Many mamas that want to breastfeed struggle with not producing enough milk for their baby. Thankfully I haven’t experienced that issue, but from prior to birth I was consuming regularly foods that are known to boost milk supply. Not only foods, there are other things known for boosting milk supply, which I’m going to outline for you here.

Non-Food Things You Can Do

1. Ensure efficient latch

Baby should have a good latch. This means the whole areola is in their mouth, or most of it (it depends on how big it is). Most hospitals have a lactation consultant that you can visit, loo for baby friendly hospitals if yours doesn’t, or a breastfeeding group to have someone help you if you don’t think baby is latching correctly.

 

Baby being breastfed with breastmilk
2. Offer Both Sides

Make sure baby finishes on one side then offer the other side. They usually will top off on the other side. Removing milk from the breast signals more milk production. If baby gets full, more milk is removed, meaning your body will replenish with more.

3. Avoid Pacifiers and Bottles

Until your supply is established, try to avoid these. If baby uses you for all their sucking needs it signals to your body to produce more milk. The sucking stimulates milk production, and even if baby isn’t taking a full feed, they still get ‘snacks’ at these comfort feedings.

baby wearing a diaper
4. Pumping

If you are struggling with supply, try pumping after feeds. You can do a few minutes, or power pump depending on how much your supply is struggling. Make sure to save all that pumped milk! Even if baby is under a month and you’re avoiding bottles, you can feed it later.

5. Nurse Often

Make sure you feed on demand, and recognize baby’s feeding cues. They say to try and feed every 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 at night with newborns. Getting baby to the breast often is essential for establishing a good milk supply.

Food Options

6. Hydration

Make sure you are hydrated. While a lactation consultant told me that typically milk supply isn’t impacted significantly by dehydration, severe dehydration can reduce milk supply. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day plus about 30 extra ounces. 

water for hydration
7. Oats

Oats or oatmeal are known to boost milk supply. The exact reason is not known, but it is believed to be due to a few reasons. One being it’s high in iron. Anemia can cause low milk supply, so boosting iron can help with supply. They contain a lactogenic called beta-glucan which is a prominent fiber in oats. It’s also known to be a comfort food, which when relaxed, moms tend to let down more milk.

8. Fenugreek and Fennel

These two contain phytoestrogens which are known to boost milk supply. There are teas out there (Mother’s Milk Tea) that contain these herbs. As the wife of an Indian man, these herbs are also used in many Indian dishes, and have been for hundreds of years. 

9. Brewer’s Yeast

There isn’t much research out there that says brewer’s yeast is a milk booster, but it is thought to. Brewer’s yeast is often used as a nutritional supplement because it’s high in protein, iron, B vitamins, as well a few other minerals. Because of that it may be similar to oats in boosting supply. It may be linked to beta glucans from beer because they’re lactogenic. It’s also found in many lactation food products.

10. Barley and Malt Barley

Beta-glucans are considered lactogenic, which help increase prolactin. This is what signals the body to produce milk. Barley and malt barley are the highest known food products that contain beta-glucans.

11. Papaya

Papaya has only recently begun to be studied for how it links to milk production so the reason is unknown. That said both raw or cooked, it is known to increase milk supply. 

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Breastfeeding 101: 10 Reasons to Breastfeed
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If you have any concerns with your milk supply, latch, feeding schedule, or anything else, please talk to your local lactation consultant or breastfeeding groups. The Le Leche League has locations nationwide that can assist in person. 

Let me know what worked well for you! Any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments below.

-Cassie

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