Babies: 3 - 6 Months

Help low milk supply!! Also on Breastfeeding Board

Maybe you ladies can help me out. I am desperately trying to increase my milk supply. My LO is 13 weeks old and after I returned to work my milk supply has dropped. LO seems satisfied when she nursing on me at home. She drinks three 5oz bottles at daycare and on a good day I usually bring home 8oz after pumping three times at work. I started taking Fenugreek 610mg 3 pills 4 times a day for a week and had no results not to mention it gave LO horrible gas so I stopped. I just recently started drinking mother?s milk tea. I am drinking 5 bags a day and today is my third day. Yesterday I was able to pump 10oz which is better but, I need to bring home at least 15oz. I am blowing through my freezer stash I maybe have 5 bags left. Can someone recommend anything else? I am also drink close to a gallon of water a day on top of 5 cups of tea. Would it be safe to drink more of the tea? It recommends 3-5 cups a day

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Re: Help low milk supply!! Also on Breastfeeding Board

  • I eat oatmeal every morning and take Gaia Lactate Support. This has Fenugreek in it, though, so not sure how well it would work out for you.
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  • Fenugreek and mother's milk tea did not work for me.  I bought Domperidone (per the recommendation of our pedi, my OB/GYN/the lactation consultant at the hospital and a private lactation consultant I saw.  It worked like magic.  You can buy it from  It is realtively cheap.  You have to take 2 pills 3 times a day.  You rmilk supply should go up in about a week or so.  I personally took it for about 1 1/2 months, but there are women who continue to take a lower dosage until they are done breastfeeding.  Good luck,
  • I took fenugreek  but it also gave LO bad gas.  I kept taking it though 4 pills 4 times a day.  I also ate oatmeal and other things like carrots that are supposed to increase supply.  You can look it up online. There's a whole list of foods and spices that help.  My supply dropped significantly when I started back at work. It was like work stressed me out or pumping at work stressed me out. Not sure.  Good luck!
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  • How long have you been back at work for? I know it took me a couple of weeks to get my body to respond best to pumping at work. Also, your LO is always more efficient at getting milk than a pump is, and it is normal to only get a couple of ounces per pumping session.

    I would reccomend trying to add in a session at home, in the morning or evening, to help supplement what you pump at work. Sometimes while my LO is eating in the AM or PM i will pump the other side. Since I am nursing him anyways it doesn't take any more time out of my day.

    There are some things you can check on your pump to make sure it is working efficiently as well- check to make sure you are using the correct flange size as that can impact how much you are pumping. I know when i went up a size (to the correct size i needed) I noticed an increase in output. It wasn't that my body was producing more, but my pump was just able to empty my breasts better. Make sure that any parts that need to be routinely replaced (membranes on the PISA for ex) are in good condition and replace if necessary to see if that helps.

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  • I've struggled with this as well.  Fenugreek didn't work for me but oatmeal helped somewhat.  

    One tip I have is to pump first thing in the morning, while you're getting ready for work.  That's when your milk production is at its peak.  I just put my hands-free pump bra on after I get out of the shower and pump while I'm putting on my makeup and blow drying my hair.  I'm able to get almost twice the output I would from any other session.  I also keep an extra pair of horns at home and just throw them in a ziploc in the fridge when I'm done so I don't have to spend any extra time cleaning them (just clean them at night with my other horns) while I'm trying to leave for work.

    I also know people that sleep in their hands-free bras and do it in the middle of the night while napping propped up on pillows.  That's a little over the top for me but whatever works!


  • The first thing that comes to mind is how did you decide that 5oz is what your LO needs?  My DS#2 only takes 3.5 oz in each bottle but he is small (a little over 13lbs at 5 months).  The max my DS#1 ever took in each bottle was 5oz but again he was never a big baby that required a lot of milk. 

    I'm barely making due myself and my lactation consultant just recommended More Milk Plus.  It is a supplement in either drops or pills.  I have to buy some this weekend.  GL 

  • I went though something similar last week; thought I had a low milk supply and it turns out that I just needed to replace the little white membranes on the valves for my pump.  Afterward I noticed a HUGE improvement in suction and my pumping output went back to normal.
  • A few questions:

    1. What kind of pump do you have?

    2. How often (every x # of hours) are you pumping at work?

    3. Are you eating oatmeal everyday?

    4. How did you decide on 5 oz? Breastfed babies typically eat 4 oz or less per feeding....

    5. When you nurse baby, do you feed from one side per feeding or both sides?


    We drop baby off at DC with 3 x 3.5 (sometimes 4 oz) bottles plus an extra oz for rice cereal mixing. I am away for 11.5 hours total. I now pump 2x in the time I am away from her, and make ~12 oz. At 13 wks, baby was drinking 3x 3.5 oz bottles (no rice cereal) and I was pumping 3x per day, roughly every 3.5 hours.I eat oatmeal cookies everyday, switched to a Medela Freestyle pump (soooo much better than the PISA i had) and baby is sleeping through the night, so there's one big feeding when I wake up to empty me out.

     Good luck! :) 

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    + 9/3/11, due 5/13/12. Overdue baby, born 5/25/12 :)

  • My LC suggested oatmeal, sweet potatoes an okra as foods to help my supply.  When I see a drop in my supply I make a point to eat oatmeal for a few days.  It works for me without the side effects  can cause.
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  • I have struggled with the EXACT same situation since returning to work almost two months ago. LO settled in at 14-16oz. everyday while I am gone. I have tried Oatmeal (definitely helps), fenugreek (might help a little), adding a third pumping session at work (didn't do a thing for me), different size shields (might get an extra 1/2 oz) etc.

    I was SO stressed about not pumping enough during the day. For me the best thing I did was start pumping in the middle of the night. Milk supply is highest then and LO STTN very consistently. So, I pump 7-9oz. while I'm at work and 4-5oz sometime between 1-3am depending on when LO and I go to bed. I do this EVERYDAY, even the weekeends that way I start the week with at least an extra 10-12oz in the fridge that can be used throughout the week if I fall short a couple oz. everyday. I've also been lucky enough to work form home a few days over the last two months and that has allowed us to get through a few tough weeks without having to dip into a very small freezer stash or add formula. Infact, and I've even been able to replace a few bottles of my freezer stash with the nightitme pumping and days I worked at home.

    So it is hard work and a defintie sacrifice of sleep for me, but I've made it work. When I first went back, my Mom, who watches her was slightly over feeding her, but we addressed that and she still takes 14-16oz. DD is a tiny little thing (at 4 months she was only 11lbs.) so although overfeeding can be an issue trust your gut, I know my DD and overall she is predictable for a total amount, but how she chooses to do it can vary from day to day...Some days she eats two 7oz feedings while I am gone, sometimes three 5oz feedings and sometimes, four 4oz feedings

    I will be honest and say I don't know how much longer I can keep up on this schedule. I hope that as we add solids towards the end of the year she will reduce her need by a few oz a day and I can stop having to pump at night...If this doesn't happen I may start to supplement with a few oz of formula when she is around 8-9months so that I can start getting some better sleep.

    Best of luck to you!!

  • I agree with the oatmeal, and also keep hydrated.  The more you can nurse the better, because baby can empty you better than a pump.  If you can add 1 nursing or pumping session per day, its worth it.

    You can also look at medications like Rylan (sp?) or even Domperidone--but you have to do your research on that last one since its not sold in the USA (if thats where you live).

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  • Have you tried lactation cookies? A yummy way to boost supply. A few cookies a day and by the next morning I was back in business! I bought from her and helped a good cause. The cookies are delicious...good luck, mama.  

  • Hello, My mom is a midwife and a mother of 9 children so she has some input.

    She says you should boil 8 cups of water for 2 cups of old fashion oatmeal and let it slow cook for about 15 minutes then drain out the oatmeal (keeping all the liquid) you can add honey if you would like. You need to drink the oatmeal liquid! Also, surprisingly, beer will increase your milk because of the yeast in it. Drinking more of the mother's milk tea will be fine. She found that drinking the oatmeal liquid to help best for her.

    I hope this helps (:

  • Make sure you don't drink camomile tea. And stay away from large quantities of parsley. Those are natural diuretics!
  • Might not be a popular choice, but dark beer in small amounts may help. Ask your OB
  • I went through something similar with my first little one.  Oatmeal I agree with, but more than that, BREWER'S YEAST.  This stuff is amazing!!  I made my own lactation cookies, which were basically oatmeal raisin cookies with 2 tbsp. of brewer's yeast.  It helped me a ton.  Fenugreek never worked for me.
  • Remember that your body has 2 let downs of milk. I found that I would get a whole bunch in the first few minutes and then it would slow until about 10 minutes and then would let down a whole bunch more. Make sure you are turely taking the time to let both let downs happen. Also try to make sure you are in a quiet place that is not stressful so you can relax. Maybe tape you baby crying on your cell phone and play it a few times that will also help with let down or pull up pictures of you baby to look at while you are pumping. I think the hardest one for me was to let my body relax because I was in work mode and just needed to get pumping done and move on with the next task at hand.
  • I was diagnosed with low milk supply with my first baby 5 yrs ago.  I saw 3 lactation consultants and they all said the same thing and evidenced that my baby was not gaining.  It was so sad and frustrating for me. I tried all the suggestions even mentioned here. Nothing helped me. Even trying different brands of breast pumps. I'm now pregnant again and looking into donor breast milk, if I am not able to produce enough milk for my LO again.  Good luck. If all else fails, look into Human Milk 4 Human Babies. There's one in every state I believe. Good luck!
  • to my knowledge i dont think youll ever be satisfied with what youre pumping i nurse fine but pump nearly nothing.  I was taught by my lamaze instructor that pumping is not an indication of your milk supply.  so i dont think your milk supply is the issue.  I would consult a lamaze instructor who is also certified in breastfeeding education (theyll give you more accurate answers than just your average lactation consultant most of the time)  Maybe theyll be able to help you.  I was also taught that working scheduals really need to be altered to adhere to breastfeeding.  But again someone whith more credentials might be able to give you better advice.
  • i take that backe i mean in the beginning! work scheduals should be altered in the begininning! lol 
  • How long are you pumping? I had severe supply problems. What helped me is to pump for 20 mins each session to make sure I got two let-downs and to use breast compressions (you can google how to do it).

    More Milk Plus was better for me than fenugreek alone. Fenugreek also gave my daughter gas.

    I'd also would pump after nursing or squeeze in another pump session.

    I think this site is defunct but it still has lots of great tips that I used. ;

  • Hey Surprise6,

    I would really recommend the book Making More Milk. It has stories about diagnosing and strategies to overcome cause of low supply.  I got some great ideas from it with my first.

  • Back when I was breastfeeding, I went to a nursing support group. The lactation consultant actually said that drinking too much water can interfere with the milk production. When I went back to work, my supply dropped a bunch when I was pumping, too. I only had a couple times a day when I could pump (I'm a teacher), and it just wasn't enough. I had to do bottles with half breast milk/half formula. The fenugreek and mother's milk tea worked well for me, and I took them by the handful until I smelled like maple syrup.

     Good luck, it's hard to go back to work and have it interfere with everything you worked so hard for when you first started nursing!

  • It's been awhile since your post.. I had the same the problem... this might sound odd... drink a beer.  The yeast in the beer will help your supply.  You can also take brewers yeast in pill form.. doesn't work in pill as good as a beer.  Good luck... hope it works out for you. 

  • I also had a low milk supply problem.  Oddly enough, what worked for me was pumping on high with my hands elevated above my head.  I have an electric pump and pump both breast at the same time by wearing the specialized bra.  When I elevate both arms I get more of a let down.  I also drink the mother's tea, non alcoholic beer, and eat oatmeal.  Also, I pump on a schedule:  early morning, afternoon, mid evening and before bed.  I nurse when I am home and the baby is hungry and during the night.  After a week on a schedule, I would start leaking milk around the time I would pump.  Good luck
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  • You will likely see a decline in you supply when you start mainly pumping.

    Drink lots and lots and lots of water.

    Eat, you need the calories; oatmeal is a great breakfast also asparagus, quinoa, fennel, flax, alfalfa and red raspberry leaf. Avoid sage, peppermint, wintergreen and comfrey tea, sassafras tea, ginsing tea and licorice tea. you can try lactation cookies and Fenugreek, it did nothing but give both of us gas I am getting ready to try golacta.

    Also, drink a dark beer before bed and lots of skin to skin [I know that's a tough one :p].

    Look here for some good tips.


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  • Hey, Sarah:)

    I had the same situation as you. So, I tried the Mother's Milk teabags, and I barely saw a difference. BUT HERE'S THE SECRET! YOU HAVE TO STEEP and cover the tea for at least 10-15 minutes! I actaully do it longer than that. I try to drink a minumum of three cups a day if not more. And more liquids will continue to help you. So keep it up! Don't get discouraged! You're doing great!!!

    The tea did not work without me steeping it!

  • I know I'm late to this whole conversation, but Mona Vie (high quality acai juice)increased my production by 50%. My OBGYN didn't believe me, but then she needed it! She didn't want to believe it, so she st opped, and it went back down. Good luck!
  • Hi beautiful!

    I can tell you from my experience. My Son is now  3 1/2 year old. I'm expecting my second one and I'm planning on fully breastfeed like the first one. I did it for a whole year, no formula, all his food was prepare with breast milk. I also returned to work after 4 weeks of labor and had to pump at work. I was doing it every 2 hours in my job and use to carry as many as 6-8 bags of breast milk! What I did was consume lots of milk, old grandma recipe which consist of a codfish soup (you know that salty codfish?), my mom used to prepare that for me at least three times a week and drink plenty of water. I used to walk to release stress and take my Son to the park everyday and the beach all summer long. I consume plenty of seafood, which I think it helps, but try the codfish soup. That's what really kept me for a whole year and the best of all is to stimulate the breast, I mean by breast feeding directly. It's kind of relaxing and your breast gets more soft. I remember one time I left the pump at home and had to do it manually! I thought I was not going to make it but I did! Thanks to those classes that I took, helped me so much. My husband support was great too! Hope you can get better with this but just try to find the best foods for this and do it as natural as possible. Baby needs the best of you! :D God Bless You.

  • A couple spoonfulls of cocnut oil throughout the day is great naturalway to help with milk production, it also boosts immunity and energy. Good luck!

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