42 answers

Seeking Info on Boosting Breast Milk Supply

My son is 5 1/2 months old. I went back to work at 3 months. When I started back I was pumping twice a day and getting about 4-5 ounces at each session. I am now at the point where I hardly get anything. I often only get to pump once a day now (around 3 or 3:30) and I only get maybe 2 ounces total. I am getting very discouraged. Does anyone know of any suggestions on how to boost it up? I have heard about herbal tea and such, but I don't know of anyone who has used it or if it works.


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Featured Answers

I have a 5 mo old son and am having the exact same problem. If you get any good answers, please let me know! Thank you!


There is this spanish drink called "Malta" you can get it at Publix. I hated it, but it did boost my milk supply. You could try that. You can drink it plain or mix it with milk.

Drinking a lot of water would help. Also do not go on a diet. I have heard of fennel tea. I never tried it tough. Good luck.

More Answers

I have two kids; one is 2 and the other is 11. I am from Colombia. In Colombia breastfeeding mothers drink something called, "agua-panela con leche". It's made with an ingredient called "Panela" that's found in most Publix or Winn-Dixie in the hispanic section Usually with the "Goya" items. It's basically brown sugar that's in the form of a very thick pancake (like a brick). You break the "panela" into 4 equal pieces. You place it in a saucepan over the stove and put on medium heat and then pour whole milk over the "panela". Approximately 2 cups of milk. The "panela" will melt as you stir the pan. You drink it warm to hot. You need to either feed or pump as your drinking or immediately following and in my experience, I had plenty of milk for my kids. Hope it helps!

1 mom found this helpful

I used Brewer's yeast. I got it from GNC suppliment store. I helped with my son. It was a suggestion from my mother. My sister-in-law used it too for her hungery son. Hope that can help.

You have probaly heard this already but drinks lots and lots of water. Another way to make the milk flow is to pump one side while nursing on the other side. Just takes a little practice to balance but it helps the milk flow easier. The more you pump or nurse the more milk you will produce. Good luck and try not to give up!

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Good luck,

Have you tried fenugreek? I heard it works very well to some people. It was a little helpful to me, but not as much as I expected. But at least, it is easy and no harm.

Eventhough I was a stay at home mom, i had to pump because my daughter would not latch on. I had to pump even if she wasn't eating. There were times I could only get 2 ounces. I had to pump every 2 to 3 hours to boost it back up. Also, she stopped eating as much at night very early, but I was still up at least once in the middle of the night to keep the milk flowing.
I hope this helps.

Hello J.,

As far as I know, the only way to really increase supply is to pump more often. AT first, you'll only get a few ounces, but the volume will increase as you keep pumping. Your body thinks your baby needs more and will produce more as long as it is expressed (ie: the baby is eating). That's how women in olden times breastfed their kids well into toddlerhood.

Hi J.,
Your milk production relies upon the laws of supply & demand. The more you pump, the more milk you will have. Make sure you are well hydrated. Also, your milk supply dwindles as the day wears on...oftentimes you are better off trying to pump earlier in the day (although later, even though you get less milk, it is richer---more fat and nutrients). I found that even if I fed my daughter early, before I left for work, I could get a lot of milk if I pumped between 9 and 10 am. I would also try to pump after lunch after replenishing my fluids. There are herbal remedies, but the real key is pumping more and staying hydrated. At first you won't get more milk when you pump, but if you continue, within a few days your milk supply will start coming back. I know it is not easy, believe me, very challenging, but if you can manage, it is the best for the baby.

drink a beer every night

helps produce milk - no kidding

Breast milk works by supply and demand. Your body automatically gauges how much to produce according to how much is taken. If you have cut down on the number of times you are pumping then the production of milk will be cut down by your body. If you want to make more milk, you need to pump more or nurse more frequently. When you stop nursing your body automatically dries the milk up over time because there's nothing taking the milk out of the breast.
Hope that helps. I don't know anything about herbal teas making more milk, but I would wonder if that's something I would want my child to have via breast milk.

I used a tea called Women's Nursing Mom by Yogi Tea. It helped a lot. It didn't taste the best but it was well worth it. I still have 16 individually wraped tea bags. If you are interested in them you can email me at ____@____.com. I hope this helps.

do whatever you can to find time to pump more often. even if not much comes out at first, the more you do it the more you'll get. in a couple of days you'll be back in action. good luck.

Try this:

You can order online or buy at Whole Foods.

Drink lots of water.
Eat oatmeal with maple flavor.
Drink a ton of water.
Keep putting baby to breast.
Nurse nurse nurse!
Try to rest.

I used fenugreek when I was breastfeeding. You can get it in the vitamin section of most drug stores. It worked some for me, but it did have a funny smell (like curry). It's hard to pump at work, but I've heard your body reacts to how often you pump. If you don't pump often, your body thinks you don't need the milk. I also think the stress of pumping on the job makes it harder for your body to react properly and produce milk. I had similar issues. Eventually I supplemented with formula. I felt very poorly about it initially, but you have to do what works for you and your baby -- I got over it and so did my son.

By you cutting down on pumping and or breast-feeding your telling your body that you are weaning your baby and the supply slowly stars to dwindle to eventually no milk production. If you want your son to continue to have breast milk you will have to increase the stimulation of milk production by pumping or breast-feeding even better is doing both. It's not to late to continue to give your son the wonderful benefits of breast milk - I wish you the best.
L. K
(Doula & Childbirth Educator)

There is a tea called mother's milk...specifically for breastfeeding also you can diffuse the essential oil clary sage and/or put it on your feet...this stimulates hormone production as well as doing this really try to pump more often, even if it's at night or right after your baby nurses. At first it'll only be a little that you get, but it will grow in supply. Good Luck. As always check with your health care providor; although if it's an OB not a midwife they probably won't know much about the tea or the oil.

S. Mills
Touched By An Angel
Childbirth Services, Inc.

I have heard of Traditional Medicines Organic Mother's Milk Tea - a friend of mine swears by it. I haven't had to use it yet, but I do have a box of it in my pantry in case I do.

What works best for me - drink a LOT of water. A LOT. And pump for at least 20 minutes on each side. I find that I get barely an ounce the first ten minutes, but after that, I can nearly fill up my medela bottles, esp in the last ten minutes.

Hope this works for you!

I drank the fenugreek tea and it tasted terrible! I then took the pills and they actually worked!

I used Fenugreek (a caplet I would swallow--you can get it at health food stores). It seemed to help. Also, I believe food with saffron is supposed to help, too.

You've already gotten some great advice. I had the same problems with my first child. Reduce your stress level as much as possible. My in-laws were a nightmare, plus I went back to work and the stress of it took my focus off breastfeeding. Drink 10 to 12 glasses of water throughout your work day (alot I know) but it helps so much. Pump often! Like everyone said, your body is thinking that you are weaning if you don't pump often enough and long enough. Have lots of pictures of your baby around you, especially while pumping. Invision that the pump is really your baby. That should also help. Don't give up! Good luck!

There is this spanish drink called "Malta" you can get it at Publix. I hated it, but it did boost my milk supply. You could try that. You can drink it plain or mix it with milk.

Hi J.,

The more you pump the more you will produce. I know it's a pain but try pumping as often as possible and drink alot of water. It will be slow at first but the more you pump the more your supply will build up. When you don't pump as often, your body slow the production and start drying up. It's supply and demand. If you don't pump alot your body will not produce alot. If you pump alot than your body will produce more. Good Luck and don't give up. My little ones are past the breast feeding stage and I miss the bonding time that we had while nursing.

I take Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle religiously. Take 4 tablets of each 3x/day. That is 24 total. The tea is ok, but you have to drink ALOT to equal the amount of the tablets. Also, are you drinking PLENTY of water everyday? Can you pump every 3 hours? It is really important to pump as often as you can while you are away from the baby. Also, are you relaxed when you do pump so you have a good let down? Stress really decreases your supply. Hope this helps!! C.

J., I read your posting and I'll like to invite you to view my website. I think you'll be interested, also feel free to contact me if you would like a phone consultation.
A. Sola

Looks like you've already gotten great advice. Good luck!

I did want to give you a link to an excellent source of breastfeeding support and advice:


These message boards are loaded with wonderful women. I've learned a lot from them.


I had the same problem when I began back to work. I used the herbal supplement Fenugreek, which I purchased at my local GNC store. I had to take about 10-15 capsules in the morning, but the results were well worth it. It increased my milk supply significantly and my daughter's doctor told me there was not issue with taking the supplement.

Hang in there, I know it's frustrating, but keep at it.

I went back to work full time at 5 weeks and wasn't able to keep up the milk production. I wish I had had this advice when I went through this. My son went through colic switching to formula and he now has tubes in his ears, had his adenoids taken out after three years of repeated ear infections. Thank goodness he has been doing great since then, but the breast milk really has immune properties and I wish I had been able to hang in there.
Best of luck!


The only way to boost your supply of milk is to pump more. You need to pump at least 3 times a day. Your body will only produce as much milk as it thinks the baby needs thus if you only pump once a day your supply will go down if you pump 5 times a day your supply will increase. The only way to increase your supply is to either nurse the baby more or pump more. I use to pump twice a day and then nurse my daughter during my lunch time. I know how time consuming it can be when you are at work and it will normally require you to work longer hours to make up for that time. All employers have to let you pump milk and breast milk is the best food for your baby. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to do what is in the best interest of your child. Trust me it was extremely hard to pump milk during tax season since I am a tax accountant but I still managed to keep pumping and was able to breast feed my daughter for over a year. It is hard but well worth it. Good luck.


Hi J.. I am a mother of 3 and I breastfed all. My first child, I was losing my breast milk. The best solution is to go to a herbal store and get some pills called Fenugreek. It does work, but I do have to tell you that you will smell like maple syrup. Let me know if I can help you.
M. (____@____.com)

I've tried the fennel tea, it really worked for me. Fennel is what they use to make artificial maple flavoring, and I read on a website that it would make you smell quite mapley, and that is the truth. I smelled like syrup sometimes. My husband loves pancakes, so it was fine with him.

Mainly though, a lactation nurse really impressed on me that breastmilk is all about supply and demand. The greater the demand, the greater the supply. The more you pump and nurse, the more milk you'll produce. Also, the baby nursing is more efficient than the pump.

Are you feeling anxious about the amount of milk you're getting? If you're not relaxed, maybe you're not letting down as easily?

I don't know about herbal tea,but I do know the more often you pump the more milk you will produce. I know how difficult it can be to find the time to pump often especially while at work.I went through the same thing.I only pumped once during my work day and my milk supply dropped significantly.Than I started pumping 3-4x per day and my milk supply went back to normal. Also drink lots & lots of water!!! Good luck!!

Hi, I had my daughter 10 weeks early and wasnt producing much and so my consultant from the hospital advised me to get some mothers milk tea from the whole food store and it worked wonders....i will probably use the same stuff next time around, it really didnt taste that great but with a teaspoon of honey it was awesome, i only had to drink 3 cups a day of it and it was all good

J., before you panic and think you have a supply problem, you should know that your body has probably adjusted to the separation and is making more milk when you are home to nurse the baby. The child care providers can offer less of your expressed milk at a feeding by offering it very slowly...breastfed babies will not know they are full when being bottle fed as easily as they will at the breast. Between the changes in the milk at the breast and the longer suckling time needed many babies over eat at the bottle. (Actually, this is true for all bottle fed babies breatmilk or otherwise.)

There are some great ideas about bottlefeeding at
www.kellymom.com and there is also information on the same website about exactly how much milk your baby really needs when you are away. Much less than you may think.

If you are really concerned though, you can simply add another pumping time when you are home. I know it is probably hard to do at work. But, whenever you can slip in another one you will have the extra milk to leave, though more likley your baby is getting plenty.

Take care,

I totally understand your problem I was still in the military when my son was born last year and he drank so much milk that I was having to pump 4 or five times a day just so that I would not be engorged at work. (my son ate allllll the time) I began not producing so much because I wasn't feeding him and at night I was producing alot more to feed him so I would pump a whole lot of milk at night and kept pumping three times at work no matter what in the end it worked itself out. But when you do get to pump at work make sure you are not rushed and that you are relaxed it will really make a difference. Good Luck!!!

Hi J.,

Make sure you check with your OB before taking anything, including herbal supplements, that could be passed to the baby in the breastmilk.

Good luck!

I have a 5 mo old son and am having the exact same problem. If you get any good answers, please let me know! Thank you!


Usually drinking plenty of fluids (6-8 glasses of water per day is recommendation) helps. You have to make sure you stay well hydrated and your milk supply will increase. Also, try pumping more often to help with stimulation. Finally, you can actually put himn on one breast and pump the other...it worked for me.

Breast milk supply usually directly relates to demand. The more the baby nurses (or the more you pump) the more your body will produce. Can you squeeze in extra pumping sessions before or after work? Staying hydrated is important, too. Drink your water!

You can get Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle and many other herbs that promote healthy lactation in tea form (ex.Anise, Chamomile, fennel). I drink lots of tea (try Traditional Medicines "Organic Mother's Milk" and Yogi Teas "Nursing Mom" also Organic and both caffeine free can be found in a nutritional/supplement store like Nutrition Smart), I nurse often, and try to read & relax whenever I can.

I see great results when I drink tons of water! Are you keeping yourself well hydrated? I always thought I drank a lot of water. But now that I'm bfing and pumping, I have to constantly be drinking water. I also eat a bowl of oatmeal almost every morning. That seems to help too!

Good luck and keep your chin up!

Drinking a lot of water would help. Also do not go on a diet. I have heard of fennel tea. I never tried it tough. Good luck.

Hi Jen,
Try to eat lentils, or sticky rice ( you can find it in the Asian stores, but you will have to ask how to cook it - it is cooked differently from the regular rice) at least 2 or 3 times a week. I have never had a lot of breastmilk but after starting that diet, I kind of felt like a milk cow! I also know that yeast is supposed to boost the milk production too, so you can add a little bit in your dishes, salads, soup, etc.
I don't know anything about the herbal tea but I think some can have secondary effects so read the label carefully before using it.
Hope this advice will help.


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