How to Increase Your Milk Supply

Are you barely producing enough breast milk for your baby? Learn how to increase your milk supply with these tips—they actually work!

to Increase Your Milk SupplyI couldn’t believe what I saw.

I was browsing through a parenting board when I clicked on a fellow mom’s post about breastfeeding. Whereas I was struggling with producing enough milk, she was asking for advice on what to do with her stash of extra breast milk.

Except “extra” didn’t exactly cut it. She posted a photo of bags and bags of frozen breast milk, overflowing her already packed freezer.

Meanwhile, I was barely pumping enough at work to last the next day.

I chalked it up to chance—I figured other women are more likely to produce breast milk than others. And while that does play a factor, it also didn’t deter me from finding solutions that can boost my supply.

How to increase your milk supply

So, that’s what I did. I researched what was working for other women and how they managed to increase their breast milk supply. These are folks who, like me, initially didn’t produce a lot, but began to make enough of a surplus to store.

What’s their secret?

Truth be told, the best way to increase your milk supply is to nurse your baby often. I know this too well, because for a week, I came down with thrush and was unable to breastfeed my twins. While pumping helped, I noticed a huge difference in breast milk production and had to play major catch up.

For many more reasons, nursing the baby directly and often may not be an option. So, what can you do to increase your milk supply if you can’t breastfeed all the time? Here are a few tips I learned and tried. As always, check with your lactation consultant or health care provider to see what changes you can make:

Pump one hour after every feed

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If you feed your baby on a consistent schedule, pumping one hour after every feed can increase your milk supply.

Let’s say you feed her every three hours. One hour after feeding, spend a few minutes pumping more milk. The idea is to pump long enough after she has nursed to produce milk, but far ahead in advance to reserve milk for the next feeding.

I learned this trick after speaking with several twin moms who, as often happens with twins, had babies who started off in the NICU.

The babies were on a three-hour feeding schedule, and many needed their moms to pump because they couldn’t latch yet. Several clever moms used this one hour trick to produce and store extra breast milk between those hours.

Make sure you have a high-quality breast pump, too. For my eldest, I bought a single electric pump which barely lasted a year before it broke. For my twins, I wanted to make sure I had a good pump and rented the Medela Symphony.

This is a hospital-grade pump and can make a huge difference in your milk supply. You can buy it online or rent one like I did from a local lactation store or hospital.

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Pump an extra 15 minutes after nursing

Another trick to increase your milk supply is to extend your nursing or pumping session. Let’s say you nursed your baby for 20 minutes. After you’ve burped and set her down, pump for an extra 15 minutes. Even better if you can hand her off to someone else to burp so you can pump immediately.

Fellow moms have told me this is how they increased their milk supply. Initially, they’d only get a trickle, not enough to call it a success. But they kept at it, and over time, they were producing an extra five ounces in those 15 minutes!

If you pump during the day, see what extending your regular session by 15 minutes can do. Again, you may not have much to start, but if you’re seeing progress, it may be worth sticking it out.

And if you’re too sleepy to do this for middle of the night feedings, it’s fine to skip it. Try it when you’re most awake during the day. You’re better off resting and catching up on sleep at nights. I also recommend reusable storage bags like these to make it easier to freeze and store.

Keep pumping after you’ve dropped a feeding session

As your baby grows, she’ll feed less often throughout the day and night.

For instance, you might be feeding her after she wakes up from naps, which means one less feeding each time she drops a nap. Or let’s say she nurses two times a night, but is now down to one, or is weaned from nighttime feedings and sleeps through the night.

Rather than adjusting your body to her new schedule, use that time slot to pump instead. If she’s now sleeping through the night, consider waking up once to keep pumping. This tells your body that you want it to keep producing milk at its old schedule rather than adjusting to the new one.

You can even set a goal for yourself, such as waking up to pump until you reach a certain number of frozen breast milk ounces. Having a hands-free pumping bra was a game-changer for me and made pumping much easier.

Balance pumping often with the rest you need, though. If the fatigue is getting to you, you’re better off skipping that pumping session and resting and relaxing instead.

Do a power pump

Other moms have had success doing a “power pump,” which includes:

  • Pump for 20 minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes

You’ll want to find an hour of uninterrupted time in the day to dedicate to power pumping. Then, for the rest of the day, continue to pump or nurse when your baby typically nurses.

Pump and nurse at the same time

Remember the mom with the stash of breast milk bags I mentioned earlier? Turns out one of my friends experienced the same thing. Whereas she produced barely enough for her eldest, she was now producing a surplus for her second child, enough to donate extra bags to others.

Her trick? Pumping and nursing at the same time.

Rather than switching sides for each nursing session, she’d have her baby nurse on one side while pumping the other. Then she’d switch sides at the next feeding session.

For instance, a morning feed might mean nursing the baby on the right side while pumping the left. Then for the noon session, you’d nurse on the left side and pump the right.

You’re “tricking” your body into producing extra, almost as if you’re feeding two babies, not one.


I’ve met too many new moms who felt discouraged for quitting breastfeeding because they thought they had low milk supply. And for many, they did what they could with still no luck. But hopefully after reading this article, you’ve found new ways to increase your milk supply, even when you thought it impossible.

Eat, drink, and rest often to make your body as prepared to produce milk, and try different pumping schedules to increase your milk supply. You never know—you may just be the next person wondering what to do with her freezer stash of breast milk.

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