Frequent stimulation of the breasts, by breastfeeding or pumping during the first few days and weeks after birth, is very important to establish a good milk supply.

Try the following suggestions to increase your milk supply:

Empty breasts frequently

  • Breastfeed your baby more often, at least 8 or more times in 24 hours.
  • Offer both breasts at each feeding.
  • Massage breasts while baby is nursing.
  • Assure the baby is completely emptying your breasts at each feeding.
  • Avoid use of bottles without also expressing your milk to maintain supply.

Image of a breast pump.Use a Breast Pump

  • Pump eight or more times per day. Use a hospital-grade pump with a double kit. Ask your lactation consultant for help in obtaining a pump.
  • Pumping will usually take about 15-20 minutes. Pump for two minutes after your milk stops flowing to build a good milk supply.
  • Hand express some drops of breast milk before and after pumping to start the flow of milk and fully drain the breast when pumping. View video: Hand Expression of Breast Milk: Exactly How to Perform This Technique, by Sarah Trinajstich.
  • Pump both breasts at the same time to increase milk supply and save time.
  • Ensure proper fit of pump flange. Meet with lactation staff if you need help.
  • Some mothers find it helpful to keep a written log of time spent pumping and volume of pumped milk. Talk to your lactation consultant about what your milk volumes should be in 24 hours.
  • Avoid long times (more than five hours) between pumping sessions.

Help Your Let-Down Reflex

Tips to increase breast milk supply.

  • Listen to relaxing music. This can help milk supply and fat content of milk.
  • Look at a picture of your baby or have a piece of your baby’s clothing or blanket that has your baby’s scent on it close by, or pump where you can see your baby.
  • Hold your baby skin to skin and pump right after. This lowers the stress for both you and your baby and can increase milk supply.
  • Apply warmth to your breasts and use breast massage before and during pumping to increase milk production and the calories in your milk. View video: Maximizing Milk Production with Hands-On Pumping. How to Use Your Hands When You Pump, by Dr. Jane Morton.
  • Use a hands-free pumping bra to free your hands to perform breast massage while pumping to maximize your milk supply.

Self-Care

  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with a variety of foods. Keep a water bottle with you and drink plenty of water.
  • Some medicines can affect milk supply. Check with your doctor before taking any medicines or galactogogues (medicines or herbs to increase milk supply).
  • Use relaxation or do slow, deep, relaxed breathing and relax your shoulders. Get a back massage.
  • Reduce stress and activity as possible, get help from friends, family or your community.
  • Limit alcohol, caffeine and smoking. Avoid severe weight loss diets.

With time and effort you will likely see an improvement within a few days. Your baby will be glad you did! Check with your doctor for any medical concerns.