Breastfeeding can sometimes be hard enough without having to worry about your milk supply drying up or not producing enough to satisfy your little one. Here are some great do’s and don’t to help you boost your milk supply. Along with some things to avoid that can cause it to slow. I pumped for 8-15 months with both of my daughters so I’ve dealt with the struggles and stress involved. Trust me you aren’t alone. I felt like I was searing how to boost your milk supply and how to produce more milk while pumping nearly every day. Feel free to reach out if you have additional questions. I pumped every meal and used breastfeeding bottles for both of my girls because I couldn’t nurse at the breast. This is a list of things my lactation specialist mention to me, along with items that I bought and used during my pumping journey.
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Things to avoid while breastfeeding because it will lower your milk supply
- Stress: There is a reason doctors always ask “Are you under a lot of stress lately?” Because it affects our entire bodies, so your milk supply can suffer also. Try to do something to relax and give yourself a break.
- Poor Latch: If the baby is not latching properly they are also not getting a lot of milk at each feeding. Which causes your body to think that it has produced enough. This could be for any reason, position, tongue-tied or high pallet (which mine had).
- Alcohol: Alcohol suppresses lactation. It also transfers to your bloodstream and therefore your milk. It takes 30 to 90 minutes after your last drink for your milk to be clear of the alcohol.
- Nicotine: Heavy smoking can affect your supply as well. Not to mention it’s terrible for your baby. It causes low weight, colic, and respiratory infections. JUST DON’T DO IT.
- Decongestants / Antihistamines: Both of these are made to “dry you out” which also means your milk! These can cause it to lower milk supply very fast in some cases so unless you just have unbearable allergies try to tough it out.
- Birth Control: Your doctor wouldn’t advise you to be on any birth control while you are nursing but if they did it would be Progestin-only. It’s on the “Probably safe” list. But you should avoid Estrogen types of birth control.
- Foods and items that cause colic: Along with things that can deplete your milk supply, there are some things that can also be causing your baby colic.
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So those are some things that may be causing your low milk supply. Here are some ways to boost your milk supply aside from having your baby nurse as much as possible. Even if it seems nothing is coming out to keep your baby at the breast for physical stimulation.
A variety of prescription medications and natural products have been used as galactagogues—medications that induce lactation.
Proven Ways to Boost Your Milk Supply
- Water: Drink tons of water! Your body needs it to make milk. When you are feeling “low” drink ’til you’re swimming! Get yourself a great water bottle to keep with you at all times.
- Fenugreek: The best way to get this is in a Tea. There is one you can find in your grocery store in the natural foods section called Mother’s Milk Tea. You can also find Red Raspberry Tea. But the one that worked the best for me was the Gaia Herbs Lactation Support. You’ll smell like maple syrup, but this brand and my lactation cookies were the only things that helped.
- Brewers Yeast: You can drink a beer a day and you’ll see a huge difference. But if you don’t like beer you can get Brewer’s Yeast tablets or powder to add to food. For the best brewers yeast for lactation try this one, it has amazing reviews! If you don’t want to put it into recipes, try it in tablet form.
- Flax Seed / Oatmeal: Eat a bowl of oatmeal, easy! Check out the recipe below for a yummy way to boost your supply. Bob’s Red Mill is my favorite. They have quality products!
- Reglan: If the above natural forms don’t work ask your doctor about taking Reglan. It is a prescription that can also help boost your milk supply. It does have some serious side effects though and you should know all the risks before using it. The FDA has required it to have a black label warning. Try natural methods first.
If you don’t want to bake you can do the next best thing and get Lactation Cookies or a Lactation Tea, or Lactation bar!
Lactation Cookie Recipe – Boost Your Milk Supply
Here is a great recipe for Lactation Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I made these from my regular Chocolate Chip recipe but with the main milk boosting ingredients.
Links to the products I used in my recipe.
- Brewers Yeast – Reduced Bitterness. There is a Mother Knows Best brand that also has great reviews.
- Rolled Oats
- Flax Seed Meal
What you will need
- 1 Cup 2 sticks of butter softened
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 3/4 Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp Flax Seed Meal
- 2-4 Tbsp Debittered Brewers Yeast* see my note below
- 2 Cup Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 Cup Rolled Oats
- Bag of Chocolate Chips
- 6-8 Tbsp Water*
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl mix your softened butter, eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract together.
- After it is well-blended add in your flaxseed meal and brewer’s yeast.
- Then fold in your oats. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda to your mix.
- You will need some water to soften up this mix so start with 4 Tbsp and work your way up one tbsp at a time until it is a good consistency.
- Lastly, add your chocolate chips. Spoon Tbsp sized balls onto your cookie sheet and bake for 9-12 minutes.
Please be advised: This article is based on anecdotal evidence. I pumped for both of my girls for a year, so I had lots of trouble making enough milk. These are all things that I have done and experienced firsthand with breastfeeding. My Lactation Cookies were made with Whole Wheat Flour so they are darker than your cookies will be. 😉 If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment or contact me and I would be happy to answer.
I’ve seen so many close friends struggle with their milk supply and it kills me that I can’t help them more! These are great tips!
This is great. So many moms give up too early! i almost did!
A cap full of lemon extract will also help reduce the bitterness frim the brewers yeast.
Since I live kind of in the sticks, no one around here has the brewers yeast so I’m going to have to order some from online. In the mean time I’m making a batch of these cookies with out it and hoping it will work. Oatmeal alone helps a little but as many different ways as you can make it, it does get old after a while.
Isn’t that the truth! Good luck, I hope it helps.
Thanks so much for the tips! I know it depends on the individual, but how many do you usually eat in a day? Just wondering if one cookie a day would make an impact?
There cookies! Who can eat just one? I used to eat a handful of them because I had bad milk production options.
Hi came looking if flaxseed decreases milk supply and found your article. In my case I had a good milk supply which all of a sudden dipped by 3 to 4 ounces. At first I thought it was because I got my monthly gift but when it refused to go back up… I decided to give up the flaxseed from my daily smoothie (as it was the only major diet change in the past month)… and as weird as it is… my supply is back up… not all the way but atleast I can meet the daily needs for the baby while I work… now to build back that backup storage again… just thought I post it here in case there is another mama with the same issue
Should a person ask their OB or their Ped for Reglan?
You should ask your OB, unless your pediatrician has a lactation nurse on staff. Both can help you.
I live in a small town and I’m having a hard time finding brewers yeast, will regular yeast work the same way??
No it needs to be brewers yeast. Just order it from Amazon. There is a link in the post
The GOLD STANDARD in increasing milk supply is to remove more milk and provide more nipple stimulation. Nurse or pump more – if supplementing and attempting to return to exclusive breastfeeding, consider using a supplemental nursing system (that’s a brand’s name for it, but any of the brands work) so baby nurses to get the supplement, and baby is better than any pump man can make!
can you substitute coconut flour or almond flour for the flour
Of course but you need to keep in mind that the amount you will need is far less than all purpose flour. For every cup of all purpose flour (grain flour), you only need 1/4-1/3 cup of coconut flour. It also depends on the denseness of the flour so I would mix everything and then add the flour last in the lower increment first. So that you can judge the consistency of the dough and add more if you need to instead of starting over if you used too much. As long as it gets thick like a cookie should be you’ll be fine.
I also suggest after mixing in the flour you bake one cookie to make sure that it is the desired thickness, that’s another way you can simply add more if you need to without starting over!
Hi there. I know it’s common sense that nicotine and smoke is terrible for your supply, but I just haven’t been able to quit yet :-/ I quit before I knew I was pregnant and didn’t touch it the whole time, but had a really hard time staying away once I had the baby. I smoke between 4-8 cigarettes a day. I’m working on quitting – but is this considered heavy smoking that can really lower the supply? My baby doesn’t have a great latch, so I know that’s also part of it. I take goats rue, more milk plus, fenugreek, was taking Shatavari and Reglan – ran out, drink mothers milk tea and powerade, I pump 8x a day…but I just can’t keep up with how much my 9 week old baby needs. At most, I pump between .5-1 ounces at a time after I feed and 2-3 ounces in the middle of the night while he is sleeping. Is the smoking 4-8 cigarettes really affecting it this much or could there be other issues and besides quitting – are there any other suggestions? Thanks
Let me also add that I eat coconut oil and olive oil and I just added flaxseed meal to the mix and I have brewers yeast in the mail.
Aside from what you are doing, just stop smoking. Not only is there second hand smoke that lingers, you are transferring it to your baby. It’s just the same if you were pregnant. http://www.drugs.com/cg/effects-of-smoking-alcohol-and-drugs-on-breastfeeding.html
Please be careful with Fenugreek or any herbal supplements, ladies, and obviously talk to your doctor before starting any medications, including supplements. My blood pressure sky rocketed on Fenugreek!
Yes if you’re taking any supplements that’s a given. You don’t need to be taking the tea and the supplements at the same time.
Also be careful because Fenugreek can either help or HURT your supply. In my case it HURT it 🙁 I was struggling with getting enough while I was pumping ( i would pump 1-2 oz prior to fenugreek) so i decided to look into supplements and came across fenugreek. After taking it for 2 days, one drop at night before bed, I wasnt able to even coat the bottom of a 4oz avent bottle 🙁 and my baby is only on breast milk. I am afraid that she will have to be put on formula if I cant bring my milk supply back up 🙁
Just fyi: reglan caused my friend to loose all dopamine production. She now is almost bedridden. She is suing the hospital because it had been recalled but they still used it for her migraine. I would be cautious about using it.
Yes Reglan can have serious side effects if not taken properly and in the right doses. The FDA has not recalled the drug but it does have a black box warning with is the high level before being recalled. This is the one that I always recommend last due to the simply fact that it’s a pharmaceutical and I’d much rather use natural methods anyways.
Quick question – You state that alcohol suppresses milk supply, but say drinking a beer a day (for the brewer’s yeast) will quickly increase your supply. So having one drink a day is okay and also advantageous? I’ve been trying everything. Tons of water, Fenugreek tablets, Mother’s milk tea, lactation cookies, pumping after feedings. I don’t want to give up, but it is exhausting!
Hey Kera, if you’re in a place that it is still hard to produce I wouldn’t drink the beer. The main point of drinking the beer is for the brewers yeast and it would be more beneficial to just buy it and add it into certain foods. That way, you have no doubt that the alcohol is hindering your efforts.
I have a question about brewers yeast and flax seed…would it be the same taking tablets than it would be taking the actual product?
Yes, I’ve taken the tablets before as well. If you can’t stand the taste of the powder, which I cannot (this is why I baked it into cookies) then this is a great alternative.
I was wondering if you could add it to the steel cut oats for oatmeal in the morning?
The brewers yeast? Yes you can add it to whatever you like if you can handle the taste.
hi there! I would like to know if “nutritional yeast” is the same as Brewers yeast it’s what I found at my local grocery store, found it next to flax seed meal, so thought maybe it’s ok to use!? Thanks
No, Brewers yeast contains chromium that nutritional yeast does not. Nutritional yeast is used in people that are on vegan diets to supplement B12 and protein.
Hi Meghan, is it the chromium that helps the milk supply go up? Because I just bought the Solgar brand, I think it’s called, and I think I saw reviews on amazon that it doesn’t have chromium?
There hasn’t been a lot of research about chromium and breastfeeding. Most of what pulls up is in regards to trying to lose weight while breastfeeding or pregnant. Nursing alone will handle that. I recommend the Gaia herb supplements because I found the best results with them. The seemed much stronger than others that I tried. It’s the Fennel, Fenugreek and Thistle that will help boost your supply.
Hello… I was looking at the nutritional values of the cookies and you posted the calorie count as 4630, is that for the whole batch? How many cookies does the recipe make?
I’m not sure why it says that. I’m not sure what the caloric value is but it makes a standard batch of cookies of about two dozen depending on the size you make them.
I took Reglan with my first. The depression side effect was no joke. Yikes! I have Insifficent Glandular Tissue which is a bit of a downer. I keep plodding along though and supplement what I can’t make. I just got my brewer’s yeast today. Sprinkled a healthy helping on my lunch. Not bad. I’m not a baker so I’m ordering cookies. I could really use a cookie right about now.
I have made the cookies and have been putting the Brewers yeast in juice as it states on the bottle and I have noticed my supply has decreased. I’m not ready to quit but this is the last of things to try.
If you’ve done everything on the list, I would say it’s time to hit up the lactation team for medical support. The only other problems I had were having large breasts. Women with large breast have more fatty tissue and the milk glands don’t have the room they need to produce enough milk. I’m sorry you’re having such problems and I wish you the best of luck. There is no shame in formula feeding and adding in what breast milk you have to offer. It’s all good for baby!
Hello! Can i replace the flaxseed meal with whole flaxseeds? 🙂 How do I replace it? 1:1?
I wouldn’t replace 1:1, I would simply sprinkle them in with the chocolate chips so that you don’t have too much in it. Let me know how they turn out!
I made a batch. They taste great but for some reason they came out flat…anybody else have this issue? what should i do
Flat generally means a butter issue. Did you melt the butter beforehand?
No, it was room temp.
Here are some other tips since I’m not sure of your altitude, butter brand, etc.
Use half butter and half shortening, or reduce sugar amount. Butter and sugar make cookies spread.
Check oven temperature accuracy, bake a few minutes more, or increase temperature by 25 degrees.
Chill dough before using.
Place dough on cooled, clean pans to prevent early spread of cookies.
I know the chilled dough method helps a lot. Sorry you are having trouble.
Thank you so much!
Just like the girl that said about her cookoes coming out flat I havent tried the lactation cookies but have baked cookoes before and they come out flat can I buy dough thats already ready to be baked and just add brewers yeast I suck at baking
I think if you soften the cookie dough enough I think you could add the brewer’s yeast in. Worth a try! Or just buy the already made ones 😉 http://amzn.to/2fiFImG
Hi, my baby is 13 days old. I made the lactation cookies but my baby is getting Very gassy n i think its coz if the brewers yeast. I made these cookies with my other one too but this one is very gassy and its painful fir ger too. I just ordered brewers yeaat tabs coz i dont wanna gain weight while eating so many cookies a day coz they r delish. My wuestion is how many tabs shud i eat a day so that it doesn’t hurt my LO???
The Solgar tablets recommend up to 6 tablets daily. http://amzn.to/2xWe1J5 This is the brand I recommend for the cookies and I’m sure the tablets are the same quality!
I was wondering if I could use Old Fashioned Oats in place of the Rolled Oats. My local stores do not have them and I’d like to try and make these cookies before we leave on vacation.
Yes, they would still work just fine.
Question: did you do the cookies, beer, and supplements all at the same time? Just curious if you can do too much? I had a great supply with my daughter. My son eats 25-30 oz a day and he’s only 3 months old! I don’t know that I’ll be able to keep up with him so I’m trying everything I can. Any suggestions would be great!
I’m not a fan of beer but I did do most of these together. The Supplements I took daily and the cookies and tea I would have every so often when I was really low.
I tried mixing the brewers yeast in juice and it gave my little guy gas. Do you think that it would have the same effect if I tried it baked into the cookies? Or tried drinking a beer? I did notice that it helped with my supply when I took it the one time, which is the reason I would like to try it in a different form.
I got brewer’s yeast from the local drugstore but it is in the tablet form – Can I crush them into powder then used them in baking?
That tablets I’ve seen in the past look like they can be crushed and used. I think it depends on the brand and how tightly the tablet is pressed though.
This is probably a silly question, but can 5-minute oats be used?
No silly questions! Yes, you can. Quick-cooking oats are just thinner than other oats. That is what makes them quick cooking.
Just finishing baking these! There is a bit of an aftertaste but I like beer so they taste good to me. I will try adding lemon juice next time though as I would love to bake more to give to other mamas with how pricey lactation cookies are ! Thank you for the recipe ????❤️ Hopefully this helps my supply !
These cookies are absolutely delicious, I’m an EP and produce about 30+ oz a day but my little one is eating at an alarming rate so I’m just looking for a way to maintain my supply for the future. Just one question, if I don’t use all the batter at once can I freeze it or refrigerate it until I need to bake more?