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.

58 thoughts on “Tips to Increase Breastmilk Supply

  1. I have a 5wk old baby and had to start supplementing her with formula in the hospital due to her having low blood sugar between feedings. Once I started using formula I definitely have became more dependent on it because it’s easier and not pumped nearly as much as I should. This has decreased my breast milk tremendously! I’m only getting a couple tablespoons full to maybe 1/2 oz at each pumping session and only been pumping 1-2 times a day. What do you suggest? I want her to get as much breastmilk as possible. Also, do you have to wash your pumping supplies each time after use ?

    • Hi Jessica,

      Congratulations on your new little one! The best thing you can do to increase your breastmilk supply is to pump or breastfeed often. Because your breasts produce milk on a supply-and-demand basis, this will give your body the signal to make more milk. A lactation consultant can also help you out, and you can search for a professional near you here:

      We recommend that you wash your pump parts with soap and water after each use (or with our Quick Clean Breastmilk Removal Wipes). You can learn more about cleaning and breast pump care here:

      Keep up the great work and remember that every drop counts!

  2. I recently became ill over the weekend. I didn’t pump as much as I should have, then when I did my Breast became so sore, huge cracks, very painful to pump and nurse. I stared trying to nursery my 2 month old first from the side that was most painful and giving me significantlyrics less milk. Placing warm compresses. Still not getting much milk at all while pumping. I’m stressed, crying and feel like throwing in the towel. Any advise?

    • Hi Samantha,

      We’re sorry to hear about the struggles you’re experiencing. Our Lactation Consultant would be happy to help provide a solution, you can contact her online here: Stay strong, mama!

  3. Hi, I’m using the medela swing and I noticed that I’m no longer getting much breastmilk than I used to with just hand express or manual pump. I have used it only for a week. What could have I done wrong? Any suggestions as to what may have caused this?

    • Hi Mechel,

      We’re sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with your Swing breast pump. Please reach out to our Customer Service team, they would be happy to help you troubleshoot and find a solution: 877-633-3522

      Thank you!

  4. I used healthy nursing tea to increase my low milk flow. It helped and now the baby is getting full supply.

      • Hi Amie,

        I found Mothers Milk tea by traditional medicines helps (and tastes good!). I went ‘full throttle’ to increase my supply, and made lactation cookies, bought non-alcoholic beer, took calcium and magnesium supplements, ate oatmeal, and added a pumping session or two in the evening when baby’s in bed. May have been a bit overkill but it worked for me!

  5. My son is 2 weeks old. I been bottling feeding and breastfeeding but when I try and pump nothing seems to come out or very little. So I give up. I jus don’t know what to do

    • Hi Jennifer – Sorry to hear you’re having a hard time breastfeeding. Our Lactation Consultant has a number of resources that she can share with you to try and help make this process easier: Stay strong, mama!

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