How To Increase Breast Milk Naturally at Home

There are many natural ways to boost milk supply from the comfort of home.

As a new breastfeeding mama, nothing feels better than knowing your body is making the perfect food for your precious little one. But sometimes, despite your best efforts, your milk supply doesn’t seem to meet your baby’s demands.

Don’t worry! There are plenty of natural ways to increase your breast milk right from the comfort of your home.

This article will explore natural techniques you can use right in your own home to increase milk production. By incorporating lactogenic foods and herbs into your diet, simple lifestyle habits, and optimizing nursing and/or pumping schedules, you can help your breasts make more of that liquid gold.

Plus, we've all heard about lactation cookies, teas, and lactation supplements... but do they really work?

Read on to learn the most effective natural techniques and remedies for increasing breast milk supply. Plus, find answers to common questions I hear daily as a lactation counselor. So grab your nursing pillow and get ready to dive in! You’ve got this!

How Breast Milk Supply Works

To understand how to increase breast milk supply, it first helps to understand how it’s made. There are two key hormones:

  • Prolactin - Produced by the pituitary gland; stimulates milk synthesis

  • Oxytocin - Released by the pituitary gland; causes milk ejection

Prolactin levels rise during pregnancy and signal the mammary glands to start preparing for lactation. After birth, prolactin is triggered by baby’s suckling, sending a message to make more milk.

Oxytocin causes let-downs by contracting the muscles around the milk glands to squeeze milk through the ducts. It also promotes bonding between mama and baby.

The key is keeping prolactin and oxytocin high by nursing often and incorporating natural lactogenic foods and herbs.

Now that you know the science, let’s look at the most effective natural ways to increase levels of these hormones and tell your breasts it’s time to make more milk!

Assessing proper latch and nursing techniques is the first step to increasing milk supply.

Start With Assessing Latch and Nursing Techniques

Before trying to increase supply, let's first address any underlying latch or nursing problems. Here's how:

  • Painful breastfeeding - Breastfeeding should not be painful. If you are experiencing pain during breastfeeding, it may be a sign that your baby is not latching correctly.

  • Get help from a lactation specialist - They can observe a feeding and troubleshoot any anatomical issues impeding latch, transfer, or production.

  • Try laid-back nursing - Sometimes your milk flow is too strong for your baby, and this position allows for baby to control the flow. Signs that this may be an issue are baby being fussy at the breast or trying to pull away.

  • Watch for swallowing - Listen for audible swallowing. This means milk is transferring well. Clicking-like sucking indicates a poor latch.

  • Assess nipple shape after nursing - Your nipple should remain round and not become creased or compressed, which impedes milk transfer.

Solving any underlying nursing problems paves the way for the tips ahead to work their magic.

Nurse Early And Often - It's All About Removing Milk

Remember supply and demand? The key is frequent nursing to signal more production. Here are some ways to optimize nursing:

  • Offer both sides - Alternate breasts and drain each one to trigger more milk.

  • Let baby nurse longer - Nursing longer, not limiting time, helps drain breasts fully.

  • Avoid scheduled feeds - Nurse on demand based on hunger cues, not by the clock.

  • Night nurse often - Evening nursing is key as prolactin levels peak overnight.

The more milk you remove, the more your breasts will replace it.

Certain foods like oats, smoothies and herbs can help increase breast milk production.

The Lactation Diet: Natural Foods, Smoothies, and Herbs to Enhance Supply

One of the most powerful, yet enjoyable ways to further increase your milk supply is by adding milk-boosting foods and herbs to your diet. Here are some of my top choices:

Lactogenic Foods

Oats – A classic galactagogue, oats are rich in iron, protein, fiber, and phytoestrogens to enhance prolactin. They also contain a high amount of beta-glucans, a polysaccharide known to increase prolactin, the breastfeeding hormone.

Barley - This grain is a key food in lactation for two reasons. First, for its tryptophan content. Tryptophan supports serotonin, our 'feel-good' neurotransmitter, which aids lactation by countering dopamine. Dopamine can suppress prolactin, which is needed for milk production. Secondly, it’s one of the richest sources of beta-glucan, which can boost milk production by increasing prolactin.

Brewer’s yeast - It’s been used as a nutritional supplement for generations and has always been recommended as a milk booster. Brewer's yeast is high in iron, selenium, chromium, protein, and B vitamins while stimulating milk production.

Moringa - Rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and all 9 essential amino acids. Studies have found moringa helps to increase breast milk volume.

Leafy Greens – Rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A, and C. These nutrients can support milk production and overall lactation.

Flax Seeds - Flax seeds contain phytoestrogens that can influence breast milk production and also contain essential fatty acids.

Nuts - A good source of healthy fats, proteins, and calcium. These are essential nutrients for milk production and help maintain a healthy milk supply.

Smoothies with oats, brewer's yeast, moringa and fruits can support milk supply.

Lactation Smoothies

When energy is low, but baby's hunger is high, smoothies are fast liquid fuel. Blend in ingredients like:

  • Oats - Complex carbs provide lasting energy.

  • Brewer's yeast - Used to stimulate prolactin.

  • Moringa - Boosts your supply and enriches nutrition.

  • Flaxseed - Omega-3s for milk production and nourishment.

  • Banana - Filling potassium and prebiotics to aid digestion.

  • Greens powder - Phytonutrients, chlorophyll, and vitamins.

  • Coconut milk - Healthy fats for richness and creaminess.

Smoothies help hydrate, nourish, stimulate supply, and satisfy when you need convenience.

Lactogenic foods can improve milk supply due to their nutrient content and potential hormonal effects. They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and phytoestrogens that support lactation and stimulate milk production.

Herbs like fenugreek, fennel, and milk thistle can increase breast milk.

Herbal Galactagogues for Lactation

In addition to food-based galactagogues, herbal lactation supplements have been used for centuries around the world to increase milk supply naturally. Some top choices include:

Fenugreek – One of the oldest, and most used herbal supplements for lactation. Fenugreek is thought to increase both oxytocin and prolactin levels.

However, there have been reports from women who take fenugreek that it causes their babies to experience painful gas, which can cause colic. It also may pass through the breast milk and affect the baby.

Fenugreek should also be avoided if you have thyroid issues or monitor your blood sugar. Fenugreek is also part of the legume family, so if you have allergies to legumes or chickpeas, it's best to avoid fenugreek.

Blessed Thistle – Believed to have galactagogue effects by stimulating prolactin and oxytocin production. Blessed thistle enhances digestion too!

Nettle – Supports lactation by providing a vast amount of nutrients and is high in vitamins/minerals, including all 9 essential amino acids to help increase supply. Nettle can also help make breastfeeding more comfortable and can act as a mild diuretic.

Shatavari - It's loaded with folic acid, vitamins A, C, and K, and phytoestrogens to support milk production. Shatavari also contains tryptophan, which is known to stimulate prolactin production.

Fennel - This herb has a mild licorice flavor and has relaxing effects, in addition to stimulating milk flow. It's safe to consume in food-based amounts. Fennel may cause digestive distress in some, so go slow and gauge carefully what works for you.

These herbs can be taken as capsules, teas, tinctures, or powders mixed into foods/drinks. Effects are often noticed in 3-7 days, but can take 2 weeks. Start slowly and watch your baby for any changes like fussiness or rash. Combining herbs with lactogenic foods may provide you with the best results.

Your Nourishment Matters Too!

Making milk requires about 300-600 extra calories per day and plenty of nutrients to support your journey. Focus on a balanced diet with whole foods. Treat yourself to lactation cookies and smoothies too! And don't forget to take a prenatal vitamin to cover any gaps.

It's important that you don't skimp on nourishment for yourself, and not for the reason you think!

Yes, nutrition is important to support your ever flowing and growing milk supply, but what you consume is supporting your daily energy needs. If you're not getting enough nutrition, you won't have the energy to care for your little one and this may even may impact your desire to feed as frequently as needed for your milk supply.

Everyday Habits to Naturally Boost Your Milk Supply

In addition to diet and herbs, certain lifestyle modifications can help shift your milk supply for optimal production. Below are some of the top lifestyle habits that you can start using right away.

Nurse On-Demand

Allow baby to nurse whenever they are showing early hunger cues during both the day and night. Night nursing is especially key for keeping prolactin elevated, as this is when you can boost supply, as your natural prolactin is the highest in the middle of the night.

Power Pumping

Try adding a power pumping session 1-2x daily. This can look like pumping for 20 minutes, resting 10 minutes, pumping for 10 minutes more, resting 10 minutes, and then pumping for 10 more minutes. (This mimics cluster feeding to increase supply.)

Optimize Pumping

There are a few things you can do to optimize your pumping.

  1. Ensure that you're using the proper flange size. The flange(s) that comes with your breast pump may not be the correct size for you. Using the incorrect size will result in inefficient, and often painful, milk removal.

  2. Double pumping or pumping both breasts at the same time.

  3. Massaging your breasts while you pump. This will aid in milk flow and removal efficiency.

Staying Hydrated

Breast milk is about 87% water, so hydration is crucial. The amount of water you should drink while breastfeeding can vary depending on individual factors. However, as a nursing mother, it is generally recommended to drink about a gallon of water every day (128 oz.).

Water is best, but coconut water, herbal tea, and fruit-infused water will also keep you hydrated. Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol, as these have diuretic effects and can deplete your hydration.

Drink to thirst. Too much water has the potential to diminish your breast milk production.

Breast Massage/Compression

Many lactation experts recommend breast massage as a natural way to increase milk ejections and enhance milk removal. Massage is encouraged before nursing and when pumping and/or nursing your little one. Try rolling your knuckles along your breast toward the nipple, and then pressing behind the nipple and back towards your chest.


Skin-to-skin has so many benefits for mother and baby. When our baby is close to us, they can smell and feel your skin, making them more likely to seek out your breasts. This helps improve our milk supply and increase oxytocin levels, which is responsible for milk letdown and milk production. Skin-to-skin contact can also help reduce stress in both you and your baby, which can lead to a more successful breastfeeding experience.

Rest and Destress

I know as a new mother, it can be difficult to get extra rest or as much help as we need. But try utilizing warm baths, meditation, or deep breathing. This can go a long way in bringing you to a relaxed state and help to lower cortisol in the body. Your oxytocin flow is sensitive to emotions and stress. You'll most likely notice this the most with your let downs. Being mindful of your thoughts, feelings and environment are a big help in boosting and maintaining your milk supply.

This greens powder contains galactagogues to support breast milk production.

Superfoods for Motherhood: A Greens Drink Designed for Lactation

While a healthy whole foods diet, targeted herbs, and mindful nursing/pumping form the foundation of increasing your supply, specialized lactation supplements can also boost your milk supply.

Superfoods for Motherhood is an organic greens powder formulated specifically with the breastfeeding mama in mind. Each serving includes galactagogues from natural, whole food ingredients specially chosen to optimize and sustain a robust milk supply.

Superfoods for Motherhood sets itself apart from other options on the market by focusing exclusively on real foods vs. synthetic vitamins/minerals. The main ingredients include:

Cold-Press Barley Grass Juice Powder – An ultra-pure, nutrient-dense form of barley grass that contains key nutrients that directly support breast milk production, like beta-glucans, vitamin B12, iron, and magnesium. Barley grass is considered one of the most potent natural galactagogues.

Sunflower Lecithin – Helps prevent the fat from sticking together in your breast milk and prevent clogged milk ducts, making it easier for the milk to flow freely. It's a rich source of phosphatidylcholine that boosts your breast milk by enhancing it with choline, helping your baby's brain development.

Oat Bran – Oats are a time-honored lactation-boosting food. They contain phytoestrogens and beta-glucans, both of which promote prolactin production.

The greens blend is also packed with natural folate that plays a significant role in your little one's development. But that's not all! Superfoods for Motherhood is enriched with plant-based digestive enzymes, acting as a natural remedy to soothe common infant discomforts such as colic, gas, and bloating.

Superfoods for Motherhood offers the nutritive power of plants to help you reach your breastfeeding goals. With minimal sweeteners and a pleasant taste, it provides an easy way to incorporate proven milk-boosting ingredients into your daily routine.

Protecting Your Breast Milk Supply: What to Avoid

While this article focuses on techniques for increasing supply, it’s helpful to know what to avoid that could cause low milk supply. There are certain medications and herbs that could be the reason you're not producing enough breast milk:

  • Birth Control – Especially those containing estrogen. Use alternatives like a progestin-only pill.

  • Medications – Such as pseudoephedrine, antihistamines, diuretics. Ask about lactation-safe options.

  • Herbs – St. John's wart, Sage, and Peppermint may inhibit supply in large amounts.

  • Caffeine/Alcohol – Best limited to avoid dehydration and inhibition of let-down reflex.

  • Nipple Shields – Can impede milk transfer and lead to declines if overused.

  • Infrequent Nursing Sessions - This tells your body that milk isn't needed.

And remember, keeping baby skin-to-skin and nursing on cue is essential! Now we'll wrap up with some common questions about the natural approach.

Trust the Process, Mama

If your primary goal is to nurture your baby with breast milk, remind yourself often that your body was designed to do this. While milk production rates vary, nearly all mothers can make enough milk to meet their baby’s needs.

Consistency, commitment, and self-care are key. Lean on your support system, tap into the wisdom of lactation pros, and be patient with the process.

You’ve got this!

Keep trying natural techniques, believe in your body’s abilities, lower any self-judgment, and follow your baby’s lead. Everything else will fall into place. Sending you all love and strength on your breastfeeding journey!

FAQs About Natural Methods for Increasing Milk Supply

How quickly should I expect to see results from lactogenic foods and herbs?

Most women report an increase in 24-72 hours, but maximum effects are seen within 1-2 weeks from consistent use alongside sufficient breast drainage.

What’s the safety of using herbal supplements while breastfeeding?

Most galactagogue herbs are considered safe in normal amounts. Watch baby closely and stop any herb that causes changes in baby or discomfort for you.

Can I increase supply by pumping/nursing more frequently?

Yes! Pumping/nursing often to drain the breasts tells your body to produce more milk. Aim for at least 8-12 sessions in 24 hours.

Is diet really that important for milk supply?

Yes! Nourishing yourself ensures that your body has the energy and nutrients it needs to do all the amazing things you need to do in any given day. When your body doesn't have the fuel it needs, you're less likely to get those extra pumping/nursing sessions in to tell your body that more milk is needed.

Don't skimp on calories or nutrients!

How can I find a lactation consultant or lactation support in my area?

Asking your OBGYN or pediatrician would be a great place to start. Also, check in with your doctor, hospital lactation department or local La Leche League for referrals. You can always do an online search for lactation consultants, counselors, or specialists in your area.

Katie Croslow

Katie Croslow, RN, CLC

Katie Croslow is a Registered Nurse, Holistic Health Coach, Certified Lactation Counselor and mother of five. She has worked in many different areas of nursing but her true passion is helping mothers and their babies. As a lactation counselor, she has helped countless women achieve their breastfeeding goals. Katie also enjoys working with pregnant women and new mothers to help them maintain their health and well-being during this important time in their lives.