HomeHealth articlesbreast milkHow to Increase Breast Milk Production?

Methods to Increase Breast Milk Production

Verified dataVerified data
Default Banner

4 min read


Several measures can help mothers in increasing their breast milk production. Find out the correct way to breastfeed through this article.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richa Agarwal

Published At September 19, 2022
Reviewed AtJune 12, 2023


Breastfeeding is crucial for infants' growth and development. It fulfills their nutritional needs and creates an emotional dependency of the newborn on the mother. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for newborns for at least six months. There is no known substitute for breast milk despite research on making various formula milk. It is of utmost importance to develop a smooth bonding between the mother and the newborn to build prolonged breastfeeding. Maintaining a close association with the newborn can help to promote breastfeeding.

How Can We Increase Breast Milk Production?

Breast milk is a biological fluid secreted by the mammary gland. The secretion is regulated by the hormones of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Oxytocin and prolactin are the main hormones responsible for breast milk production. The first milk secreted by the breast contains colostrum which protects the newborns from infections and helps in building the immune response. The milk composition keeps on changing as per the child's needs during the initial days after postpartum. The sucking ability of the baby and emptying of the breast are the main factors regulating the milk flow. There are numerous ways to increase milk supply naturally.

Some of them are;

  • Practicing a Good Latch: The baby's attachment to the mother's breast is called a breastfeeding latch. Establishing a good latch is essential to promote sucking and a regular milk supply. You may try all the latch positions to determine the most comfortable position for you and your baby.

  • Massage of the Breast: Massaging the breast before, after, and sometimes in between the feed boosts the milk volume and can help a mother to develop a proper milk flow.

  • Breastfeed Often: When your baby sucks your nipples while breastfeeding, it triggers the hormones responsible for breast milk production. This is called the "letting down reflex," which contracts your breast muscles and establishes proper milk flow through the ducts of your mammary gland. Hence when you feed more, you produce more milk.

  • Maintaining a Skin-To-Skin Touch With Your Baby: An emotional bond develops when you live in close association with your baby. Your baby desires to breastfeed often, which ultimately promotes milk supply.

  • Removing the Extra Milk After Breastfeeding: You should extract the extra remaining milk from the breast after completing the breastfeeding. This helps to clear the duct and maintains a smooth flow of milk.

  • Warm Compression Application: Applying warm compression to the breast before breastfeeding could be helpful for many mothers suffering from low milk supply.

  • Using Both Breasts for Feeding: It is essential to use both breasts for breastfeeding to maintain a gradual milk flow in both breasts.

  • Medication: A lactating mother should take any medication during their breastfeeding period under the supervision of her doctor as it can interfere with the milk supply and may even have ill effects on the infant's health.

  • Nutritional Diet: All lactating mothers need to develop a habit of eating high dietary food and drinking lots of water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a well-nourished mother needs an additional 330 calories to 400 calories per day, and the overall calorie intake should be 2,000 calories to 2,800 calories per day.

Is There Any Food That Can Support Breast Milk Production?

Some studies on the food habit of lactating mothers suggest that consumption of certain foods can promote milk production and supply in the ducts of the mammary gland. These foods are;

  • Fenugreek seeds.

  • Spinach.

  • Fennel.

  • Oats.

  • Brewer's yeast.

A mother must eat a balanced diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding as; "A healthy mother can make a healthy child."

What Are the Signs of Low Breast Milk Production?

Usually, a mother produces enough milk to meet the nutritional needs of their infants. The lactation period is a troublesome period for most mothers all across the globe. Almost all mothers worry about their way of breastfeeding, the amount of milk secretion, and nutrition for their newborn. The secretion is low during the postpartum period when you are undergoing physiological changes. This is the time when you and your babies are adapting to breastfeeding.

Some signs can be mistaken for low milk supply these include;

  • Babies desire breastfeeding often.

  • The baby is waking up for milk.

  • The baby feeds for a shorter time.

  • The baby is not pooping regularly.

  • Your breast is becoming soft, without engorgement.

However, there are some symptoms indicative of low milk supply; they are:

  • Your baby is not showing weight gain.

  • Your baby is not using enough diapers as breastfeeding babies poop more than those babies dependent on formula milk.

  • Your baby shows signs of dehydration like low urine formation, crying without tears, and a prolonged sleeping period.

What Causes a Low Milk Supply?

Numerous factors affect the mother's ability to produce milk production. Some commonly known causes are:

  • You Cannot Develop a Good Latch: A mother should take support from a lactation counselor to learn the correct latching techniques and position for breastfeeding.

  • Dependency on Formula Milk: If you are feeding your baby more with formula milk and breastfeeding your baby less, you will have low milk production, leading to early breastfeeding cessation.

  • Early Weaning: Weaning is the phase when a newborn is first introduced to solids. If you approach early weaning for your baby, you will have decreased milk production.

  • Smoking: A mother with smoking and drinking habits will produce less milk.

  • Lactation Mastitis: Lactation mastitis is the breast inflammation that affects breast milk formation.

  • Certain Medications: A hormonal medicine and oral contraceptives containing estrogen cause a decrease in milk supply. Some other causes are a history of breast surgery, premature birth, and pregnancy-induced blood pressure are known to affect breast milk formation.


Early initiation of breastfeeding may save newborns from catching infections. Breastfeeding is beneficial for both mothers and infants for the initial six months, and you may continue breastfeeding till the mother and baby desire. The baby's ability to empty the breast regulates the volume of breast milk production. Some emotional instability of mothers like stress, anxiety, and pain may also affect breast milk. A lactation counselor or breastfeeding specialist may help a mother educate on the correct positioning and latching.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Factors Stimulate More Breast Milk?

Methods to stimulate more breast milk:
 - Practicing a good latch.
 - Gently breast massage.
 - Breastfeeding often.
 - Maintain a skin-to-skin touch with the baby.
 - Removing extra milk after breastfeeding.
 - Warm compression on the breasts.
 - Using both breasts.
 - Medication.
 - Nutritional diet.


What Foods Help in Increased Breast Milk Production?

The following foods help in increasing breast milk production:
 - Fenugreek seeds.
 - Spinach.
 - Fennel.
 - Oats.
 - Brewers yeast.


How Often Do Breasts Refill?

It takes 20 to 30 minutes to refill to an adequate flow and approximately one hour for a peak flow. In addition, the breasts are never completely empty. The feeling of emptiness is caused by reduced milk flow.


What Factors Cause a Low Milk Supply?

The following factors cause low milk supply:
 - Absence of a good latch.
 - Dependency on formula milk.
 - Early weaning.
 - Smoking.
 - Lactation mastitis.
 - Certain medications.


What Are Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding?

The following foods should be avoided while breastfeeding:
 - Fish with high mercury content.
 - Herbal supplements.
 - Caffeine.
 - Highly processed foods.
 - Highly flavored food items.


Do Soft Breasts Indicate a Low Milk Supply?

Soft breasts are not an indication of a low milk supply. Other reasons may include when milk production shrinks and they are replaced by fat. Menopause can also lead to soft breasts. This helps in the easier detection of lumps.


What Are the Factors That Affect Breast Milk Production?

The factors include the following:
 - Waiting too long to start breastfeeding.
 - Premature birth.
 - Maternal obesity.
 - Pregnancy induces high blood pressure.
 - Insulin-dependent diabetes.


Is It Advised to Drink Milk While Breastfeeding?

A breastfeeding mother should have a balanced diet. There is no specification for special foods nor the need to avoid a particular food. But it is advised that the mother opts for a protein-rich diet or a diet with variety.


How to Know if Breastmilk Is Enough?

The baby’s cheeks stay rounded, not hollow, during sucking. The baby will be calm and relaxed during feeding. The baby will come off the breast on its own, and the mouth will be moist. Exclusive breastfeeding is advised for up to six months.


Does Pumping Decrease Milk Supply?

Milk supply is dependent on the frequency of nursing and pumping the breasts. The more the mother breastfeeds or pumps, the more milk the body makes. But some mothers may find that their nipples become sore or irritated.


Does Feeding for 10 Minutes Enough for a Newborn?

Newborns, in the beginning, take 20 to 45 minutes for one breastfeeding session. But these time intervals vary because of the sleeping time. Breastfeeding should be practiced for six months.


What Causes a Low Milk Supply at Night?

When there are no feedings overnight, the milk supply tends to lower. The level of prolactin is also higher at night. The body may produce low or reduced milk when the prolactin levels decrease
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Richa Agarwal
Dr. Richa Agarwal

Obstetrics and Gynecology

iCliniq's FREE Newsletters

Expert-backed health and wellness information, delivered to your email.

Subscribe iCliniq
By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the iCliniq Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of iCliniq subscriptions at any time.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Do you have a question on

breast milk

Ask a Wellness Expert online

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: Wellness medicine is not aimed to replace the services of your treating physician or allopathy medicines. Our site's information is to those who are willing to take responsibility for their health, being fully aware that the content published herein would not qualify as a prescription or specific medical advice. If users use the information and stop prescribed medication without their physician's consent, they bear full responsibility for their actions, and iCliniq-Wellness bears no responsibility for the same. Information on Wellness medicine should not be misinterpreted as a cure for any illness, as our body is complex and everyone reacts differently.