How to Increase Your Milk Supply FAST
Let’s say you’re two months into motherhood. You finally have that latch thing perfected and your baby is on a nice 2.5-3 hour feeding routine. Suddenly, your baby is coming off your breast. Screaming. Your breasts feel strangely light. You check your supply and your fears are confirmed: your supply is almost gone.
A dip in your milk supply is very scary, but believe me, you can get it back! Two months into motherhood, I combatted a startlingly low supply and DOUBLED my production in one weekend. No joke! In this post, I’ll share the tricks I used that can increase your milk supply fast.
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My Milk Supply Nearly Dried Up at 2 Months
I always had trouble breastfeeding Cali, but at 7 weeks, things got really bad. At precisely 6 minutes, she’d come off screaming. She’d try again, suck for a little while, and then scream again. It was truly puzzling. When I hand-expressed, I still had plenty of milk. This crescendoed until my breasts felt lighter, I couldn’t feel my let-down anymore, and Cali began to act like she was starving.
Sure enough, I did a “yield test” and found that I was producing a little under 2 oz. Suddenly, I wasn’t giving my child the nourishment she needed. I was starving her.
The next 48 hours were tough. It was a dance between convincing my picky breastfed daughter to drink from a bottle and pumping before and after every feeding. I employed every lactation-increasing technique I could with my limited resources. My hard work paid off! By the end of the weekend, I was able to produce 4 oz!
How to Increase Your Milk Supply Fast
1: Adjust Your Latch and Troubleshoot
Believe it or not, this can be the absolute most critical thing you do to ensure that your supply immediately improves. A poor latch is one of the most common reasons for a low milk supply issue. Even with all of these suggestions, you will continually suffer from a low milk supply if you don’t fix the root of the problem.
If you’re still struggling with breastfeeding as a whole, DO NOT FEEL BAD. Breastfeeding isn’t always the uber natural process people crack it up to be.
The best breastfeeding resource I’ve been able to find is the Breastfeeding Handbook. The book is super easy to read (only 28 pages) and filled with tutorials, diagrams, and trackers. My absolute favorite part of the book is the information that you might be missing or may have easily overlooked, like how to latch properly, how to use different breastfeeding positions, reading your baby’s hunger cues, etc. etc. You can also take the free breastfeeding course if you’d like a refresher!
2: Mother’s Milk Tea
This was the first product I used to build up my supply and I fully believe that it helped me tremendously. Mother’s Milk tea is organic, non-GMO, and contains all of the herbs that have helped mommies produce for centuries. This includes the main suspects, like fenugreek, fennel, and aniseed. Fennel and Aniseed are phytoestrogens, which, as you may have guessed, mimic a human mother’s estrogen to stimulate milk production. Go Nature, right?
Many people say it tastes like licorice; personally, I think it tastes like snot. Add some honey or sugar and chug it down. I drank at least 4 cups a day during the worst part of my dry spell. If you absolutely, positively can not stand the taste, Raspberry Leaf tea is rumored to increase milk production as well.
3: Pump More!
This step is crucial to increasing your milk supply. How often varies, depending on your feeding schedule and current production state. The standard advice is every two hours for at least 20 minutes. I began pumping 10-15 minutes after I put Cali down for a nap and then again roughly 45 minutes before I fed her again. If I pumped any closer to her feeding time, I wouldn’t be able to produce the amount she needed. Pumping at night depends on your needs. Some moms need it, some don’t.
Pumping kept my milk supply up until Cali’s frenotomy. It’s an exhausting commitment, but it does rebuild your stockpile and it gives you a good excuse to catch up on your Netflix.
MY personal favorite breast pump is the Spectra S2. It’s a double-flange (which means you can pump both breasts at the same time. Yay, productivity!). You can buy it on the Spectra website for $150, but personally, I prefer Amazon since you get so much more bang for your buck!
4: Brewer’s Yeast & Flaxseed
Brewer’s yeast gives you all of the benefits of beer without the alcohol consumption. It contains all sorts of goodies for breastfeeding moms, such as vitamin B, chromium, and selenium. Brewer’s yeast is often paired with flaxseed, which contains ample amounts of vitamin e and b, omega 3, and fiber. With all this considered, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that one side-effect is massive poops. Experts also suggest not taking Brewer’s yeast if you’re prone to yeast infections or allowing your children to eat it.
In my opinion, the best way to use these ingredients is by mixing them with something you really shouldn’t be eating. Like brownies. I added a couple of tablespoons of brewer’s yeast, water, and ground flaxseed to a store-bought brownie mix. It was delicious. I immediately noticed a huge increase of breast milk (and incidentally, in my weight too…) My husband loved it to and he miraculously did not produce any milk.
If you want to save a bunch of money, check out the link above. Brewer’s yeast and ground flaxseed is so expensive in health food stores! I found a quality brand on Amazon for a much less shocking price tag.
Related: 15 Savory Lactation-Friendly Recipes
5: More Milk Plus by Mother Love
In my opinion, women should stock this prior to breastfeeding, just in case. These pills are a little pricey, but they are a must-have to increase low milk supply. More Milk Plus by Mother Love is composed of several galactalins, such as fenugreek, fennel, nettle seed, blessed thistle, and most importantly Goat’s Rue. Goat’s Rue actually stimulates mammary gland development.
The bottle suggests taking up to 6 pills a day. I only took two. After my milk supply leveled out, I took 1 a day. I should mention that after about a week, I noticed that Cali’s diapers became increasingly green and foamy. After a week of experimenting, I narrowed it down to either a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance or a reaction to the More Milk Plus pills.
6: Plenty of Skin-to-Skin
This isn’t some hookey old wive’s tale. If you need more milk, snag some cuddles ASAP. Your body produces oxytocin when you touch your baby, which in turn, stimulates your let-down. Several sources say that you should stay in bed with your baby all day to get your milk back. Ain’t nobody got time for that! If you do, great. If not, other studies show that even one extra cumulative hour a day can increase be beneficial.
Running out of time? Pin this post for later!
7: Ditch the Pacifier
Be the pacifier. You are the pacifier.Usually I’m not one to support becoming a human pacifier. I like my babies nice and independent. However, this is a great way to stimulate milk production. If you’re low on milk and your baby wants to take a little extra time to suckle, let her. You need all the stimulation you can get.
8: Healthy Diet
Look, I know it’s hard when you’re on the go and you don’t have time to cook. Taco Bell is our #1 go-to during the week. But if you’re having a lactation issue, there’s a very real chance that it’s a nutrition issue. That terrible weekend where I worked to replenish my dried up supply consisted almost of nothing but oatmeal, spinach, and chicken. This is absolutely necessary. Eating healthy meals and drinking plenty of fluids may not actually increase your supply, but it is literally the foundation for these other methods to work.
If you’re all out of dinner and snack ideas, check out my post, The Best Lactation Recipes. These recipes are quick, easy, and delicious. Who knew you could eat healthy and enjoy it?
8: Adjust Your Breastfeeding Schedule
If you’ve read any of my posts on how to implement a baby sleep schedule, you know that I love a flexible routine. This is one instance where you need to temporarily forget about your nice 2.5-3 hour routine and focus solely on increasing your production. Sometimes, you need to breastfeed every 2 hours. Maybe even 1.5 hours. That’s okay.
Take every opportunity to breastfeed. If your baby is waking you up at the 45 minute mark, feed her. If you need to move back from 2.5-3 hour schedule to a 2 hour, do it. I know it feels like you’re taking a step backward but it’s worth it.
Additional Products to Increase Your Milk Supply
I was so pleased with the results above that I stuck to them whenever I needed a quick fix. However, there are several other products that I’ve come across that people have raved about. My personal lactation consultant also recommended several:
- Recommended by Swaddles N Bottles
Let There Be Milk
Pink Stork’s Liquid Gold
- Recommended by my lactation consultant:
Goat’s Rue by Motherlove
Mulunggay by Motherlove
Reglan (As a last resort)
Upspring Milk Flow
Lactation Support by Gaia
Blessed Thistle Capsules
The Most Important Thing to Remember!
Elephant in the room: I’m not a lactation consultant. If you have a low milk supply, I totally get why you’re turning to the internet. Even with the laws under Obama Care, lactation consultations are kind of a gray area with many insurance companies. Plus, going to appointments are hard. I just need to tell you that many of these methods aren’t scientifically proven. I, several lactation consultants and other moms, believe that these methods can increase your milk supply. However, it’s not proven. Important thing #2: These techniques are quick fixes. They’re temporary solutions. If you have a continuous issue with your milk supply (like Cali and I, for instance), there is most likely something else going on. It’s in your best interest, and your baby’s to see a doctor.
There are several reasons for a low milk supply:
- Skipping a feeding
- Exclusively Pumping
- Poor latch caused by the baby’s anatomy or your breast shape
- Tongue tie or cleft palette
- Pain during feeding, caused by either gas or reflux
- Change in hormones
- Birth Control
- Introducing formula or solids
- Sleeping through the night
- Diet— Smoking, Caffeine, Alcohol, or poor diet cause by maybe too much McDonald’s…
- Rigid feeding schedule (Note that I said RIGID. Schedules are good. Rigid is not.)
Take a step back. What could be causing your supply to diminish? Are you on a strict diet? Are you using a nipple shield?\ Have you gotten sloppy with positioning? What about nursing to sleep? Maybe she’s not getting enough because she’s falling asleep during nursing. These techniques might increase your milk supply in the short-term, but you really want to work towards a long-term solution! (Ergo, the Breastfeeding Handbook. Seriously valuable resource for troubleshooting your breastfeeding problems!)
Related: How to Get Amazing Sleep with a Breastfed Baby
Keep Calm and Nurse On
A sudden dry spell can be super scary, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of your breastfeeding days. Remember, Mama…your body is specifically designed to nourish your baby. Sometimes it just needs a little help. Take charge and get your supply back. Start by either feeding your baby more often or pumping and try at least ONE of the products I listed above. There might be some trial and error, but trust me, you’ll get it.
If you need extra resources, be sure to check out the full list of lactation products here and subscribe for breastfeeding essentials below. Most of all, don’t be embarrassed about seeing a lactation consultant. This is nothing to mess around with.
As always, I’m here. Just comment below and tell me how I can help you. 🙂