How to increase breast feed for baby

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.

Breastfeeding: Tips to Increase Your Milk Supply l University Hospitals l Northeast Ohio

Signs That a Breastfed Baby Is Being Well Nourished

  • Your baby nurses at least 8 to 16 times in 24 hours, or every 2 to 3 hours. Your baby may be fussy once or twice a day. At these times, he or she wants to nurse often for several hours before seeming full. This is called cluster feeding.
  • Your baby wets at least 6 cloth or 5 disposable diapers and has at least 1 bowel movement in 24 hours. This occurs by 1 week of age.
  • You can hear your baby swallow milk while nursing or you can feel your baby swallow when lightly touching his or her throat.
  • Your breasts seem softer after nursing.
  • Your baby gains 4 to 8 ounces a week after the first week. There is no need to weigh your baby at home. Your baby’s doctor will do this for you. You may notice that your baby has outgrown his or her clothing.
  • Your baby has regained his/her birthweight by 10 to 14 days after birth.

Factors Which Can Cause Your Milk Supply to Decrease

  • Your baby feeds fewer than 8 to 16 times in 24 hours. Milk production is affected by how well the breast is drained.
  • Your baby has a very weak suck, or has an improper latch.
  • Giving bottles of formula or water after nursing. Most babies will suck on a bottle after nursing. This just means they need to suck. It does not mean they are still hungry. Babies cry or fuss for many reasons, such as being tired, bored, wet, hot or cold.
  • Giving solid foods too early and/or before you breastfeed. Most babies do not need solid foods for the first 6 months if they are breastfeeding 8 to 16 times a day.
  • Smoking can cause a decreased milk supply and interfere with the letdown reflex. Here are some things you should do:
    • Try to quit or cut down.
    • Smoke after nursing, not before.
    • Don’t smoke in the same room with your baby.
  • Beginning birth control pills too soon can decrease your milk supply. Wait at least 6 weeks before taking birth control pills and then use only the mini-pill (Progestin). If you still notice a decrease in your milk supply, talk to your doctor about other birth control options. Other medications may also affect milk supply. Check with your doctor. (Refer to PI-682, Breastfeeding and Birth Control: You Have Options.)
  • Mothers who are exhausted may notice a decrease in milk supply. To keep yourself from getting too tired:
    • Sleep or relax when your baby sleeps.
    • Eat balanced diet that includes high-protein food.
    • Drink when you are thirsty so that your urine is pale yellow in color. Both under and excessive over hydration can decrease milk supply.
    • Take an iron supplement if your healthcare provider says you are anemic.
    • Talk with your doctor or nurse midwife about the need for vitamin supplement.
    • Accept help when it is offered.
  • Use nipple shields and pacifiers with caution.
  • A breast flange that is too small or too large in size can hurt your milk supply.
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast reduction surgery may reduce milk supply.

If You Notice Your Milk Supply Is Low

You can increase your milk supply by:

  • Nursing your baby often. Nurse every 2 hours during the day and every 3 to 4 hours at night (at least 8 to 16 times in 24 hours). If your baby will not nurse, use a good quality double electric breast pump to increase milk production. Pumping after breastfeeding signals your body to produce more milk.
  • Nurse your baby at least 15 minutes at each breast. Do not limit nursing time. If your baby falls asleep after one breast, wake him or her and offer the second breast. A few babies may benefit from nursing at one breast per feeding to increase the fat content of the feeding. Switch nursing- switching breasts several times during a feeding has been shown to increase milk supply.
  • Gently massage breast before and during feedings.
  • Use relaxation techniques to reduce stress and promote the flow of breast milk.
  • Provide skin to skin time with your baby for about 20 minutes after feeds. This “kangaroo care” has been shown to increase milk supply.
  • Be sure baby is positioned and latched correctly.
  • Offer both breasts at each feeding.
  • Try breast compression during the feeding to help drain the breast.
  • Pump immediately after breastfeeding during the day. Rest at night. Some mothers find that they get more milk if they pump for 5 minutes, rest for 5 minutes, and pump for another 10 minutes.

Talk to your doctor about using medication or the herb fenugreek.

Works Cited

Wambach, Karen and Riordan, Jan “Breastfeeding and Human Lactation”, Fifth edition, Jones & Bartlett, 2016.

How to establish breastfeeding and increase breast milk

Breast milk is very important for the health of the baby and mother. We will share the secrets of how to improve lactation

All articles

Everyone is well aware that mother's milk contains everything that a baby needs in the first months of life. These are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins in the optimal qualitative and quantitative composition, as well as enzymes, hormones, antibodies and immune cells that protect the baby from allergies, infections and chronic diseases.

We have written about the benefits of breastfeeding more than once, and today we will give you recommendations on how to maintain and increase the amount of breast milk:

  • Feed your baby on demand. It is especially important to do this in the first month of the baby. The child requires constant attention. Between feedings can pass no more than an hour. This is a completely normal process. The more he suckles it, the sooner milk production will begin.

  • Try not to give a bottle. If necessary, supplementary food or water can be given from a spoon. The mechanism of pacifier and bottle sucking is different from breast sucking and can lead to improper attachment and failure.

  • Let the baby stay at the breast for as long as he needs, even if it is more than 30-40 minutes. Use this time to relax or sleep.

  • Take care of a menu that can quickly increase lactation. It should be as satisfying as possible and high in protein.

  • Drink as much liquid as possible: 1.5-2 liters of pure water per day will support lactation at the right level. Weak warm tea, compotes, dill water, fruit drinks are also recommended.

  • Eat in a comfortable position. Make sure that the child completely captures not only the nipple, but also part of the areola. So the milk will be released in the right amount and the nipple will not be injured. If you feel pain, then the baby is doing something wrong. Take the breast out of the baby's mouth and help him grasp it correctly.

  • Remember oxytocin is a hormone that is responsible for the release of milk from the breast. It is helped to form in the female body in sufficient quantities: relaxation, warmth, massage, rest, contact with the child, support from loved ones, self-confidence.

  • Turn on your favorite movie or music, prepare warm tea, something tasty and enjoy motherhood!

A personal pediatrician will help to establish lactation and give answers to all questions - a reliable and qualified assistant in this crucial period of a baby's life. Especially for young patients, the LOTOS Children's Clinic has convenient monitoring programs for children from 0 to 1 year old. Read more here

All articles

Our doctors

All specialists

Moiseeva Tatyana Nikolaevna

Head of the Department of Pediatrics, allergist, immunologist, candidate of medical sciences, highest category

Galiulin Musa Yagokupovich

Pediatric surgeon, 1st category

Zhiguleva Alexandra Sergeevna


Panoyan Alena Anatolyevna


Bozhenko Yana Leonidovna


Kirpichnikova Svetlana Ivanovna


Mindlina Anna Olegovna

Pediatrician, second category

Borodina Ksenia Nikolaevna

Pediatrician, pediatric gastroenterologist

Kamaletdinova Natalia Leonidovna

Pediatrician, the highest category

Gorshkova Lada Lvovna


Rodionova Natalya Alekseevna


Mikhaleva Irina Igorevna

Pediatrician, gastroenterologist, pulmonologist, functional diagnostics

Larisa Alexandrovna Sannikova


How to increase the lactation of a breastfeeding mother



  1. Plentiful drink
  2. herbal teas
  3. Products that increase lactation
  4. Vitamins and drugs that increase lactation
  5. Other ways to stimulate the production of prolactin. lactation crisis

Today we're going to talk about how to give your baby optimal nutrition. And, of course, we are talking about breastfeeding and ways to increase lactation.

First, a few praises for breast milk.

Only breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. In terms of nutritional value, the balance of the chemical composition and the degree of digestibility of nutrients, none of the most perfect and adapted milk formula can be compared with breast milk. The nutritional value of breast milk - a product created by nature itself - ensures the rapid growth and development of a child in the first year of life. But it brings the greatest benefit for the baby precisely in the first months, when there is no other complementary food yet. Therefore, it is important to establish breastfeeding immediately after the birth of a child. How to do it right, read here.

And, of course, mothers, especially beginners, are interested in ways to increase lactation. Let's consider the most effective of them in more detail:

Plentiful drink

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this factor. For reference: the amount of food for a child in the first year of life starts from 700 ml (1/5 of body weight), gradually increasing to 1 liter per day. Accordingly, the volume of liquid consumed by a nursing mother should also increase by at least 1 liter. At home, there should always be herbal teas in a thermos and boiled water (mineral water, compotes or fruit drinks) at the same time. Especially effective is the combination of drinking hot herbal decoctions with feeding: you put a mug on the table and, periodically drinking, put the baby to your chest. A wonderful feeling of rush in the chest is guaranteed!

Herbal teas

Most herbal preparations contain oregano, anise, fennel, lemon balm, dill, nettle, wild strawberry leaves. All of these herbs have a calming, antispasmodic effect, which has a beneficial effect on the production of oxytocin, one of the two main hormones responsible for lactation. Therefore, during stress, overwork, nervous exhaustion, when the production of oxytocin decreases, herbal preparations are absolutely indicated for use. But sage and thyme (thyme) should be treated with caution - they have a depressing effect on the production of breast milk. From a lack of food, babies can often be capricious and lose a lot of weight, so it is important not to deviate from the daily diet. How much a newborn should eat per feeding - read here.

Herbs can be prepared in advance by yourself, bought at a pharmacy to make a collection at home, or you can buy ready-made herbal teas, including in filter bags.

Products that increase lactation

Lactation is a very energy intensive process. Before the introduction of complementary foods, you feel like a sort of small dairy. And nutrition during feeding should be balanced - taking into account not only losses with breast milk, but also the energy spent on its creation in the mammary gland. Therefore, when breastfeeding, not only the volume of food increases (mainly due to liquid), but also its calorie content. But not at the expense of cakes and pastries! A sufficient amount of protein-containing foods will ensure adequate lactation with good milk quality. Low-fat meats, fish (no more than 2 times a week), cottage cheese, cheese, dairy products, eggs must be in the diet of a nursing woman. Hot soups and broths made from lean veal, chicken, turkey, and rabbit are especially good at stimulating lactation. They should be on the menu every day.

But alcohol, including the legendary beer, as a means of increasing milk production, is under an absolute ban. In the case of using beer, including with sour cream, the main effect is calming and relaxing, which positively affects the production of oxytocin. Herbal teas have the same effect, and the effects of alcohol on a child's body can be catastrophic. But you can use brewer's yeast as a source of B vitamins.

Any new product should be introduced with caution, observing the child's reaction to it within 2-3 days. And one of the main indicators is the nature of the chair. For a healthy child of the first month of life, the norm is the passage of stool after each feeding. And here, Huggies ® Elite Soft diapers for newborns can become your assistant, which have a unique Soft Absorb absorbent layer that absorbs loose stools and moisture in seconds. And for even more tenderness as part of the new Huggies ® Elite Soft contains 100% organic cotton. The elastic waistband of the diaper fits perfectly to the baby's body, and a special pocket for loose stools will provide additional protection against leakage. Use with pleasure!

Vitamins and drugs that increase lactation

During lactation, the woman's body's need for vitamins and trace elements increases. The resulting relative hypovitaminosis can contribute to a decrease in the function of the mammary gland. Preference is given to multivitamin complexes containing retinol (vitamin A), tocopherol (vitamin E), thiamine (vitamin B 1 ), ascorbic acid, microdoses of iodine, glutamic and lipoic acid. Of the biogenic stimulants, Apilak, Laktogon are used.

Considering that almost all drugs pass into breast milk and, accordingly, to the child, medications to increase lactation should be used only as directed by a doctor.

Other ways to stimulate the production of prolactin. lactation crisis

It should be noted that the production of breast milk is a cyclical process. There is the concept of lactation crises that occur every 1.5–2 months, when the amount of milk a woman may slightly decrease. In this situation, the most important thing is not to reduce the number of feedings, but, on the contrary, to put the baby to the breast more often. This stimulates milk production. And the child, as a rule, feels the approach of a lactation crisis and “stocks up” food in advance, increasing his appetite a day or two before the start of the decline in lactation. You can not refuse night feedings. The maximum production of prolactin occurs at night, and with proper stimulation by applying to the chest, lactation is easily restored.

Learn more