How to Increase Breast Milk?
8 Proven Ways to get the milk flowing!

Wondering how to increase breast milk? It's quite natural to question your milk flow when you have just started breastfeeding your newborn baby. How much you need to increase your milk supply depends upon how low your current milk production is. The good news is: by following the methods below you can definitely improve the flow and quality of your breast milk, and you can start seeing results in a couple of days.

How to Increase Breast Milk?

Try doing all of these 8 points, or at least as much as you can. You will be amazed to feel the difference.

1. Improve your latching position.

If you think your breastfeeding position is the best of the rest, think again.

Try all 4 of the latching positions and see which works for you.

Many newborn babies are unable to get the feed properly because of an improper latching position. This usually happens in case of first-time moms. You need to be in a comfortable posture when feeding, so use a pillow, cushion or whatever that supports you properly.

Remember if your back hurts during or after the feed, your position is incorrect. Check out the latching positions in the picture and try all 4 of them. Note which one feels more natural and comfy. You can also discuss with your doctor or nurse about various latching positions on how to breastfeed, and pick the one that suits you the most.

2. Breastfeed as often as you can.

Ever heard of the concept of Demand/Supply? The more you breastfeed, the more will the milk be generated – it is as simple as that. Breastfeed from both sides in each sitting. When you do not breastfeed your baby, the breastmilk is stored in the breast and since there is already milk in the breast, the milk production stops for a while until the breast is emptied. 

Remember, newborn babies have tiny tummies. You need to feed them every 2 hours, ideally. Read our article on the benefits of breastfeeding to keep you fully motivated.

3. Drain out one breast before switching to the other.

When one breast is completely drained, it starts to produce more milk as compared to the breast that still has some milk left in it. Therefore, to increase the milk flow, breast feed your baby from one side until the breast is empty and then switch to the next one. How to know if your breast is empty? A full breast feels stiff upon touching and an empty breast will not feel hard if you gently massage it. 

Pumping between the feedings is a great idea to increase the breast milk production. Try pumping when:

  • You feel there is some milk left in your breasts even when your baby is done with the feed.
  • Your baby missed a feeding (could be if your baby is away from you)
  • After and before one hour of your baby's feed time.
  • When your baby gets a bottle of milk (breast or formula) at feeding time instead of direct breastfeeding.

To increase breast milk production, you can empty the breasts by expressing the breast milk and storing it safely in the fridge, freezer, or room temperature. You can learn how to pump and store your breast milk here - for up to a year! Remember that contaminated and poorly stored milk can be dangerous for your baby.

4. Hydrate yourself first.

Drink a glass of water, juice or any hydrating fresh liquid right before sitting down to breastfeed your little one. You will notice the difference yourself.

5. Massages wake your boobs up.

We already know that massaging our body increases the blood flow and rejuvenates our body. The same principle applies here. Gently massage your breasts before starting the breastfeed process. This will improve the flow of the milk.

If you are using a breast pump to express your milk, it is advised to massage each breast before starting to pump. Express milk for 10-15 minutes, then take a short break to massage that breast again and then continue for the next 15 minutes. Repeat this process for the other breast.

6. The solution could be in your kitchen.

Home remedies go a long way to increase breast milk. Before you head to your local pharmacy asking them for medication on how to increase breast milk, go to your kitchen instead. Herbs and food supplements found in your pantry and fridge are easy to access, do not cost much, have almost no side-effects and are really effective.

  • Try using a teaspoon of Cumin seeds and Fenugreek a couple of times a day followed by a glass full of water - this is said to help a lot in the production of your milk. Fenugreek is found to show results in as early as one week.
  • Studies suggest that Fennel seeds not only improve your breastmilk, they are also said to help if your baby has colic.
  • Incorporate Garlic, Ginger, and Fennel in your daily diet.
  • Alfalfa is also taken by a large number of women who have low milk supply issues.
  • Brewer's Yeast is an ingredient found in bread and beer, and is a great source of Vitamin B. It is a probiotic and helps in digestion. It not only aids in increasing your breast milk production, but also boosts your energy level and keeps your skin and hair healthy.
  • Green leafy vegetables, and underground fruit/ veggies like beetroot and carrots, etc.
  • The two P's : Pulses and porridge! They are said to increase the milk flow though there are still scientific facts pending for the 2P  theory to prove true. But give it a shot!

Give each remedy a week to work before shunning it out. If you want to learn how to increase breast milk, you need to be patient. Slow and steady wins the race.

7. Eat well - it reflects in your breastmilk.

This sounds simple but works magic. You are what you eat. While breastfeeding, your baby is getting what you eat. Remember, whatever you eat will be reflected in your breast milk – not only by nutrients but also by taste.

Also, if you are feeling that your baby is not enjoying prolong breast milk, it might be due to the taste. Try changing your diet. It may actually work. 

Green leafy vegetables along with nuts are said to increase the supply of breast milk. Beetroots and Carrots are said to work magic in this regard. However, beetroot may change the flavor of your milk which your newborn may not like. Include carrots in salads and soups - whichever medium you prefer.

8. Avoid stress.

"Are you kidding me? Being a new mom and not stressing about it?" - that must be going on in your mind. All I can say is that stress is bad! I cannot stress enough on the fact that stress is bad (you see what I did there!) The more stress you take on not having enough breast milk for your baby, the more are you suppressing the milk production process. Anxiety, stress, and even embarrassment can negatively affect your milk production.

Just relax. Breath in, breath out. Repeat. By now you already know how to increase breast milk. Sit in a soothing and calm environment with your baby, play with him/her for a while and then start to breastfeed. Do not think about a fight you had at work or how to clean that sofa stain or why your partner didn't tidy up the kitchen although he promised to – just relax and let your baby take in the nutrients.

Do the following 10 things to relieve stress:

  • Talk to a friend about what's bothering you.
  • Write a journal or a diary. Sometimes when you cannot talk to a friend about your problems, writing it down helps in draining what's bottled up inside you.
  • Listen to music.
  • Laugh it out. Watch a stand-up comedy gig, or how about an episode of Friends? You can ask Siri to tell you some jokes! Whatever makes you smile or laugh.
  • Eat fresh and healthy food. Include fish in your diet - the Omega 3 fatty acids are believed to be a stress buster. How about a tuna sandwich? Or a fresh salad with lots of colored veggies?
  • Have a cup of green tea. Green tea is rich in antioxidants, amino acids and theanine. As a result, you get a calming effect on your nervous system.
  • Do yoga, tai chi, Pilates or any kind of meditation. Whatever helps you relax and unwind.
  • Get your body moving. Go to the gym or a walk. Dance on a song. When you move your body, your body releases the happy hormones called endorphins, which quickly lifts up your mood.
  • Sleep well. If your baby is taking a nap, instead of doing laundry at that time, go for a nap too. Prioritize yourself. When you do not get enough sleep (something that's not new to mothers) your stress level elevates. Ironically, when your stress level elevates, you get trouble falling asleep or having a sound sleep. Create a balance in this yin and yang by not compromising on your sleep.

Conclusion: How to Increase Breast Milk?

The advantages of breast milk are enormous, to say the least. These 8 ways can improve the quality and flow of your breastmilk many-folds. Learning how to increase breast milk is not hard - try 'em and get the milk flowing!

Return to Breastfeeding section or Homepage.

What helped you in increasing YOUR milk flow?

Do you know something we don't? Share your tip here!

What did you do to fight your milk shortage? Was it constant feeding, drinking plenty of water, breast massage or something else? How about sharing it with fellow (struggling) moms?

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