How to Increase Milk Supply When Breastfeeding

In today’s post I’m sharing tips on how I increased my breast milk supply in 24-48 hours. Let me start by saying it’s been a long time since I was a breastfeeding mom. Whew! With a six year age gap between my two girls, it’s easy to forget what the newborn day-to-day entails and, in a way, everything with Collins almost feels like I’m doing it for the first time. Of course, I know the basics and so many memories come flooding back with that good “mom instinct” kicking in just enough to remind me that I’ve been through all this once before. But still…

Breastfeeding is one of those jobs that requires so much (physically and emotionally!) that no matter how many memories I have to help steer me along, it’s easy to feel stressed in maintaining the schedule and supply. There’s enough on a mom’s plate as it is, that fretting about supply shouldn’t be one of them. Right now, I’m choosing to breastfeed, but I’m a firm believer that fed is best and whether that means breast milk or formula, there’s no stigma or judgment that comes with a mother’s choice. With Emery, I went back to an office job at 8 weeks and after a month or so into working I supplemented formula because I couldn’t keep up with pumping so much during the work day. I was able to keep breastfeeding her at night while doing formula through about 6 months, but I wish I would’ve had some of these helpful tips back then to try to stretch my supply a bit longer. 

So, without further ado, here are my tried and true tips to increase milk supply when breastfeeding. 

1. Make Easy Nursing Adjustments.

I’ve noticed that making a few easy adjustments while I’m nursing helps me get the most out of the milk I have available and trigger production of more. Make sure to offer more than one side during a feeding and even switch sides multiple times to help cue more production. Allow your baby to stay latched and suckle even after the feeding is over. Try to share as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.

2. Pump Between Feedings.

Collins often falls asleep without “finishing” the milk. I know there is remaining milk she hasn’t drunk so in order to keep production efficient, I pump after feeding her to make room for more. This way, I can capture all of that in a bottle so it’s ready when she is, while also allowing my body to produce more. Similarly, since she is sleeping better through the night, I find I have an excess overnight and can pump nearly a full serving for the freezer without interfering with our normal feeding.

3. Try Dietary Supplements.

There are a ton of foods, herbal supplements and quick additions that can make a huge difference in supply in a short amount of time. A friend of mine told me about Mother’s Milk tea, a “lactogenic” tea that helps boost supply. It’s so easy to brew a single cup and while I’m not in love with the licorice taste, it definitely gives a small boost over the next day 24-48 hours. I also love to mix in add-ins to my morning smoothie that can increase milk supply. Some of these include a tablespoon of Brewer’s Yeast (high in B vitamins), ground flax seeds, old-fashioned oats, peanut butter, spinach and more. Below is a list of breastfeeding friendly foods. 

4. Relax! Avoid stress, alcohol, nicotine and decongestants.

If you’re feeling stressed, you might be decreasing your milk supply without even realizing it. Worry and stress can have physical effects on your body which include making it harder to produce milk. Try to be calm, relax and take your stressors in stride. (I know, much easier said than done.) In addition, don’t add things to your diet or your body that prohibit production. While a glass of wine here or there isn’t harmful, going overboard with cocktails, cigarettes and even nasal decongestants intended to dry mucus can result in low supply. Skip these and focus on helping your body increase milk supply.

Did these work for you? Do you have any additional tips of your own? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below and let me know.