going into our 7 months of breastfeeding even with low milk production. Thank goodness Earth’s Best makesorganic formula, their products are great, even their diapers are much better with none of those chemical stuff like chlorine that other diapers have.

      • Just a note for anyone looking into Earth’s Best Organic formula, check the ingredients! “organic glucose syrup solids” is listed and that is just clever masking of corn syrup. Organic corn syrup is still corn syrup. You would be better off making homemade formula, the recipe is linked in the article.

  46. Hi, moms.
    Well i have problems with breastfeeding from the begining . Trying to do all i can to keep my milk going, but its looking impossible.Pumping is not an option for me i cant get anything out so i gave up . Almost 5 months she is eating mommy milk and formula and now i started some solids aswell but i rly rly want to breastfeed for 1 year or more and i rly want to cut the damn formula. Sadly nothin from the herbs oils etc u say is familiar to the doctors here in Norway and the only thing they recommend me is to breastfeed as much as i can. Aswell my little girl suddenly stoped drinking from one of my breasts and it looks like i cant make her start again . 🙁

    • So sorry to hear… but what a gift that she had several months of breast milk! Try to find a milk donor in your area or make your own formula. Most store-bought ones are full of junk. XO

    • Earth’s Best Organic is best if you need to supplement with formula. I was skeptic with formula in the beginning but they really don’t have bad ingredients in there. Their diapers are also chlorine-free and does not given baby rashes.

      • Just a note for anyone looking into Earth’s Best Organic formula, check the ingredients! “organic glucose syrup solids” is listed and that is just clever masking of corn syrup. Organic corn syrup is still corn syrup. You would be better off making homemade formula, the recipe is linked in the article.

  47. I also want to say that if you struggle with low milk supply, you can breastfeed even if you need to supplement. My son had a posterior tounge tie and needed to clippings to be able to get much milk from me. He never was able to get more than 4 oz even with herbs, LOTS of pumping, domperidone and more. We supplemented with formula using a supplemental nursing system (SNS) until he started solids around 5.5 months and then we were able to stop supplementing. Now at 27 months, we are still nursing 2-3 times a day. Even though I supplemented, he received a lot more breastmilk from me than if I’d given up at any point between 4 days and now.

    Also, a word of warning about domperidone. I took it for 11 months or so at the recommendation of my awesome lactation consultant. However, my probably already weak adrenal glands and thyroid became EXTREMELY fatigued. On further interenet searches, I found that was a common problem for long term domperidone use. I’m hoping that with baby number two, we will be able to use domperidone as a last result.

    Also, do skin on skin as much as possible. My lactation consultant showed a chart of how much that influences milk supply and it shocked me (well above 50%). My first son was born in February and I didn’t do skin on skin because I was worried about keeping him warm and me too. Next time I’m going to do it A LOT!!

    • Thank you! I am supplementing with formula due to low milk supply with my 10 week old. I have a lot of shame, guilt and regret about how things have gone and never wanted to use formula. I breast feed every time and then supplement. I have tried everything, keep trying and I am working to accept my daughter is healthy, happy and I am doing the best I can. It helps to hear similar experiences.

      • Which Formula brand are you using? Look into Earth’s Best Organic because I have to supplement with that’a and I feel much safer with that brand. We use their diapers, they are great diapers

        • Just a note for anyone looking into Earth’s Best Organic formula, check the ingredients! “organic glucose syrup solids” is listed and that is just clever masking of corn syrup. Organic corn syrup is still corn syrup. You would be better off making homemade formula, the recipe is linked in the article.

        • I agree with Ashley … Our pediatrician recommends Baby’s Only organic … It’s free of crap. No corn syrup (they use brown rice syrup, which has gone through a process to remove heavy metals like arsenic). It’s free of GMO’s, gluten free, and organic. They also don’t add any additional lactose, which is easier on babies tummys.

  48. There are also several essential oils that can increase milk production…Fennel (Sweet) is one of them! I noticed a huge difference with it.

    • How do you use this?

  49. Thanks for sharing these. I have so many friends that have gone back to work and had lots of a lots of trouble with their milk supply. I’m sharing this with lots of them. Do you know of any good tips for getting the most out when you are pumping at work?

    • I have videos on my phone of my little one nursing. Her sucking sounds always give me a boost! Also doing breast compressions while pumping helps too.

    • Hi ladies! I’m not sure just how long ago these comments were posted, so I’ll be brief. 😉 I get the most out of pumping when I use a hot compress immediately preceding. It doesn’t have to be for very long, but I noticed a HUGE difference when I did that, paired with the breast compressions Amy referenced above.

      These compresses work fantastically! There were absolutely no compresses on the market at the time that made their way around the whole breast, so I came up with my own design. Hope this info, and possibly the compresses, will be of help! Good luck!

  50. I had almost every problem you can have with breastfeeding from low milk supply to mastitis. In addition to herbs, fluids, rest and de-stressing, I found acupuncture to be really helpful at increasing my milk supply. We were able to get through my son’s growth spurts and allow my milk supply to catch up. After everything I went through I was able to nurse him for 2 years! Don’t give up moms!

  51. Genevieve, what age did Griffin require the most ounces? I am exclusively breastfeeing my four month old and I always worry that my supply won’t keep up with her increasing appetite. The most I can pump is 4 ounces.

    • Don’t fret! As Genevieve mentioned above, it’s all about supply and demand. Your baby will do the work to increase your supply naturally, as long as you are not supplementing with formula. Something that several midwives have told me, as well as other info I’ve found in reading material on breastfeeding.. Pumping does not do the job a baby does. Your pumped supply may not reflect what your baby is actually getting during breast feedings. 4 ounces does sound like a lot, and just think, she may actually be getting more. Every breast is different, as is every baby. Have confidence that your baby is getting what she needs! As long as she is looking healthy and Dr. says she’s good… Don’t worry, be happy!

      • When you are dealing with constant low supply issue, the baby does NOT regulate supply and demand, if that were the case, I would have never had a supply problem in the first place. My son is 4.5mos old and has been allowed to nurse on deamnd since the day he was born. I allow him to comfort nurse, and I would allow him to dry nurse, but he won’t take it. If there isn’t enough milk, he spits my nipple out and yells at me. His nursing has NEVER set my supply, ever. Pumping between feedings has never increased my supply. I don’t/can’t have a let down with a pumo, just doesn’t happen. I stopped leaking and engorging before 2 months, and now I barely ever have any milk on board, and baby can only nurse for 30seconds or a minute before the milkflow is done and he is frusterated. I have tried mothers milk tea, oats, fenugreek, skin to skin nursing and sleeping, baby sleeps exclusively with me, tried a beer a day, feeding every hour, pumping between feedings, drinking a gallon of water per day and eating regular meals with snacks in between…NONE of the things that are supposed to help have done me much good, if any at all. It is aswful dismissive to claim that if you just nurse more, your supply will increase. If were true, none of us would have supply problems.

  52. Great info Genevieve. Being a new mom can be so overwhelming and exhausting. I see so many who immediately turn to commercial formula because it’s so easy and available. Having this information ahead of time can give moms the strength and confidence to make a healthier decision for them and their little one. I also keep the ingredients for Raw milk formula available in case something ever happened to me. My husband would have the recipe and ingredients ready and would hopefully not have to turn to commercial brands.

    • That’s smart to keep those ingredients handy!

  53. My first baby spent 3 days in the NICU. After being fed formula from a fast flow nipple she wasnt breastfeeding at all. So, I pumped for 10 months. Fenugreek helped as well. Needless to say, with my second baby I nursed immediately, never gave her a pacifier, and nursed on demand. Every nurse that can into my room the next few days I asked for nursing tips. She nursed for 15 months:)

    • Very cool, Stephanie! I think moms that pump because baby won’t take breast are super heroes! I hate pumping but I’d be willing to do if my baby would only take milk that way. Glad 2nd time around worked so well!

  54. I also recently came across some recipes for Lactation Cookies (using known galactagogues oatmeal, flax seeds, and nutritional yeast.) If you google them you can also come up with some gluten free versions.

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