It is common for new mothers to wonder whether they are
Even if you are pumping or expressing by hand, provide
making enough milk for their baby. You want to make sure
opportunities for your baby to be near the breast. Milk-
that your baby is getting what they need. There are easy
producing hormones in your body are stimulated by your
ways to make sure your milk supply is keeping up with your
baby’s smel , touch and cry. Even gazing at your baby can
growing baby. Women’s bodies were made to make al the
help improve milk levels. Increasing contact with your baby
milk their baby requires to grow and be healthy. . Only in
will also signal this response. Holding your baby helps make
rare cases is a woman truly unable to breastfeed her baby.
Some key factors can help you to have a bountiful milk
Check that your baby is positioned and latching correctly to
maximize nursing—no amount of stimulation will increase
milk supply if your baby is not latching correctly and expressing the milk! With a correct latch, you will minimize
Milk production is about supply and demand. Your body
makes milk based on how much your baby nurses or how much you express. When milk is removed, it stimulates
Consult a breastfeeding specialist if you continue to have
nursing difficulties or concerns. They can assess latch, determine how much milk you’re producing, and suggest a
How do you know that you’re making enough milk? Here
variety of approaches to improve your breastfeeding
• Your baby is gaining weight at the expected rate
Breast massage prior to and during feeding or pumping has
(see link to WHO Growth Chart on next page)
also been shown to increase milk production.
• Your baby is wetting and soiling the expected
• Gently massage the breast using a circular motion,
moving from the outside of the breast inwards
Your baby is satisfied after or between feeding
Ability to hear your baby swallowing while at the
• Try a warm wash cloth or small towel soaked in
Breasts feeling full before a feeding and less full
If you or your doctor is concerned about your milk supply:
Make sure baby receives a minimum of 8 feeds daily.
One of the best things you can do is to continue
Organize your schedule to include times to nurse.
breastfeeding or pumping to stimulate milk production.
Breastfeeding during stressful times has been shown to
Consider increasing the number of times you breastfeed or
reduce stress for both mother and child, though it can slow
pump per day. Make sure that you breastfeed or pump at
the milk letdown. Breathe and enjoy holding your baby.
night. Newborn infants breastfeed, on average, every 2 to 3 hours, or 8 or more times every 24 hours but it is okay if
they want to be near you and nurse more.
Grains such as oats, barley, and whole grain rice are recommended. Eat lots of green, leafy vegetables and try to add more vegetables to every meal. Adequate hydration is important, so drink plenty of water!
Several formulations of tea are available commercially which contain a mixture of herbs that are known to help increase milk production. Most of these herbs have the added benefit of soothing your baby’s stomach too.
• Blessed Thistle is a galactogenic herb, meaning it stimulates milk production. This herb can be made as a tea,
• Fenugreek is another galactogenic herb for stimulating milk production. It can be taken as a tea, tincture, or
capsule. However, people with allergies should use this herb with caution. It has caused breathing difficulties and hay fever like symptoms in people who are allergy prone.
• Milk Thistle is another herbal medicine found to have milk stimulating properties. It is most often taken in
• Other commonly used herbs that are either milk producing or very nutritive and tonifying to the
breastfeeding mother include Alfalfa, Chasteberry (Vitex), Fennel, Goat’s Rue, Hops, Raspberry, Stinging Nettle and Shatavari.
• I recommend avoiding large quantities of Parsley, Sage and Peppermint as these can decrease milk supply.
World Health Organization (WHO) Growth Charts
Dr. Lauren Spieler, DO is an Osteopathic Family Physician, Clinical Herbalist, and Clinical Lactation Educator in Sonoma County, California. She is a member of the Native Breastfeeding Council.
These handouts and information may be copied and distributed on the condition that the Native Breastfeeding
Council is credited and that it is not used in ANY context that violates the WHO
International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (1981) and subsequent World Health Assembly
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