But there may come a time when baby doesn’t seem quite as satisfied, your breasts don’t feel as full and you’re pretty sure something is going on with your supply. Luckily there are plenty of ways to increase your breast milk supply, including specific foods to eat, and different ways to feed.
As always, be sure to chat with your lactation consultant or doctor before giving these tips a whirl.
Here are 50 ways to increase breast milk supply, as recommended by mums.
Breastfeed more often
Breastfeed more often: This valuable piece of advice has to make number one on our list – because this one is scientifically proven. According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, more frequent feeding means more milk. Simple. This is really important to keep in mind in the first few weeks as you and bub work together to build your supply.
“Going back to basics and just feeding more; it’s supply and demand! Feeding more places an order for more milk to be made.” – Sharni
Drink Milo: So, apparently, it’s not just kids who ‘gotta be made of Milo’ – mums do too! When we put a call out to our community of mums asking what they did to up their supply, lots said drinking Milo played a big role.
“I didn’t know Milo boosted supply, and was having a warm one of a morning and my boobs were like sprinklers!” – Tracey
Put a sock over the breast pump
Sock over the pump: This nifty little trick is all about mind over matter. Shared by a lactation consultant, the sock over the breast pump tip is all about limiting stress.
“When I was told to pump after feeding to boost supply, I’d sit there and watch. I’d double pump for twenty minutes after every feed, and become more and more demoralised at the lack of milk in that bottle. I realised that, for my own mental health, I needed to stop watching! Easier said than done. Enter the baby sock.
“Now I advise mamas to put a sock over their pumping bottle, and it has been getting incredible results. Some women are reporting often 2-3 times more milk when they remove themselves mentally from the result of their pumping session! We know that oxytocin release is inhibited by stress, and oxytocin release is required for letdowns, so if you find you are getting stressed while watching, try it!”
“Putting a sock over the milk bottles when expressing so I couldn’t see how much there was. Worked. Every. Time.” – Chelsea
Eat lactation cookies
Boobie Bikkies (24.95): A blend of natural and organic ingredients that are designed to nourish a breastfeeding mum. Contains ingredients like cinnamon, which is a spice that is commonly used in Brazil and Peru in foods to promote lactation.
“Worked a treat for me. They were the only ones that worked for me … tried making my own and going through a lady who made them but nothing compared to the Boobie Bikkies!” – Tamara
Eat sweet potato
Eat sweet potato: According to studies Beta-Carotene is a breast milk boosting ingredient, and it just so happens sweet potatoes are packed with it. Pass the sweet potato fries, please!
Have a nurse in day
Have a nurse-in day: Because the more you feed the more milk you’ll make, if you’re really struggling taking a whole 24 hours to snuggle down with baby may help kickstart your supply. Take a day where you do nothing else but nourish yourself and bub, the extra rest will help increase your prolactin level which also helps with supply.
7. Drink lactation tea
Weleda Nursing Tea ($18.95): Using herbs like fennel and fenugreek seed (which have been linked to boosting supply), if nothing else a nursing tea helps mums set aside some time to relax and recharge between feeds.
“I’m drinking this at the moment. It seems to be helping my supply a little and it doesn’t taste too bad either.” – Kate
8. Eat papaya
Eat papaya: According to the experts, green papaya is a really good source of galactogogue (substances which naturally promote milk production). You can team papaya up with other galactogogue-rich foods like carrots or spinach in a smoothie. One study found that lactating women who ate pureed papaya and grated carrots had higher levels of vitamin A in their breast milk.
9. Try night feeding
Increase night feeds: The milk-making hormone prolactin is at its peak in the early hours of the morning. So waking bub every three to four hours in the wee hours and during the night to feed takes advantage of this prime milk-making time.
10. Drink lactation shakes
Drink lactation shakes: One of the Mum’s Grapevine Baby Group members created her own milk-boosting shake recipe, and Carly Ann says it’s already working.
“I did this the other day. 30g whey, a teaspoon of hemp, a teaspoon of açai, a teaspoon brewers yeast, fenugreek capsule (opened to get the powder out), teaspoon flaxseed oil and some Milo shaken in cashew milk. It’s so yum and my pumping output has doubled since Sunday night when I started it. I have two a day.” – Carly Ann
11. Pump after breastfeeding
Medela Symphony Double Breast Pump ($59.95): The Royal Women’s Hospital explains that expressing after breastfeeding provides further stimulation to your breasts, and makes sure they’re well-drained, which helps increase breast milk supply.
“I only pumped in the beginning to get my supply up to scratch so that was a small amount 20 mins before I fed bub in the morning and then a bit before I fed bub for his night feed. Now I only pump if my hubby does a feed for me.” – Mel
12. Drink water
Drink water: When it comes to one of the easiest ways to ensure a good supply, drinking water is it. Queensland Health recommends “drinking to thirst”, which usually means more than two litres of water per day.
13. Eat fennel and fenugreek
Franjo’s Kitchen Lactation Crackers – Fennel and Fenugreek ($19.95): Fennel and fenugreek are also considered galactagogues, which are said to increase breast milk supply. These crackers are an easy way to get them into your diet, along with chia seeds, sunflower seeds, brewer’s yeast and flaxseeds.
14. Use skin to skin
Skin to skin: An easy and oh-so-snuggly way to try and get your milk flowing, holding baby skin-to-skin at the breast helps increase the release of hormones involved in milk production, according to the Royal Women’s Hospital.
15. Eat oats
Oats: So here’s how this one works. Oats are a good source of iron. Low iron levels or anemia can cause a decrease in milk supply, therefore eating something high in iron may help boost milk supply in some women.
“Oats work really well for me. Just a bowl of muesli or porridge. And lots of water.” – Kate
16. Use breast compression
Breast compression: This is a hands-on way to stimulate breasts into making more milk. Just gently squeeze the breast during breastfeeding so that pressure is put on the milk glands. This causes them to release more milk and increase flow, and it also helps with let-down.
Breastfeeding Support explains how to do breast compression in a few easy steps:
- Make sure bub is breastfeeding with a deep latch and in a good position.
- Wait until baby stops actively sucking and swallowing.
- Use your free hand to cut and squeeze the breast between the thumb and fingers (thumb at the top of the breast and fingers below) or you can press your breast against the chest wall.
- Keep your hand far enough away from the nipple and areola so bub’s latch isn’t disturbed, but close enough to you’re applying pressure to the milk glands. Make sure it’s not painful.
- Once milk is flowing again because of the breast compression, baby will start swallowing again. Keep the pressure on while bub is still sucking and swallowing, then release the pressure and rest your hand while baby pauses.
- Repeat the compressions until there’s no active swallowing.
17. Eat lactation muesli
Boobie Brekkie Golden Flax with Apple & Cranberry ($17.95): If you’re trying to boost milk supply why not eat something yummy while you’re at it? This muesli is packed with goodies like iron, zinc and Omega 3 Fatty acids, that support your own health while recovering from the rigours of giving birth and maintaining a healthy milk supply.
18. See a lactation consultant
See a lactation consultant: Correct latch and position play a role in baby feeding and in turn you producing milk. Make an appointment with a certified lactation consultant who’ll check that baby is latching correctly.
19. Get more sleep
Get more sleep: We know, it’s easier said than done, but it does have to be said. Sleep and rest play a big role in your body being able to produce breast milk. Even if it means taking an afternoon nap, going back to bed after the first feed or outsourcing some of the household duties for a while, it all helps.
“Sleep is what boosts milk supply. If you express first thing in the morning when they are full from the night’s sleep then it will be easier to express. Don’t worry about running out as it will still go on supply and demand.” – Tamara
20. Eat brewers yeast
Macro Organic Brewer’s Yeast Cookies Oats & Honey ($8): So many of the mums in the Mums Grapevine Baby Groups rave about these cookies. They’re packed with brewer’s yeast which is touted as a galactagogue (a food, herb or medication that increases milk supply).
“I’ve found eating the brewer’s yeast cookies from Woolies really help. And lots of water.” – Kaileigh Maree
21. Look into Domperidone
Domperidone: This is a prescription medication, so it’s something that you’ll need to chat to your doctor about. It’s usually used for nausea and vomiting, but is also prescribed for increasing breast milk supply. It’s not for everyone but is worth asking about if you’re really concerned about low milk supply.
“Domperidone! The only thing that worked. Saved my breastfeeding for both kids.” – Jessica
22. Drink malt milk
Nestle Malted Milk Drink ($9.50): An oldie but a goodie, this drink is something our grandmother’s used in our milkshakes when we were kids. Some mums in our baby groups say it’s given their supply a boost by adding it to their drinks.
“I didn’t expect it to work, to be honest. I had no idea how much good stuff is in it, it’s got like 25% daily recommend iron intake! I’m so drinking it during my next pregnancy.” – Jacinda
23. Try LSA
Macro Cereal LSA ($3.30): LSA stands for linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds, all things that are packed with protein and fibre.
“I found sprinkling LSA on things like yoghurt and cereal did the trick for me.” – Nikki
24. Make lactation cookies
Homemade Lactation Cookies: We’ve already chatted about purchasing pre-made lactation cookies, but some mums say eating warm, homemade lactation cookies was the trick to boosting their milk supply.
“Lactation cookies definitely. I found they work better when warm so would cook a batch eat five of them drink plenty of water and next morning BAM!” – Tam
25. Drink raspberry leaf tea
Mama Body Tea – Raspberry Leaf Blend ($16.95): So many mummas swear by drinking raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy, but it’s also thought to be helpful in after-birth recovery. It’s supposed to help balance hormones and improve energy levels.
“I have started drinking raspberry leaf tea now postpartum. Our chiropractor told us that it’s good for helping the uterus to contract and for milk supply too.” – Elizabeth
26. Try moist heat
Moist heat: Any excuse for a nice hot shower or bath, right? Moist heat is said to reduce inflammation and pain and stimulate circulation. It often helps with breastfeeding issues like clogged ducts and low milk supply, and it feels really soothing.
The rapid rise in body temperature increases circulation which stimulates faster let-down and increases milk flow.
27. Increase calories
Increase calories: Say what?! Ok, don’t get too excited, but here’s the upshot – breastfeeding mummas need an extra 500 calories a day. Not eating enough calories can impact milk supply, so just keep in mind that while you’re feeding baby, you need to feed yourself with nutritious food (and the odd pancake stack!).
“Upping my calorie intake. I was vegetarian and my milk was struggling, so I started eating meat again to get enough calories in. Also, pumped for 5-7 mins after each feed for 3-4 days.” – Margaret
28. Drink ginger beer
Ginger beer: Apparently the ginger is what’s linked to increased milk production, and there is some scientific evidence to back up the theory. There are further studies needed to see if ginger can be classified as a galactagogue.
“Non-alcoholic ginger beer with brewers yeast in it. I couldn’t stand the taste but it made my boobs go boom!” – Amanda
29. Drink Sustagen Hospital Formula
Sustagen Hospital Formula ($28.95): Packed full of minerals and vitamins, this high protein drink is designed to keep you strong and active. We’re not sure why it may help with milk supply, but anecdotally our mums say it does!
“Drinking Sustagen. I also did the lactation cookies and fenugreek but found my supply increased further and quicker when I started drinking Sustagen twice a day.” – Tia
30. Eat Anzac biscuits
Anzac biscuits: The goodness of oats that we spoke about earlier – just in cookie form. What’s not to love about trying this one? If you’re craving Anzacs right now, try our chewy or crunchy Anzac biscuit recipes.
“I swear by Anzac biscuits… the bakery ones from Coles or Woolies. I have like 3 or 4 per day and literally an hour or 2 after I have one, my boob’s start to feel full again. It’s a cheaper option than lactation biscuits.” – Kari
31. Eat avocado
Avocado: Need another excuse for smashed avo on toast? What about its apparently milk-boosting properties. Upping your intake of good fats is said to help with milk supply, and avocados are all about fatty goodness.
32. Feed in a baby carrier
Baby carrier feeding: There are a few reasons that feeding in a carrier helps with milk supply – including allowing baby to demand feed, having a more relaxed feeding position and skin contact. For more, read our lactation consultant’s guide to breastfeeding in a baby carrier.
33. Use essential oils
Essential oils: Hugely popular as a natural salve for so many ailments, lots of mums say using a roller filled with certain essential oils to boost their supply.
“Copiaba, geranium, clary sage, basil and fennel in a 10ml roller bottle – 10 drops of each topped up with fractionated coconut oil and apply to the whole breast and the lymph gland under your armpit. Only use for 10 days at a time (not that you’ll need to).” – Cindy
34. Practice meditation
Meditation: A 2017 study found that mums of babies in intensive care who listened to tapes of guided relation and imagery techniques produced more milk.
The researchers said from their studies there is evidence suggesting that relaxation therapy may be effective in significantly increasing milk yield that it may have beneficial effects on milk fat levels. Worth a try!
35. Try a famous Starbucks Pink Drink
Starbucks Pink Drink: It’s the drink that went viral, thanks to mum Laura Galvin revealing that she was suddenly producing so much breast milk because she’d been drinking the Pink Drink from Starbucks.
It’s a mixture of coconut milk and Starbucks’ Strawberry Acai Refreshers, with other mums claiming it worked for them. Apparently, this drink isn’t available in Australia – but it’s worth asking at your local Starbucks.
36. Try Ben & Jerry’s Oat Of This Swirled Ice Cream
Ben & Jerry’s Oat Of This Swirled Ice Cream: Another interesting one, which went viral after mums said it helped their milk supply. It does contain oats, which as we pointed out earlier are galactagogues, and we’ll take any excuse to eat ice-cream.
37. Avoid these herbs and spices
Avoid these herbs and spices: There are some herbs and spices that have been linked to decreasing milk supply. While they’re unlikely to cause issues if you’re just using a pinch in your cooking, the concern is around taking them therapeutically or having them in large amounts. (via Kelly Mom)
- Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
- Lemon Balm
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)/Menthol
- Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor)
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)
- Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
- Black Walnut
38. Give your breasts a massage
Breast massage: The Australians Breastfeeding Associations recommends trying breast massage to help with milk supply. “Stroke it towards the nipple on all sides as your baby feeds. Take care not to disturb the nipple in your baby’s mouth.”
39. Eat breastfeeding bliss balls
Baby Brain Chocolate Bliss Balls ($29.95): A chocolatey snack containing natural galactagogues, including brewer’s yeast, linseed and oats.
40. Make garlic milk drink
Garlic milk: Garlic is said to be a galactagogue, and apparently this is a delish way to up your intake!
Simple garlic milk recipe
Garlic (lehsun) milk
Garlic is believed to be an excellent galactagogue (stimulates lactation).
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of milk
- ½ tsp sugar or honey
- Finely grate the garlic cloves and boil them in the water until it’s reduced by about a quater.
- Add a glass of milk to the mixture and bring it to a boil.
- Turn the heat off and allow to cool a bit.
- Add honey and sugar. Strain and serve warm.
41. Keep up your supplements
Elevit Breastfeeding ($21.50): A continuation of the supplements most mums take during pregnancy, these work to help with the increased nutritional needs of a breastfeeding mum, including iron.
42. Try beer
Beer: Lots of mums in our Baby Groups chat about having an increase in supply after drinking beer, either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Perhaps it’s the yeast content, but this is one to check with your lactation consultant first.
“I’m struggling to increase my breast milk supply (currently mix feeding). I’m eating oats, drinking lots of water, taking brewers yeast tablets – tried fenugreek but it decreased my supply etc. Then I have a swig of my brother’s beer Friday arvo and my boobs were ready to burst by the next feed. Tried the same again Saturday and tonight and have had the same result.” – Bec
“For me, beer has boosted my supply in the past.” – Jaime
43. Take a probiotic
Life Space Probiotic for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding ($27.49): Again, while this product isn’t specifically targetted at increasing breast milk supply, it’s all about supporting mums who are nursing. It contains 15 strains of beneficial bacteria, formulated to support a healthy microbiome and general health and wellbeing.
44. Try power pumping
Power pumping: This is a technique used to try and stimulate more milk production, and mimics cluster feeding, which is what babies do to naturally increase our supply. According to The Milk Meg it involves:
- Pumping for 20 minutes.
- Rest for 10 minutes.
- Pump for 10 minutes.
- Rest for 10 minutes.
- Pump for 10 minutes.
This is meant to replace one regular pumping session and is done for two days straight.
45. Change positions
Change position: Sometimes simply changing the position bub is in while breastfeeding can help them drain milk better and therefore help supply. Consult a lactation consultant, and have a look at our breastfeeding position guide.
46. Drink mum formula
Oz Farm Mother Care Nutritional Formula ($31.95): Yep, it’s a formula for mums. Now, this isn’t marketed as something to boost milk supply, but more boost nutrition for breastfeeding mums with a heap of vitamins and nutrients.
47. Use a coconut oil rub
Oil Garden Fractionated Coconut Body Oil ($19.39): Working in conjunction with breast massage, mums in our groups say this mixture has worked for them.
“Fennel oil with fractionated coconut oil rubbed into the boobs (avoiding nipple and I wipe boobs before feeding). Can only use for 10 days at a time before having a break. I went from getting 20ml after a feed to 80-120 after a feed the next day!” – Kelly
48. Use a lactation massager
LaVie Lactation Massager ($59.95): This nifty gadget is all about improving milk flow and relieving pain caused by blocked ducts. It also professes to increase pumping output and empty the breast faster. It basically causes vibration of the breast to help with milk flow.
49. Drink lactation smoothies
Sweetie Pie Lactation Smoothie ($56.03 3pk): This smoothie is packed with ‘milk-boosting’ ingredients like fenugreek, flaxseed, omega3’s and more.
50. Stress less
Stress less: Ok, we get it, easier said than done. But stress levels are linked to the hormones in our body, which can impact the production of breast milk. Interestingly, breastfeeding naturally stimulates oxytocin production which has a calming effect.
So if you’re struggling with increasing your supply, try a mind over matter approach, take a few deep breaths and perhaps give a few of our ideas a go.
Read next …
We’ve got a treasure trove of helpful breastfeeding articles in our archives. Here’s just a snippet to get you started:
- 19 best breastfeeding teas
- 9 best breast pumps
- 9 best nipple shields
- Mastitis symptoms and how to manage them