8 Natural Ways to Produce More Breast Milk

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

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, obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It also protects your baby from childhood cancer while reducing your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It can also reduce stress and boost your mood.

But breastfeeding doesn't always come easy, particularly at first—and producing enough breast milk can be a problem. It's very common to worry that you aren't making enough breast milk (even if you are). It's difficult to tell how much breast milk you're producing and how much your baby is getting at each feeding.

But if your baby is growing, sleeping, eating, and needing diaper changes on schedule, then you're likely producing enough milk. However, sometimes, your breast milk supply really could use a boost. If so, there are plenty of things you can do to increase your supply. Learn more about natural ways to increase your breast milk supply.

How to Increase Breast Milk Supply at Home

Unsure whether you are producing enough breast milk for your baby? The best way to know for sure is to check that your baby is swallowing during feedings, seems full, tired, or content after feedings, and is producing regular wet and dirty diapers. Additionally, your baby's pediatrician will check their growth at each check-up. If there is any concern about low breast milk supply, don't hesitate to ask for support and discuss your options.

Boosting your supply at home typically starts with addressing the most common causes of low supply, which include inadequate food and fluid intake, fatigue, high stress levels, and nursing infrequently or for only short periods of time. Here are eight tips to boost your breast milk supply:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink enough fluids
  • Get adequate rest
  • Reduce your stress
  • Delegate what you can
  • Breastfeed often
  • Try natural breastfeeding herbs and foods
  • Consult with a lactation consultant

Read on to learn more about these strategies for naturally increasing your breast milk supply.

1. Eat a Nutritious Diet

Eating a healthy diet plan like an anti-inflammatory diet ensures you are getting proper nutrition. Choose meals heavy on fruits and vegetables, whole grains like brown rice, foods rich in omega-3s like salmon and flaxseeds, and vegetable proteins. Aim for about 2,500 calories per day but look to your health care provider for advice since your specific caloric needs will vary based on your height, weight, metabolism, and physical activity.

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 for adults, people who are breastfeeding should add in at least another four to eight glasses per day. Drinking a glass of water with every meal and nursing session can help you meet this hydration goal.

3. Sleep Whenever Possible

Get restorative sleep nightly 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!) Getting enough rest helps your body to recover from pregnancy and childbirth—and helps your body produce breast milk.

4. Find Ways to Stress Less

Regularly practice healthy stress-reduction techniques and activities, such as breath work, yoga, light exercise, talking with friends, and self-care and relaxation. Learning to breastfeed can be challenging, and it's understandable to feel stressed about your breast milk supply.

Be patient with yourself and give yourself grace as you work on building up your breast milk production. Feel free to let go of keeping up with all the household chores—making breast milk and breastfeeding your baby is hard work. Caring for your baby and yourself, including making time for calming activities, is more important than whether all the dishes or laundry are done,

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. If it's possible for your family, consider hiring a babysitter or postpartum doula to help you care for the baby (or older children if you have them). Additionally, a cleaning service or ordering takeout for dinner can be great waya to save your energy for breastfeeding your baby.

Benefits of Breastfeeding Baby
Kaspars Grinvald/Shutterstock

6. Breastfeed Often

Breastfeeding works on a supply-and-demand system. This means that the more often and the longer your baby latches on to suck, the more milk you'll produce. A lactation consultant can teach you techniques and positions to help you and your baby get the most out of each feeding. Pumping can also help to increase your breast milk supply.

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. Be sure to check with your baby's pediatrician before using any supplements.

8. Work With a Lactation Consultant

A lactation consultant can teach you techniques and positions to help you and your baby get the most out of each feeding. Often, simple, slight shifts in your baby's latch and how you hold your baby can make a world of difference. Your baby's pediatrician and other nursing parents can also offer helpful guidance.

That said, it's important to note that the decision to breastfeed (or not breastfeed) is a personal one. There is no right or wrong answer or approach. If you want to increase your breast milk supply, utilizing these tips and getting adequate support can be helpful. If, however, you are struggling mentally or physically or simply want to stop or cut back on breastfeeding, that's OK, too. You are not bad, a failure, or wrong. Fed is happy. Fed is best.

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