How to Produce More Milk while Breastfeeding

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Feeling like you’re not producing enough breastmilk is stressful. As mothers, we will try just about anything to provide for our children. But some efforts are more futile than others. Today we’re sharing with you some evidence-based methods that work on how to produce more milk.

When it comes to producing more breast milk, there are few very certain ways to increase your milk supply.

The most common recommendations focus on milk removal. But there are also foods that promote milk production that can be added to your diet to help.

Milk removal from the breast triggers the body to make more breastmilk.

This is where the term “supply and demand” comes into play.

The more “demand” on your body, the more your body will “supply”.

Keep in mind that an increase in milk supply happens only after a pattern of supply and demand is established. One extra feed or pump session is unlikely to make an impact. A repeated pattern, however, of extra feedings or pump sessions will increase your supply after several days. 

Whether your milk supply is low, or you just need to produce more milk for your freezer stash, the tips below will have you making more milk for your baby in no time.

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Top 10 Ways to Produce More Milk when Breastfeeding

Here are some of the top way to make more breast milk. It can be challenging testing and experimenting to see which method works best for you. Give your self lots of grace, be patient and take it day by day.

This Pump It Up Breastfeeding Course by a certified lactation counselor has a bunch of valuable takeaways for maximizing out put. Definitely take a look if you are struggling with low milk production.

1 – Hand Expression

Using your hands to express milk is an excellent way to stimulate your body to produce more milk. With hand expression, you can help empty areas of the breast that were not emptied during a breastfeeding or pumping session.

How to hand express breast milk:

  1. Make a C-shape with one hand. If you are going to express your right breast, use your right hand. If expressing your left breast, use your left hand.
  2. Place your C-shape hand onto the breast with the thumb and forefinger lying just outside the areola, or approximately 1 inch away from the nipple. Imagine your breast as a clock. The nipple represents the center of the clock. The thumb should sit at 12 o’clock and the forefinger at 6 o’clock.
  3. Once your hand is in the correct place, apply pressure to your breast tissue by pushing your hand into your breast towards your chest wall.
  4. Then, squeeze your fingers and thumb together, behind the nipple.
  5. Try not to pull the breast/nipple forward as you squeeze. Keep the pressure of your hand against your chest wall.

2 – Pumping after Breastfeeding

Pumping after breastfeeding is a great way to increase milk supply because it creates additional demand for milk. This is particularly helpful for sleepy infants who do not empty the breast well.

If you are exclusively pumping, adding an additional pump session into your routine will increase demand and, in time, increase your milk supply.

An additional 15-minute pump session provides enough hormonal stimulation to signal your body to produce more milk.

It is more beneficial to pump more frequently than to pump for longer periods of time. For best results, pump both breasts at the same time.

3 – Power Pumping

This is a method that can be used once or twice a day in addition to your current breastfeeding or pumping routine. A power pump session takes approximately 1 hour and creates significant demand for milk. The process mimics cluster feeding at the breast.

Here’s how to power pump:

Pump for 20 minutes. Break for 10 minutes.

Pump for 10 minutes. Break for 10 minutes

Pump for 10 minutes. 

You can change the intervals of time depending on your comfort and flexibility. But pay attention to the frequency of let-downs. You will want to take advantage of a milk let-down. If you experience a let-down every 7 minutes, try to get two let-downs in before you take a rest break. 

Also, pump both breasts at the same time if you are trying to increase milk supply as it sends a stronger milk signal to your brain.

4 – Hands on Pumping

Combining hand expression while pumping increases milk flow and makes significant impact to increase your milk supply.

For this method, a hands-free pumping bra makes all the difference.

While you pump, use your hands to massage and compress your breasts. You can use both hands on a single breast or massage both breasts at the same time. The combination of compression from your hands and suction from the pump mimics a newborn’s suck and removes milk more efficiently. 

5 – Haakaa

Using a haakaa, or silicone pump, on one breast while the baby is feeding on the other is an excellent way to increase milk supply and store extra milk at the same time.

Silicone pumps provide a consistent sucking or pulling action rather than a pumping action. The advantage of these pumps it that they are manual but do not require you to “pump” them. 

6 – Massager

Use a lactation massager before and during feeding and pumping sessions to promote the release of milk. It can also help release milk from clogged milk ducts. 

Lactation massage is also really helpful if you have mastitis to help relieve the pain and discomfort.

7 – Heat Application

The application of heat before and during feedings helps to open capillaries and milk ducts and promote milk flow. Reusable Breast Warmers like these are so helpful.

8 – Photos/Videos

If you are pumping away from your home or child, try looking at videos and photos while pumping. The emotional response to photos and videos helps stimulate the release of oxytocin.

Oxytocin and prolactin hormones work alongside each other to positively influence milk supply. 

9 – Galactagogues

Galactagogues are foods, herbs, and other supplements that promote milk supply. There are a wide variety of options to try, but moms have varying degrees of successful outcomes.

If you are interested in learning more about galactagogues, check out our article on best foods to increase milk supply.

Want to boost milk supply the easy way? You have to try this protein powder I’m loving called Milk Dust. It’s the only protein powder designed specifically for breastfeeding moms to help curb sugar cravings, boost nutrients and help you make more milk. The best part is it’s dairy free, gluten free, plant based and GMO free!

10 – Food and Nutrition

A breastfeeding mom burns approximately 500 extra calories each day producing a full milk supply.

Although you will continue to make breastmilk if you don’t replace those calories, a calorie deficit will leave you feeling run down mentally and physically.

Breastfeeding diet does matter.

It will be difficult to maintain a positive attitude and work towards increasing your supply if you are not eating and drinking enough.

To learn more about food and nutrition for milk production, check out our top articles here:

The Easy Way to Produce More Breast Milk

Perhaps the easiest method I have found to produce more breast milk after breastfeeding 5 babies over 15 years (AND trying ALL the things) is to drink a protein shake while breastfeeding.

Of all the methods above this provides the quickest results.

Read all about my comparison of the best lactation protein powder so you can choose the right one for you.

Whether you try one or all the above methods, know that your efforts are meaningful. Your baby loves you. Stay strong Mama!

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More Breastfeeding Resources

Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding

Foods that Decrease Breast Milk Supply

Best Breastfeeding Tips for Beginners

Guide – Preparing to Breastfeed Essential Tips

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