How to increase baby feeding milk
Low Milk Supply | WIC Breastfeeding Support
Many moms worry about low milk supply, but most of the time your body makes exactly what your baby needs, even if you don't realize it. There are also ways to tell if your baby is getting enough milk. If you aren't making enough, there are ways you can build your supply. And your WIC breastfeeding staff is always there to help!
Am I Making Enough Milk?
First, look for these signs that your baby is getting enough milk. For example, pay attention to the number of wet and dirty diapers and your baby's weight gain.
Things you should NOT worry about:
- How your breasts feel. Your breasts will feel softer and less full as your milk supply adjusts to your baby's needs. This does not mean you have low supply.
- If your baby nurses for shorter periods of time, such as only 5 minutes on each breast.
- If your baby's feeds are bunched together. This is called cluster feeding and happens when your baby starts nursing more often and for longer. This can happen in the evenings or because of growth spurts.
- Not getting much milk when you express. Your baby is much more effective than a pump or hand expression at getting out milk. Find tips to help you pump.
If you are still concerned, talk to your baby's doctor about their growth.
Causes of Low Milk Supply
While most moms make plenty of milk, some do have low milk supply. This might happen if you:
- Limit your baby's breastfeeding sessions. Remember, the more you feed on demand, the more milk you make.
- Give your baby infant formula instead of breastfeeding.
- Introduce solid foods before baby is 4-6 months old.
- Take certain birth control pills or other medicine.
- Don't get enough sleep.
- Drink alcohol or smoke.
- Have had breast surgery.
Talk to your doctor if you have hepatitis B or C, herpes, or diabetes. These conditions may also affect milk supply.
Increasing Your Milk Supply
Breastfeeding frequently—especially in the first hours, days, and weeks—is the main way to increase your milk supply. Your body will make milk to meet your baby's demand.
Try these tips to help you make more milk:
- Breastfeed every time your baby is hungry. In the early weeks, your baby will eat 8-12 times every 24 hours. It's best not to put your baby on a strict feeding schedule. Follow your baby's cues, and let your baby tell you when it's time to eat.
- Make sure your baby is latching well.
- Offer both breasts at each feeding. Let your baby finish the first side, then offer the other side.
- Empty your breasts at each feeding. Hand express or pump after a feeding to draw out all the milk and signal your body to make more.
- Avoid bottles and pacifiers in the early weeks. Feed your baby from your breast whenever you can.
- Get plenty of sleep, and eat a healthy diet.
- Pump or express your milk. Pumping or expressing milk frequently between nursing sessions, and consistently when you're away from your baby, can help build your milk supply.
- Relax and massage. Relax, hold your baby skin-to-skin, and massage your breasts before feeding to encourage your milk to let down.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat well, drink enough fluids, and let others help you.
Consider Charting Your Progress
Record how often your baby is breastfeeding, for how long, and on which sides. If you are supplementing with infant formula, record how much your baby is getting and decrease the infant formula as your milk supply increases. WIC breastfeeding staff can help you determine how much infant formula your baby needs.
Still Have Questions?
Contact your WIC breastfeeding expert. They can talk to you about supply concerns and give you tips to increase your supply to meet your baby's needs.
How to Increase Breast Milk: Home Remedies, Diet, Supplements
Medically reviewed by Valinda Riggins Nwadike, MD, MPH — By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst on May 7, 2018
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Can you increase breast milk production?
If you’re worried that you’re not producing enough breast milk for your baby, you’re not alone.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that approximately 75 percent of new mothers start off breastfeeding their babies, but many stop either partially or completely within the first few months. One of the most common reasons for this is worry about insufficient milk production.
For many women, your milk supply is just fine. However, if you do need to increase your breast milk production, there are ways to do it.
Read on to learn how to increase your breast milk production using several evidence-based methods and some practices mothers have sworn by for centuries.
How to increase breast milk production
The following are things that you can do to increase breast milk production. How long it’ll take to boost your milk supply depends on how low your supply is to begin with and what’s contributing to your low breast milk production. Most of these methods, if they’re going to work for you, should begin working within a few days.
1. Breastfeed more often
Breastfeed often and let your baby decide when to stop feeding.
When your baby suckles your breast, hormones that trigger your breasts to produce milk are released. That’s the “let-down” reflex. The let-down reflex is when muscles in your breasts contract and move the milk through the ducts, which happens shortly after your baby begins breastfeeding. The more you breastfeed, the more milk your breasts make.
Breastfeeding your new baby 8 to 12 times a day can help establish and maintain milk production. But this doesn’t mean that more or fewer feedings indicates a problem.
2. Pump between feedings
Pumping between feedings can also help you increase milk production. Warming your breasts before pumping can help make you more comfortable and pump easier, too.
Try pumping whenever:
- You have milk left over after a feeding.
- Your baby has missed a feeding.
- Your baby gets a bottle of breast milk or formula
3. Breastfeed from both sides
Have your baby feed from both breasts at each feeding. Let your baby feed from the first breast until they slow down or stop feeding before offering the second breast. The stimulation of having both breasts breastfed from can help increase milk production. Pumping milk from both breasts simultaneously has also been found to increase milk production and result in a higher fat content in the milk.
4. Lactation cookies
You can find lactation cookies in stores and online on Amazon or you can make your own. While there’s no research available on lactation cookies specifically, some of the ingredients have been linked to an increase in breast milk. These foods and herbs contain galactagogues, which may promote lactation. More research is needed, though.
Some of these include:
- whole oats
- wheat germ
- brewer’s yeast
- flaxseed meal
Easy lactation cookie recipe
- 2 cups white flour
- 2 cups oats
- 1 tbsp. wheat germ
- 1/4 cup brewers’ yeast
- 2 tbsp. flaxseed meal
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Mix the flaxseed meal with water in small bowl and let soak for at least 5 minutes.
- Cream the butter and white and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat on low for 30 seconds or until ingredients are combined. Stir in flaxseed meal and water.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and stir just until combined. Fold in the oats.
- Roll dough into 2-inch balls and place 2 inches apart onto a baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges start to golden. Let the cookies stand on the baking sheet for 1 minute. Cool on a wire rack.
You also can add dried fruit, chocolate chips, or nuts for some variety.
5. Other foods, herbs, and supplements
There are other foods and herbs that may increase breast milk production, according to the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation. Some, such as fenugreek, have been found to take effect in as little as seven days. These foods and herbs include:
- brewer’s yeast
- blessed thistle
Always talk to your doctor before taking a new supplement, especially when breastfeeding. Even natural remedies can cause side effects.
Potential causes for low milk supply
There are several factors that can interfere with the let-down reflex and cause low milk supply, including:
Anxiety, stress, and even embarrassment can interfere with the let-down reflex and cause you to produce less milk. Creating a private and relaxing environment for breastfeeding and making the experience enjoyable and free of stress can help increase breast milk production. Try one of these 10 ways to relieve stress.
Some medical conditions may interfere with milk production. These conditions include:
- pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
- polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Medications that contain pseudoephedrine, such as sinus and allergy medications, and certain types of hormonal birth control may lower breast milk production.
Smoking and alcohol
Smoking and drinking moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol can lower your milk production.
Previous breast surgery
Not having enough glandular tissue because of breast surgery, such as breast reduction, cyst removal, or mastectomy, can interfere with lactation. Breast surgery and nipple piercings can damage the nerves that are connected to breast milk production.
Is your supply low?
You may be worried that your milk supply is low, but low breast milk production is rare. Most women make more than one-third more milk than their babies need, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There are many reasons your baby may cry, fuss, or seem distracted while breastfeeding, but it’s unlikely to be due to your milk supply. Teething, gas pains, or even just being tired can lead to fussiness. Babies are also more easily distracted as they age. This can interfere with feedings and cause them to pull away when you’re trying to breastfeed.
Every baby’s needs are different. Most newborns need 8 to 12 feedings in 24 hours, some even more. As your baby gets older, they’ll feed more efficiently. This means that even though feedings are much shorter, they may be getting more milk in less time. Other babies like to linger and suck longer, often until the flow of milk has almost stopped. Either way is fine. Take your cue from your baby and feed until they stop.
As long as your baby is gaining weight as expected and needing regular diaper changes, then you’re probably producing enough milk.
When your baby is getting enough milk, they will:
- gain weight as expected, which is 5.5 to 8.5 ounces each week until 4 months
- have three or four stools every day by 4 days of age
- have two wet diapers over 24 hours by the 2nd day after birth, and six or more wet diapers after day 5
Regular checkups with your child’s pediatrician will help determine if your milk supply may be low or if your child is undernourished. Tracking feedings and diaper changes can also help your doctor determine whether or not your milk supply is lower than it should be.
If your milk supply is low, supplementing with formula may be an option. Speak to your doctor or a lactation specialist before supplementing feedings with formula to avoid accidental early weaning.
A lactation specialist can create a supplementation plan for you to follow so that you can increase your milk production and gradually decrease supplementation.
When to seek help
If you’re worried that your baby isn’t getting enough milk or feel that your baby isn’t thriving, speak to your doctor or consult a lactation specialist. If low milk production is the problem, correcting it may be as simple as making a few changes to your routine or feeding technique, or adjusting a medication you’re on.
If you’re supply is low or you’re having other trouble with breastfeeding, try to remember the motto “Fed is best.” As long as your baby is well-fed and getting the nourishment they need, breast milk or formula are both fine.
Last medically reviewed on May 7, 2018
- Postpartum Care
- Post Delivery
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- Amount of milk. (n.d.).
- Breastfeeding report card –– United States, 2010. (2010).
- Increasing supply. (2018).
- Kent JC, et al. (2012). Principles for maintaining or increasing breast milk production. DOI:
- LaFleur E. (2015). What causes a low milk supply during breast-feeding?
- Lee HC, et al. (2012). A quality improvement project to increase breast milk use in very low birth weight infants. DOI:
- Newman J, et al. (2009). Herbs for increasing milk supply.
- Pitman T. (n.d.). Losing your milk: What seems like dwindling milk can actually be normal changes in baby and you.
- Prime DK, et al. (2012). Simultaneous breast expression in breastfeeding women is more effective than sequential breast expression. DOI:
- Your guide to breastfeeding. (n.d.).
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
May 7, 2018
Medically Reviewed By
Valinda Riggins Nwadike, MD, MPH
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How to increase the amount of milk for a nursing mother? - an article in the blog of the medical center Health for Children in Moscow
Breastfeeding is the key to good health and mental peace of the child for years to come. But besides this, breastfeeding solves most of the mother's issues: from financial issues to the convenience of building your day and bonding with your child. Galina Vladimirovna Loseva, our most sought-after pediatrician with more than 20 years of experience, tells how to increase the amount of milk for good nutrition of a child
The problem of lack of milk can occur both in the early neonatal period, when lactation is becoming established, and later, for example, during lactation crises, which can occur at certain periods of time (3-6 weeks, 3-4 months, 6 months), as well as after temporary weaning during the mother’s illness or the need to take certain medications that are incompatible with breastfeeding.
Ways to increase lactation:
- Feeding on demand , especially during early lactation. Frequent feedings in the first weeks of life are essential for maximizing the number of prolactin receptors to ensure sufficient milk production in the long term. Without these receptors, lactation will be at risk by 2-3 months of age. It is advisable to attach the baby to the breast as soon as possible after childbirth. If possible, do not use bottle supplements without a good reason. Night feedings are obligatory, the need for them usually lasts up to about 6 months. nine0013
- Proper breastfeeding. The baby must include both the nipple and areola. His mouth should be wide open with his lower lip turned outward
- You can use post-feeding pumping to increase milk production. And at the same time, freeze milk to create a reserve in case the mother leaves or a case of illness in which it is necessary to interrupt breastfeeding.
- Rational nutrition for breastfeeding women. The menu should contain cereals, vegetables, fish, meat, eggs, fruits, dairy products are better than sour-milk, a small amount of nuts is acceptable. The use of strict hypoallergenic diets in a woman without an allergic history is unacceptable. Spicy dishes, spices, fried foods are excluded, this can affect the taste and smell of milk. nine0013
- Drinking enough liquid - water, green tea, compotes, fruit drinks. Drinks should preferably be warm or hot. It is recommended to take liquid 20-40 minutes before feeding.
- Eliminate alcohol, nicotine, including passive smoking.
- Compliance with the rest regimen , psycho-emotional peace, positive attitude. This is largely determined by the attitude of close people who can help a nursing mother in household chores, caring for other children, etc. nine0013
- Warm shower, light breast massage just before feeding.
- If you still need supplementary feeding, then it is better to give it with a pipette, spoon, syringe without a needle.
- Pharmacy products: Laktogon, Femilak. From herbs, galega, cumin, anise are considered safe. However, relying only on these funds is not worth it if the above points are not observed. They can be used as ancillary, as an addition to the diet of a nursing mother, which may be insufficient for certain reasons. nine0013
The material was provided by a pediatrician with more than 20 years of experience Galina Vladimirovna Loseva.
All recommendations should be applied after full-time consultation with a specialist doctor.
Pumping when mom needs to go away | Philips AventSearch Support Icon
Home ›› Weaning
Home ›› Expressing milk during temporary weaning of the mother from the baby . Perhaps you are already using a breast pump to continue breastfeeding when you go to work, or you just want to have more free time between feedings. nine0003
3 Philips Avent products to help you pump and store your milk comfortably:
Not sure when to start expressing milk or when to start using a breast pump? Don't worry, we've put together a quick guide to help you learn how to express milk and learn about the benefits of using a breast pump. We'll also give you tips on how to express your milk when you're away from home, how to keep it adequate, and how to store it safely. nine0003
When should I start expressing milk?
Most women begin to express milk after six months, but there are circumstances that force them to do so earlier.
If you intend to express milk as early as possible, the answer to the question “When can I start expressing milk?” will be: "A few hours after birth." Some mothers find that expressing milk is effective at a very early stage, especially if the baby has latch-on problems, as pumping improves the flow of milk to the breast. nine0058
Other mothers start expressing after breastfeeding is established because they want someone in the household to help with feeds while they are away or with feeds after they return to work.
There are no specific rules about when to start pumping, so you can do whatever works best for you. Whatever your needs, you can pump to make your schedule less dependent on feedings.
How to express breast milk: general questions
How long should I express milk? How much milk do I need to express? What equipment do I need for this? Every mother has questions about this topic, however, once she starts expressing milk, she easily adapts to this process.
Most moms find a breast pump to be the easiest way to express breast milk. The principle of operation of different breast pumps may vary slightly, so read the instructions for use before using the device. Remember that it can take 1-2 minutes for milk to come out of your breast during pumping, so don't worry if you don't see it right away! nine0003
Not sure how long to express milk? If you are not in a hurry, try to express milk until you feel that your chest is empty. Due to the individual characteristics of each woman, the pumping time will be different.
The amount of milk expressed will depend on when you last breastfed and how long you have been using the pump and are accustomed to using it. Even your internal state and time of day can affect the amount of milk. If you have problems with lactation, check out our tips for increasing your milk supply. Generally, the best time to express is in the morning. During sleep, there is an increase in the level of hormones responsible for the production of milk. nine0003
Should breastfeeding be combined with pumping? Wait about an hour between pumping and the next feeding. So you will be sure that the baby will have enough milk! Feed your baby as much as it takes to keep him full and happy. Use a breast pump to fully express milk from your breasts and save excess milk.
How to Express Breast Milk: Practical Tips
Whether you are expressing milk at home (for a night feed) or at work, there are a few key points to keep in mind to help you. nine0003
1. Plan ahead. If you have to leave your baby, start using a breast pump a few weeks in advance. This way you will store enough milk for your baby and get used to using a breast pump.
2. Be ready. You may be aware of the so-called "oxytocin reflex", which stimulates the flow of milk due to the release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin increases the secretion of breast milk that can be expressed. The production of the hormone can be caused in many ways, even just by looking at the child. Therefore, many mothers find it effective to look at a photo of their baby while pumping while away from home. After you finish pumping, you can also use bra pads to keep your breasts dry and protect your clothes from milk stains. nine0058
3. Get comfortable. The more comfortable you feel, the easier it will be to express milk. Find a quiet, private place and feel free to change the lighting and music to your liking. It is helpful to find a seat with good support so that you can sit comfortably with the pump in front of you.
4. Express as many times as you would like to breastfeed your baby. To maintain the required supply of milk, express it as often as you normally feed your baby. Thus, if the baby usually has three feedings during your absence, then you need to express milk at least three times. nine0003
How to choose the best breast pump for expressing milk
There are several different types of breast pumps, each with its own advantages. Choose the one that will help you feel comfortable in your daily life. Perhaps you prefer to have a device that is designed to be used on the go? Or do you need a breast pump that will allow you to express milk quickly?
Storage and preparation of milk after pumping
After you have expressed your milk, remember to freeze or refrigerate it. Then, before feeding the baby, it must be thawed and warmed up. Here are some tips on how to store breast milk:
- Use sterile milk storage containers or freezer bags to collect and store milk.
- Do not fill the container to the upper limit, because when frozen, breast milk "expands", the optimal portion for storage is 60-120 ml. nine0013
- Label the container with the pumping date or write the pumping date on the container with a permanent marker.
- Store milk in the refrigerator at 2-4°C for up to 24 hours.
- After cooling the expressed milk in the refrigerator for 0.5 hours, the milk can be frozen in the freezer and stored there for 3 months.
- Place the milk closer to the back of the refrigerator or freezer rather than in the door to keep the milk at a constant temperature. nine0013
- Thawed milk placed in the refrigerator should be used within 24 hours.
- Do not refreeze thawed milk.
- Transport milk in an insulated container with an ice pack.
Use these tips to prepare your expressed milk for breastfeeding:
- Thaw or warm breast milk under running warm water, in a bain-marie, or with a bottle warmer. nine0013
- Do not use a microwave oven to heat milk.
- Do not heat milk to boiling point.
- Shake the milk bottle before feeding until smooth.
- Check milk temperature before feeding. The most optimal temperature is the average between body temperature and room temperature. To check the temperature of milk, you can drop it on your skin.
Advice for first-time moms
If you are just starting to express milk, remember that this process may not be entirely comfortable. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to express milk. Sometimes this will be difficult to do, for example if you are trying to express milk during a busy work day or in an unfamiliar place; therefore, it is necessary to practice well at home and show patience.