Recently I have been receiving questions about how to boost milk supply naturally. As I have previously written about, I struggled with breastfeeding my son when he was born due to an upper lip tie that went undiagnosed until he was 3 months old. During those crucial first three months, I was breastfeeding him around the clock and supplementing him when needed with my sister-in-law's breastmilk and later with my own homemade goat milk formula. Once we finally discovered the lip tie and finally got it revised, my milk supply had dropped and was not enough to fill my little guy up. I felt devastated by this, and was willing to do whatever it took to boost my supply.
*Please note I am not a doctor, midwife, or nurse. I am just a mama who has done her research and has had success using the following methods. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new herbs, supplements or treatments.
9 Ways To Boost Your Milk Supply Naturally
1. Pumping - Pump after nursing until your breasts are completely empty, and then for an additional 5 minutes after the last drop of milk comes out. Milk supply is based on demand, so the more milk out, and the more stimulation to your breasts, the more milk you will produce.
2. Essential Oils - Essential oils can be a very effective, natural way to boost your milk supply.The two essential oils I recommend for boosting milk supply are Basil and Fennel. When used correctly, you may begin to notice an increase in supply within a day or two. You can discontinue use once your supply gets to where you'd like it to be.
*Basil - Apply 2-3 drops topically on your breasts after nursing (avoiding the nipple area) 3-4 times per day. If you have sensitive skin, I recommend diluting the basil oil with a couple of drops of a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil.
*Fennel - Take 2-3 drops of fennel essential oil internally 3-4 times a day to increase milk supply.
*Please note, I do NOT recommend taking just any brand of essential oil internally. If you choose to take an essential oil internally, be sure that it is a Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oil.) For my recommendation of the brand of essential oil I use and trust to take internally, click here. )
3. Water - Making sure you are well hydrated is important when it comes to milk supply. Drink at least 3-4 quarts of filtered water daily.
4. Eat Enough Calories - Aim to consume an additional 500 calories daily. When breastfeeding, your body is burning additional calories and therefor needs the extra fuel to continue to produce milk effectively.
5. Feed On Demand - Nursing on demand helps to stimulate your breasts which in turn signals your body to produce more milk.
6. Galactogogues - Eat plenty of milk boosting foods (known as galactagogues) such as oatmeal, quinoa, dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach and broccoli, fennel, garlic, chickpeas, almonds (preferably raw or soaked and sprouted), ginger, and certain spices such as turmeric, anise, and cumin can all help to boost supply so eat them often!
7. Take Extra Zinc - While you are breastfeeding, your daily zinc requirements are higher in order to meet the needs of your growing baby. The recommended daily amount of zinc for a breastfeeding mother is 12 milligrams a day. Nutrients in breastmilk are pulled from your own nutritional stores, so not getting enough essential nutrients can increase your risk of becoming deficient, especially in zinc and iron which can hurt your milk supply. Taking an additional zin supplement and/or eating foods high in zinc such as oysters, spinach, beef, kidney beans, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds will help to keep your zinc levels and you milk supply up.
8. Fenugreek - Taking Fenugreek daily has been shown to increase milk production in as little as 24-72 hours. It can be taken in capsule form, as a tea, a tincture, or as a powder that you can add to smoothies. I found the capsules to be easiest and most readily available. The recommended dosage is 7-14 500mg capsules daily. Ideally you want the level of Fenugreek to remain constant in your bloodstream, so I recommend starting with 2 capsules every 4 hours during the day, then working your way up to 4 capsules 4 times per day.
9. Avoid Milk Suppressants - Peppermint, sage, and wintergreen can all decrease your milk supply so avoid foods containing these ingredients, teas or tinctures made from them, as well as essential oils of peppermint, sage and wintergreen.