Tips to Increase Breastmilk Supply

October 11, 2011
Tips to Increase Breastmilk Supply

Concerns of low breastmilk supply are very common among breastfeeding mothers. However, simply listening to your baby’s needs, learning to recognize your baby’s feeding cues, breastfeeding often and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can remedy many of these concerns. Occasionally, some mothers have more serious supply issues that can be treated by working with a Lactation Consultant or healthcare provider.

Typically, when you first begin breastfeeding, your supply develops based on your child’s needs. Thus, it is particularly important that you breastfeed often. Breastfeeding as soon as possible – preferably within an hour after birth – will help you and your baby get off to a good start. The skin-to-skin contact encouraged by breastfeeding is also beneficial. Many moms also choose to pump to increase supply and collect additional breastmilk. It can be beneficial to continue to pump for 2 minutes after the last drop of milk comes out. This will help to stimulate an increase in milk production.

In the beginning, you may feel as though you need to breastfeed continuously in order to empty your breasts. However, as you continue to breastfeed you may feel like you aren’t producing as much milk. Don’t be alarmed. Your body has just become more in tune with your baby’s needs. Just think about it, the two of you have become quite the breastfeeding team! So, listen to your little one and feed whenever he or she seems hungry. Likewise, don’t stop feeding until your baby looses interest. A breastfeeding routine based on your baby’s needs, rather than a strict schedule will help ensure you produce the right amount of milk for your child.

With a new baby, it can be hard to focus on your own health and well-being – but it’s important! So, adjust your perspective and consider your healthy lifestyle a necessary step. Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, get as much sleep as possible and always drink enough water to satisfy your thirst. Some moms even benefit from taking a nursing vacation. This means spending 2 to 3 days breastfeeding, cuddling and relaxing with your baby. The rest will help rejuvenate your body and the time the baby spends at breast will help to activate the hormones that stimulate milk production. On top of that, who doesn’t love cuddling with their little one?

Maintaining your supply can also depend on the breastfeeding habits you develop. It is crucial to make sure your baby is nursing efficiently, because if less milk is removed from the breast, your supply will decrease. Check that your baby is latching properly. Also, avoid the use of bottles and pacifiers until after breastfeeding is well established. Those items can lead to nipple confusion for your baby, making it harder for him or her to nurse. Try “switch nursing,” which means alternating breasts two or three times throughout each feeding. If your baby begins to fall asleep, change breasts to keep your baby alert and interested. Also, gently massage and compress your breasts during feedings. This will encourage your baby to breastfeed longer.

Low milk supply is a very common concern among breastfeeding mothers; so don’t be afraid to ask for support. Feel free to reach out to your healthcare provider or Lactation Consultant for additional tips.

Do you have supply tips of your own? Please share them in the comments below.

46 thoughts on “Tips to Increase Breastmilk Supply

  1. I have been exclusively breast feeding my 5 month old & I have just come down with a bit of a head cold. I’ve noticed my milk supply has decreased by half…I know this because I express all my milk. I’ve been drinking copious amounts of water, however, this doesn’t seems to be helping me with my milk supply. I’ve also tried to supplement with some formula but my daughter refuses it. What else can I do to naturally increase my milk supply?

    • Hi Maria,

      I’m sorry that you’re suffering from a head cold. You can find more tips for managing a pumping decrease from KellyMom here: Feel free to also reach out to our Lactation Consultant via email by clicking here:

      Keep up the great work, you’re doing a wonderful thing!

  2. I had my baby at 25 weeks pregnant, and he is in the NICU right now. I have been pumping ever since i had the c section, because his too little to breastfeed, my question is if everytime I pump, which is almost every two hours i get an oz or half an oz from each breast, is that enough? Also sometimes i have to go with pumping for almost 5 hours-8 hours, will the decrease my milk production? And what can i do to keep having breastmilk so i can still breastfeed my son whdn he gets out in a couple of monthes from the NICU? Thank you!

    • Hi America,

      Congratulations on your new little one – sending warmth and well wishes your way. You can learn more about infant stomach size here: Newborn stomachs are very tiny, and preemie babies have special feeding guidelines, too. We recommend that you work with your healthcare provider to determine how much milk your baby needs.

      Because your breasts produce milk on a supply-and-demand basis, it’s important to pump frequently to build and maintain your supply. It’s recommended that exclusively pumping moms pump at least 8 times in 24 hours, or a minimum of 100 minutes per day. Here is a guide to pumping milk for preemies:

      We suggest that you work closely with a Lactation Consultant, who can help you with pumping, establishing a good routine, and initiating breastfeeding, too. Search here to find an LC near you:

      Hope this helps!

  3. My supply has dropped a couple of time since having my daughter in August of 2014. I was exclusivly breastfeed until 9 mo of age. I had an ameda breast pump that I got thru my insurance (Kaiser) and at 9 mo it’s just stopped turning on. So I begged my fiancé to get me the medela pump in style rather than the ameda because I heard so much good stuff about this pump. I was so excited. With the ameda I was pumping from around 6-8oz every 3 hours. When I got the pump in style I’m only pumping 1-2oz and if I’m lucky I’ll get 3oz every 3-4 hours. I’m so sad that my milk supply has dropped so much just by switching pumps. I’m sad. Im back on my fenugreek for the past month since I got this pump and it still isn’t working. Sometimes the more expensive pump just isn’t the right fit. Should have listened to my fiancé and got the ameda!!!!

    • Hi Jamie,

      So sorry for the delayed response. Have you considered breastshield fit? This can have an impact on your pumping output, learn more here: Our Customer Service team can also help you make sure your pump is performing at its best, please feel free to call 1-800-435-8316

      Thank you!

  4. Hi!! I have a 1 month baby. Since she was born I noticed that my milk supply was low because every time i tried to feed her she ended up so upset that is why i have been using bottles. I started using my pump when she was two weeks old. The maximum oz i can give Her of my milk are 6 to 8 oz i am pumping four or five times during the day for 30 minutes each. Now i am frustated… Please help me with that

  5. Hello,my baby is 2,5months now and I’m having some problems with my milk supply again.few weeks back I was pumping up to 200ml from both breasts late in the evening or early in the morning.sadly for the past few days I noticed my milk supply has reduced by half.i do breastfeed during the day and pump only couple of times to increase milk supply and have some milk extra in case we go somewhere were is no breastfeeding facilities.was wondering if it would help me with the supply if after each breastfeeding I would also pump some milk(using Medela electric pump). Or do I need to express milk in between the breastfeeding? Did it affected the supply if few times my breasts were feeling too full but didn’t have were to breast feed my baby and when got home was leaking,or maybe because when breastfeeding from one breast after around 20mins I give her other breast and at last maybe it affected negatively milk supply because using soother (sometimes only) and offer the bottle with expressed milk from earlier and only if after bottle feed she still looks hungry I offer her my breast.feeling very confused how to do it right :( do I need to pump one breast after feeding the baby from other one to make the breast equally empty ? Please,help.

    • Hi Laura,

      Yes – you absolutely can pump after you nurse your baby to help fully drain your breasts. This is something that some mothers do to help increase supply. Another option would be to pump one breast while feeding baby from the other one. Because your breasts produce milk on a supply-and-demand basis, this can help send the signal to your body to make more milk! If you have further questions, our Lactation Consultant would be happy to help:

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