A lot of breastfeeding women freak out when they notice their supply dropping while traveling, if they get sick, or around the time they start menstruating again (usually between 4-6 months after birth), and think they need to start supplementing with formula. It doesn’t help that many myself had major drops in supply from all three of these factors, which led me to dive deep into natural ways to boost milk supply. The good news is, I discovered tons of easy peasy things you can do to boost your supply when things get a little dry. Unless there is something medical going on, like hypoplasia (or insufficient breast tissue), there is no reason to start using formula if you want to keep exclusively breastfeeding. If you choose to use formula for other reasons, no judgment here! These ways to boost milk supply are for you ladies (like me!) who desperately want to keep nursing your little one and are faced with a drop in supply.
Here are my top 6 ways to boost milk supply:
- Drink a ton of water: This is an obvious one, but I thought I’d throw it in there just in case. When you’re working on getting your milk supply up, you really have to increase your fluid intake. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces a day, but preferably more in pure water, herbal tea, or coconut water. Fun Bonus: Drinking tons of water helps you shed that baby weight, minimize cravings, increase energy, and boost mood!
- Motherlove More Milk Plus with Goat’s Rue: This amazing little tincture is the end all be all of lactation supportive herbs. It includes characters — fenugreek, fennel, blessed thistle, and nettle — but also boasts the added awesomeness of goat’s rue, which boosts supply like nothing else. In dire circumstances, I also add the Motherlove Malunggay and Shatavari tinctures as well, but usually, the More Milk Plus formula is enough to get things going. Fun Bonus: The Shatavari also helps regulate hormones post-birth, which makes sex a lot more fun and less painful (when you’re ready for it).
- Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea: I buy this stuff in bulk, no joke. This lovely tea has fennel, anise, fenugreek and coriander, which are awesome galactagogues (or milk stimulators). Plus it tastes delicious! You have to drink at least 3 cups of this stuff a day for it to have any effect though… So start sipping! Fun Bonus: Unsweetened, or sweetened with organic stevia, those 3-5 cups a day count towards your water consumption. Two birds, one stone!
- Brewer’s Yeast: Not only is this stuff loaded with amino acids and B vitamins (hello, boosted immunity and increased energy) but it is a killer milk booster to boot! Add the powder to smoothies (like my Miraculous Lactation Smoothie), baked goods and sweets (like these Super Yummy Lactation Balls), or oatmeal — but remember to add a healthy sweetener like stevia, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, or dates to offset the slightly bitter flavor! Note that brewer’s yeast is NOT the same thing as nutritional yeast, which is a commonly made mistake. Fun Bonus: Brewer’s Yeast is naturally high in chromium, which stabilizes your blood sugar, warding off hypoglycemia and a pre-diabetic state, and staving off those midnight cookie cravings!
- Organic oats: Good old-fashioned oats are amazing at balancing and boosting the hormones responsible for lactation, and they really work! When I’m not rocking oats in my Lactation Smoothie for breakfast, I’m having a bowl of delicious rolled oats with brewer’s yeast, coconut oil (also awesome for milk!), chia or flax seeds, walnuts, and fruit. Sooooo good. Fun Bonus: When combined with a healthy fat and protein (like nuts and coconut oil), oatmeal will keep you full for hours and balance your blood sugar, which is super key for moms who often forget to eat! Plus, oatmeal is great for your waistline, and yes, shedding those baby pounds.
- Gluten-Free Beer: Yes, I said it. I am officially recommending beer. One beer in the evening, preferably the gluten-free variety if you have any sort of digestive sensitivities, will help you wake up with way more milk. Be it the grains, the yeast, or some other magical compound therein, it works. After little M stopped nursing round the clock, mama started having herself a Trader Joe’s NGB Beer every night. It tasted delicious, did wonders for my supply, and helped me unwind after a day of diapers and bouncing. Other mom’s swear by Guinness, but I personally can’t handle the stuff. NGB has a nice light flavor, is relatively low in alcohol, and didn’t get me drunk or give me a belly ache. Fun Bonus: You get to drink! (A bit). Fear not, mamas, the rule of thumb is that if you’re not drunk, your milk’s not drunk. A drink after you’ve nursed or put baby down will have no impact on your little one (provided you can go a couple of hours without having to nurse again). And I’ll tell you what, I was never much of a drinker, but sitting down to a nice cold beer at the end of the day feels like a lovely reward for being an awesome mom. Word.