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

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.

  • Pump until empty 1 of 7
    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.
  • Switch to hospital grade pump 2 of 7
    Switch to hospital grade pump
    I've been using a Medela Freestyle and wanted to see how a hospital grade pump would help. I've been using the Medela Symphony since Saturday and the difference hasn't been huge, but I'm definitely getting more than I was before.
    Image from
  • Pump more frequently 3 of 7
    Pump more frequently
    Initially I was pumping whenever the baby ate, but my LC recommended going to every 2 hours during the day to simulate a growth spurt. It wasn't a fun 2 days of every 2 hour pumping, but it seemed to help slightly.
    Image from MorgueFile
  • Herbs 4 of 7
    On the recommendation of my LC I've been taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle three times a day. I don't know if it's actually helping, but I'm too afraid to stop. Plus, I'd run the risk of not smelling like maple syrup for a while and that would be a tragedy.
    Image from Wikimedia Commons
  • Oatmeal 5 of 7
    I don't know how this works, but the days that I eat oatmeal I usually see a spike in production in the pumping session after the oatmeal. Plus, it's yummy. At the recommendation of a friend, I've been adding a spoonful of peanut butter into my oatmeal and it has rocked my world.
    Image from MorgueFile
  • Brewer’s Yeast 6 of 7
    Brewer's Yeast
    This is another one that I don't understand, but that I'm trying anyway. A good friend made me a big batch of breastfeeding cookies chock full of brewer's yeast. I haven't tried them yet, but I'll report back.
    Image from MorgueFile
  • Dark beer 7 of 7
    Dark beer
    I am not a beer drinker, so I've been holding off, but I will soon be trying a beer a day to keep the formula away. A couple of friends recommended an oatmeal stout so I could hit 2 birds with one stone.
    Image from MorgueFile

What helped increase your milk supply?

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