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7 Non-Pharmaceutical Ways I'm Increasing My Milk Supply

By Katie |

I thought that breastfeeding and pumping would be an easy adventure. Now that we’ve completely given up on breastfeeding, things are a little easier, but our newest problem is my supply. It was marginal for a while. Some days he got only breast milk, some days he got an ounce or 2 of formula. But as his demand has increased, my supply hasn’t been able to keep up.

At this point, I’m pumping between 17 and 20 ounces a day, which is none too shabby, but Eli now takes 22-24 ounces a day, so he’s getting formula everyday, which isn’t helping his reflux one bit. So I’ve switched my mission from breastfeeding to increasing my supply. My lactation consultant recommended Reglan, but I’ve heard stories about the side effects, so I’m not comfortable going that route. Most of my methods are not scientifically proven, but they’re what I’m trying anyway.

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Ways to Increase Breast Milk Production

Pump until empty

When I was still trying to nurse, especially when I was using the nipple shield, I pumped after every feeding. Emptying your breasts completely signals your body to produce more milk, where leaving them partially full can signal them to slow production. Now that I'm not nursing, I pump until two minutes after I'm out of milk to fully empty them.

What helped increase your milk supply?

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About Katie



Katie is a former teacher, part-time PT, wife, and first-time mother to the baby with the best ears on the Internet. You can find more of her grammatically questionable writing at her blog, Overflowing Brain. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie's latest posts →

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13 thoughts on “7 Non-Pharmaceutical Ways I'm Increasing My Milk Supply

  1. Sarah says:

    I struggled with my supply with my twin girls. Someone told me prolactin levels are higher at night and suggested pumping more at night. It was hard but I set me alarm for about 1AM (and sometimes again at 4AM for the first few days) and pumped. I left bottles out for my husband to feed my twins. The middle of the night pumping sessions were where I first started to notice an increase. I was soon able to stop pumping as much (no more middle of the night!) and eventually was able to stop supplementing with formula.

  2. Susan says:

    My girlfriends (who pump but dont nurse) swear by Mother’s Milk tea, by Traditional Medicinals. One doesn’t like the taste of it hot but says she gets same great results by brewing and making iced tea.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I was pretty much in the same boat and the only thing that really boosted my supply was pumping 11 to 12 times a day. I then went to every 2 hours during the day, then every 3 hours, etc. Now I am down to 4 times a day with a good supply.

  4. Melissa says:

    Eww, I do not miss smelling like maple syrup, but it did work. Good luck.

  5. Katrina says:

    QUINOA! Everytime I eat it my supply shoots up. And it’s yummy and super good for you. If it wasn’t for quinoa pumping would not have been such a success.

  6. Adrianne says:

    Oooh, I hadn’t heard about quinoa to help with supply (comment above mine), but I’m going to test it out! Come to think of it, I had an awesome week a few weeks ago where I was getting tons of extra milk and I’m wondering if it was the same week that I ate this quinoa casserole that I had made for dinner several nights. Interesting!!
    Also, I kind of massage my breast when it starts to slow down and usually can get a little more out by kind of squeezing/pressing in different areas. Yes, I totally feel like a dairy cow being milked as I do this, but you do what you gotta do, huh? :) Good luck! I really hope it gets easier for you so that Eli can benefit! Breastfeeding alone is a huge commitment, but I feel like exclusively pumping would be so much harder for me. I really admire your determination in all of this!

  7. Lauren says:

    I pumped for 6 weeks while my son was in the NICU. I did fenugreek, pumped 10 times a day, and drank the mother’s milk tea…make sure you also massage your breasts while your pumping. After my son came home, my LC had me pump w the symphony 2 mins at the letdown setting and then 2 at regular then switch back to 2 mins on letdown and 2 at regular ALL AT THE HIGHEST SPEED. If it hurts, rub olive oil on your nipples. Doing it this way, I got the same amount I had been getting in 20 mins of pumping the normal way. She said it triggers a second letdown faster. It cut pumping time in half!

    Good luck.

  8. Elle says:

    I know you’re trying to stay away from medications, but I just wanted to post in case you get desperate. I have low supply and after trying just about everything to increase my supply, I finally broke down and tried domperidone. Of course everyone responds differently, but for me it was like magic. It’s the only way I was able to continue nursing (10 months now!). You can buy it from

  9. Bethany says:

    I did all of those things except the dark beer and the quinoa and pretty good success with just pumping (my son wouldn’t nurse, NICU baby) Good luck to you, it will all be worth it! Just make sure that you take time out to snuggle with baby, that’s the one thing that I felt like I missed out on. I was always pumping and hubby was always feeding.

  10. Stephanie says:

    I hate to say it, but pump at night. 10 mins at 4 am and I could get up to 12 oz! I never did make enough just pumping during the day (I was nursing too, but used bottles while I was at work) but pumping at night gave me more than enough to make up the difference.

  11. Charmyn says:

    I tried the Fenugreek and didn’t see much of a difference, but the Mother’s Milk Tea did work. I also made my own cookies packed with carrots, kale, brewers yeast, and flax seed. They were surprisingly good! Drink plenty of water and completely cut out caffeine…I noticed it made a big difference! I also breastfeed and/or pump more frequently to maintain my supply, and my kiddo is going on 11 months and still feeding 4-5 times a day.

  12. Jennifer says:

    My daughter is 5 months old and I as well need successful tips to increase my milk production. I have tried three fenugreek don’t see that it works. Have tried the eating oatmeal and drinking milk all with no success. My daughter constantly wants to nurse. Lately I have been pumping before her feedings but even at 5 months I still only get between 4-6 ounces. I work 8 hours a night and im lucky to get the 18 ounces of milk to send any suggestions???

  13. Dana says:

    I am in for the long haul. My son is 21 months and I still pump once a day at work for 15-20 minutes (till I am ‘empty’). I make sure to eat oatmeal almost every morning and drink at least 2 Yogi Nursing Support teas.

    I think the oatmeal has helped increase my milk as well as the pumping till empty. I was down to 2 ounces when I pumped a month ago but now I am close to 4 ounces again.

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