5 Natural tips to boost milk supply when you’re breastfeeding

Nov 12, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Image: Blend Images - Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

It’s a question nearly every breastfeeding mom asks: Am I producing enough milk? The reality is that the majority of moms produce the perfect amount.

But if your doctor has suggested upping your supply or your baby seems to be insatiable, it never hurts to have a few tricks in the bag to boost your milk supply. Here are some natural tips that can help: 

Natural Tips to Boost Breast Milk Supply
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

1. Skin to skin.

Amy Mager, a certified lactation consultant, stresses the importance of letting your baby spend time on you (or your partner) when Baby is naked and parent is shirtless. “The more skin-to-skin contact, the more babies nurse — in a Moby wrap, under a shirt, with a blanket over babe resting,” Mager explains.

More: Breastfeeding moms stop traffic in stunning photograph

2. Pay attention to Baby.

Learning to read the signs of your baby’s hunger can be key. Mager explains, “Every time you respond to a feeding cue — hand to mouth, pecking on your chest like a bird, turning the head and looking for breasts that might be floating by — this is a feeding cue not to miss. When we catch them, babies get fed before they are starving, are reminded that we respond to them AND give your breasts stimulation.”

3. The more stimulation your breasts get, the more milk you will make.

Nurse frequently! The more milk you “remove” from your breast, the more milk will be produced. Also, try to offer both sides at each feeding.

More: 12 Things not to say to an extended breastfeeding mom

4. Get a good latch.

You want each nursing session to be as productive as possible, so that your breasts are emptying during feeding in order to fill back up again. “When Baby is not latched on effectively, take Baby off,” Mager says. “Talk to Baby. In a high-pitched voice, ask Baby to ‘Open.’ Remember, the dentist doesn't say ‘don't close,’ she reminds us to open.”

5. Be patient.

It can be frustrating to feel like your milk supply is going down, but stressing out over it might make it worse. Practice self-care and be kind to yourself. Eat well, drink plenty of water, and make sure to get enough sleep when you can. If you need to, you can hand express or pump in between feedings, but remember that you never produce as much milk while pumping as you do while breastfeeding.

More: Why you should breastfeed your toddler

The best way to know if your baby is getting enough milk is to be aware of the amount of wet/dirty diapers she produces daily. It’s one of the best indicators of how much she’s consuming. If you’re still concerned about your milk supply, make an appointment to see your doctor or local lactation consultant.