Increase Breast Milk Supply Naturally
Updated: Feb 19, 2019
Having low breast milk supply can be extremely stressful and an unforeseen challenge when having a newborn. Whether the low supply starts from day one, or if supply dips with returning to work or getting your period, there are many methods to increase supply.
I want to preface the rest of this article by saying the number one thing that needs to be assessed and ruled out by a well-trained lactation consultant or pediatric dentist is tongue and lip ties. Without a proper latch, not only is baby unable to empty the breast efficiently but also the body’s positive feedback loop (more about that in a little bit) won’t be activated properly.
This topic is near and dear to my heart because my daughter had undiagnosed tongue and lip ties for several weeks after birth, and once it was corrected, I had to try numerous methods to boost my supply while also relying on breast milk donations.
· Hydration – make sure your body has the fluids it needs! A rough calculation for how much pure water you should drink every day when nursing/pumping is: weight/2 + 30 ounces. For example, if you are 160 lbs, you should be drinking at least 160/2+30 = 120 ounces/day
· Power pumping- This not only works on the premise of supply and demand but also it mimics cluster feeding. The more you pump, the more the positive feedback loop is being activated which will stimulate your body to make more breast milk. A power hour is pumping for 40 minutes within 60 minutes as follows: Pump 20 minutes, rest 10, pump 10, break 10, pump 10. One or two power hours can be done every 24-hours.
· Pump between 1-5am when prolactin levels are the highest. You could even do a power-hour after nursing in the middle of the night within this time-frame.
· Pump for 5-10 minutes after every nursing session. Again, to stimulate the positive feedback loop.
· Lactation essential oil rollerball- Applying lactation-supportive essential oils topically over the breast tissue can be a game-changer for many women. Use ten drops each of clary sage, basil, and fennel diluted in a carrier oil. Apply it 2-4x day for up to 10 days, and then take a break from it for at least seven days.
· Herbs- historically, herbs in the form of teas were common for new moms because of their nutritive and nourishing properties. Several tea brands have lactation blends making it easy and convenient for new moms. The first three herbs listed are commonly taken in capsules as well as in teas.
o Fenugreek seeds – 4500-6000mg/day, in divided doses (note, if your skin starts to smell like maple syrup, you have had enough fenugreek)
o Blessed thistle – 2000-4000mg/day, in divided doses
o Goat’s rue – 2000-4000mg/day, in divided doses
o Milk thistle
o Stinging nettle
o Lemon balm
o Marshmallow (the herb—not the sweet white fluffy treat 😉)
· Brewer’s yeast – Note this says brewer’s yeast, not nutritional yeast.
· Steel cut oats – Oats are listed above in the herbs section, but you can also eat ¼ cup daily for breakfast or a snack, instead of taking it as a supplement.
· Dark beer – Hops is listed above in the herb section as well, but one easy way to get hops is through dark beer. Sometimes only a half of a beer is enough for some women.
· Acupuncture – Several acupuncture points are specific to lactation. It’s best to use acupuncture frequently up front to give the body the boost it needs, as opposed to going once a week or once a month.
Consistency is key! There isn’t one magic pill that will miraculously skyrocket your breast milk production overnight. It may take at least 2-4 weeks to start noticing changes, so don’t get discouraged early on.
Written by Dr. Mary Simon.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational use only; it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your physician or other qualified healthcare practitioner with questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.