Increasing breast milk

How does milk production work?

As early as the third month of pregnancy, your breasts start to prepare for breastfeeding, developing the glandular tissue needed to produce milk and increasing the number of milk ducts in your breasts. By the end of the second trimester, your (amazing) body is capable of breastfeeding. But the changes don’t stop there.

Once your baby is born, a hormone called prolactin cues milk production, and another hormone, oxytocin, causes tiny muscle cells in the breasts to contract, pushing milk out. As your baby nurses, your prolactin levels increase and more milk is produced, in a continuing cycle of supply and demand: Baby drains milk from your breasts (demand), breasts respond by producing more milk (supply).

What causes low milk supply?

It’s not always clear what causes low milk supply. While breast milk production is influenced by the cycle of supply and demand, researchers still have a long way to go in understanding all the factors that may influence or hinder breast milk production. That said, ensuring adequate demand is a good place to start. Common “demand” culprits include:

  • Supplementing. If you've added formula to the menu, your baby may take less milk from your breasts, which in turn could cause your breasts to produce less milk.
  • Infrequent feedings. Stretching out the time between meals (to four hours, for instance) may be easier on a new mom, but it can mean your breasts won't be stimulated often enough to produce an adequate amount of milk. If your baby is a good sleeper, for example, it’s good for getting enough shut-eye, but not so good for keeping your supply up.
  • Short feedings. If you cut nursing sessions short (five minutes on each breast, for example), this not only won't help your baby get nutritious hind milk, but your breasts won't be sufficiently drained. And without sufficient emptying, they won't be stimulated to produce more.
  • Pacifiers. For some (but not all) babies, time spent sucking on a pacifier means less time or inclination for suckling on the breast. Less suckling can mean less milk production.

What to do about low milk supply

Talk to your health care provider, pediatrician or lactation specialist as soon as possible if you are concerned that you’re not producing enough milk, or if your baby’s weight gain is slower than expected. While not all cases of low milk supply are caused exclusively by demand issues, that may be the case for you. If so, there are steps you can take that can increase your milk supply.

Some herbal remedies may help with increasing breast milk
Fenugreek plant Vitex tree Stinging nettle plant
90 capsules
Fenugreek seeds  
60 capsules
90 capsules
Stinging nettle
(Withania somnifera)
(Astragalus membranaceus)
(Bacopa monnieri)
(Arctium lappa)
*Black Cohosh
(Cimicifuga racemosa)
(Focus vesiculosus)
*Celery seeds
(Apium graviolens)
*Chanca piedra
(Phyllanthus niruri)
*Ceylon cinnamon
(Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
*Cat's claw
(Uncaria tomentosa)
*Dandelion root
(Taraxacum officinale)
(Trigonella foenum graecum)
*Ginkgo biloba
(Ginkgo biloba)
*Horse chestnut
(Aesculus hippocastanum)
*Hawthorn berry
(Crateagus oxicanthus)
*Horny goat weed
(Epimedium sagittatum)
*Juniper berry
(Juniperus communis)
*Milk thistle
(Sylibum marianum)
(Lepidium meyenii)
*Red clover
(Trifolium pratense)
*American Skullcap
(Scutellaria lateriflora)
*Saw palmetto
(Serenoa repens/serrulata)
*Stinging nettle
(Urtica dioica)
*St John's wort
(Hypericum perforatum)
(Smilax aristolochiifolia)
*Schizandra berry
(Schisandra chinensis)
(Agnus castus)
*Valerian root
(Valeriana officinalis)
*White willow
(Salix alba)
(Achillea millefolium)
*Lion's mane
(Hericium erinaceous
(Lentinula edodes