How to Increase Your Milk Supply Quickly: 8 Tips That Can Save Your Supply
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.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.
Signs You Milk Supply is Dropping & Why It’s Dropping
I always had trouble breastfeeding Lil’ C, but at 7 weeks, things got really bad.
At precisely 6 minutes, my daughter would come off my breast 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 behavior continued until my breasts felt lighter, I couldn’t feel my let down anymore, and Lil’ C 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!
In hindsight, if I had known the signs that my milk supply was dropping, I wouldn’t have needed to go into emergency mode.
Before we get into how to increase your milk supply quickly, let’s briefly talk about the signs your milk supply is dropping and why you might be experiencing a sudden drop in milk supply.
Signs Your Milk Supply is Dropping
Okay, the obvious, dead-giveaway sign is that your baby is starving. His weight might be going down, he might be getting frustrated while suckling, he’ll cry for feeds more frequently and so on. These can also be signs that your baby is going through a growth spurt and your breasts are just struggling to keep up.
Here’s a few sneakier signs your milk supply is dropping that you might want to know about:
- Your baby is not producing enough wet diapers
- Your breast feel light before a feeding
- You don’t feel your let down anymore
- Your pumping output is very low (less than 2oz). Just keep in mind that this sign is not 100% accurate. Many women struggle to get a good output.
Why You’re Experiencing a Sudden Drop in Milk Supply
Figuring out the answer to this can save you from future crisises. In my case, my daughter had a tongue tie, which prevented her from suckling efficiently and emptying my breasts. This slowly reducing my milk supply.
Your situation could be completely different. The most common reason for a sudden drop in milk supply around the 6 week mark is hormone regulation. At this point, your body begins taking its cues from your baby (rather than just producing like crazy no matter what the demand.
Here are a few more factors that could be impacting your milk supply that you should really consider:
- Lack of hydration – This is a milk killer. Seriously, your body CAN NOT produce without enough water.
- Lack of nutrition
- Bad latch caused from physical conditions (tongue tie, cleft lip, high palate, etc)
- Hunger Strike – If your baby goes on a hunger strike, this can decrease the demand of milk, which gradually decreases your production
- Your baby is beginning to sleep through the night – You may want to start pumping for that feed. More than later.
- Strict feeding schedules
- Nipple Shields
How Long Does it Take to Increase Your Milk Supply
Okay, I KNOW that the title of this post is how to increase your milk supply quickly. BUT, I want to give you realistic expectations.
Every woman is different. That is, every woman lactates differently. With the methods I’m about to share, my milk supply doubled in 2 days. Honestly, I increased my milk supply in one day without an issue.
Just know that your experience may be different.
If you try the methods below and just can’t lactate, seek out help immediately. There could be something going on. A lactation consultant can quickly tell you what’s going on and give you the tips you need to improve your supply.
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.
(Note: If you’re reading this and feeling a little unsure of your breastfeeding capabilities, The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class is a favorite resource with my readers. It teaches you how how to latch (and how to CORRECT A BAD LATCH), position your baby, produce more milk, pump…basically everything!) The course is less than $20, and when you buy it, you also receive a discount code for the Back to Work Pumping Class). Alternatively, if you HATE online courses, “The Breastfeeding Handbook” by Mom Smart Not Hard is a pretty amazing resource as well and it’s only $9.
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.
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! (And Try Power Pumping)
Pumping is crucial to increasing your milk supply quickly. Lactation is all about supply and demand. By pumping before and after your feeds, you’re increasing that demand. Power pumping (one of the concepts I learned from Milkology) teaches that you should pump 20 minutes, then rest 10. Pump 10 minutes, then rest 10. Then pump 10 minutes again.
I didn’t follow this guideline to a T, but I did pump for 10-15 minutes after I put Lil’ C 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.
If your baby just started sleeping through the night, you’ve noticed a drop in your milk supply, you might want to start pumping at that middle of the night feed until your supply consolidates. In my experience, this takes about a week.
Power pumping is an exhausting commitment, but it does rebuild your stockpile and it gives you a good excuse to catch up on your Netflix.
RELATED POST: 7 Expert Pumping Tips for New Moms You Need to Know
4: Brewer’s Yeast & Flaxseed
Did you know that beer may contain ingredients that can increase milk your production?
Before you go out and buy a six pack, check out Brewer’s Yeast instead. 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.
The downside is, brewer’s yeast does cause massive poops for you and your baby. Experts also suggest not taking Brewer’s yeast if you’re prone to yeast infections or allowing your children to eat it.
I loved making this energy ball recipe. It contains lots of nutritional goodies and it’s delicious. I just added a tiny bit of brewer’s yeast to it. I also 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. 😉
RELATED POST: 15 Lactation Friendly Recipes to Boost Your Supply
5: More Milk Plus by Mother Love
In my opinion, women should stock this prior to breastfeeding, just in case.
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 to begin seeing results. After my milk supply leveled out, I took 1 a day.
I should mention that after about a week, I noticed that Lil’ C’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
Skin-to-skin isn’t some hookey old wive’s tale. Science has proven time and time again that skin-to-skin can have dramatic effects on you and your baby.
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. If you do, great. If not, other studies show that even one extra cumulative hour a day can increase be beneficial.
Short on Time? Pin it for Later!
7: Ditch the Pacifier
Be the pacifier. You are the pacifier.
Usually I’m not one to support becoming a human pacifier, 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
If you know in your heart that your diet isn’t where it needs to be, there’s a very real chance that a lack of nutrition could be the issue.
In general, a few of your lactation-friendly food go-tos should be:
- Greens (like spinach)
- Colorful Fruit (strawberries, papaya, blueberries, raspberries)
- Colorful Veggies (yams, sweet potatoes, carrots)
That terrible weekend where I worked to replenish my dried up supply consisted almost of nothing but oatmeal, spinach, healthy omelets, and chicken.
If you need a little help getting on track, I get it. I’m not exactly the best cook in the world and I tend to despise everything green. My go-to product here is Mommy Labor Nurse’s Breastfeeding Cookbook. It includes 50 easy recipes and snack ideas just for you (My mouth was watering just looking at the sales page’s pictures…)
RELATED POST: 15 Lactation-Friendly Recipes to Increase Your Supply
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.
A milk crisis is one instance where you need to temporarily forget about your nice 2.5-3 hour routine and focus solely on increasing your production.
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.
Related Post: 5 Simple Steps to Start an Amazing Newborn Sleep Schedule
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 my lactation consultant:
- Goat’s Rue by Motherlove
- Mulunggay by Motherlove
- Fenugreek Capsules
- Reglan (As a last resort)
- Upspring Milk Flow
- Lactation Support by Gaia
- Blessed Thistle Capsules
If You Want to Increase Your Breast Milk in One Day You Might Need Help
The methods above are not scientifically proven. They may or may not work for you. There is no shame in turning to an IBCLC that can tell you exactly what you need.
Seeking out a lactation consultant was the best thing I ever did. I am convinced that I would not have been able to continue breastfeeding if I hadn’t.
Also note that 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 or lactation consultant.
How to Increase Your Milk Supply Quickly: Conclusion
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.
Start by 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. 🙂
Please be wary of products with Fenugreek in them. For women with thyroid issues can do the opposite and completely dry up their supply. The thyroid levels that are necessary for milk production are in a smaller range than what is normal when not breastfeeding. Some women may not know that their thyroid levels are not in this range. It is better to avoid anything with Fenugreek just in case!
i’ve been struggling to breastfeed my baby and i can’t wait to try these
You’ve got this, Mama! These techniques helped me a lot!