Not sure if you're making enough milk to feed your baby? Try these tips to maximize your breast milk production naturally.

By Andrew Weil, MD
Kaspars Grinvald/Shutterstock

Breastfeeding provides plenty of benefits for you and your baby. Breast milk meets all of your baby’s nutritional needs, provides antibodies to help defend against infection, and protects against allergies, asthma, and obesity as he gets older. Breastfeeding can also help you shed pregnancy weight more rapidly and protect you against breast or ovarian cancer later in life.

But breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy—and creating enough breast milk can be a problem. The most common causes of low supply are inadequate food and fluid intake, fatigue, high stress levels, and feeding the baby too infrequently or for only short periods of time. 

Before you throw in the towel, try these tips to boost your breast milk supply.

1. Eat a Healthy Anti-Inflammatory Diet

This healthy diet plan is heavy on fruits and vegetables, whole grains like brown rice, foods rice in omega-3s like salmon and flaxseeds, and vegetable proteins. Aim for about 2,500 calories per day.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Your body can't make milk if you're dehydrated. And you need more water than you probably think—in addition to the doctor-recommended eight glasses per day, you should add another four glasses in.

3. Sleep Whenever Possible

Get restorative nightly sleep as often as you can and nap during the day when the baby is sleeping. (That saying about sleeping when the baby sleeps is not an old wives tale!)

4. Find Ways to Stress Less

Regularly practice healthy stress-reduction techniques such as breath work.

5. Delegate What You Can

Ask family and friends for help with household duties so you can focus on feeding your baby and getting some rest.

6. Breastfeed Often

The more often and the longer your baby latches on to suck, the more milk you'll produce. A lactation consultant can teach you the best techniques and positions to help you and your baby get the most out of breastfeeding.

7. Check Out Some Natural Breastfeeding Helpers

A bowl of oatmeal a day is a traditional milk booster that's also good for you. Some natural health practitioners also swear by herbal remedies such as fenugreek and wild asparagus to boost milk production. While there is a rich history of use for these agents, there have been only a few human studies on their safety and effectiveness.

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