Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Increasing milk supply

During eight months of exclusive pumping, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to produce enough breast milk for my little Jake. Most months I even had enough excess to build up quite a nice freezer stash.

Lately my five pumps per day (which is about all I can squeeze in these days) have been producing around 35 ounces total, which is exactly what Jake eats in a day. Not having that cushion of a few extra ounces makes me nervous. I could certainly dip into my freezer stash if we suddenly needed more, but I would love to be able to donate it to a local milk bank.

If I want to make a few ounces more in a day, I know the best way is probably to add in another pumping session (increase in demand = increase in supply, right?). I’m wondering if any Moms out there have tried any natural ways rumored to help increase supply: like mother’s milk tea, oatmeal, lots of water, one dark beer, Gatorade, etc. Have any of these things worked for you? Anyone have other advice on ways to increase supply?

Side note: major kudos to all the breastfeeding Mamas out there. Keeping supply up using the pump takes diligence, patience, and a commitment to the labor of love. I still set an alarm to yank myself out of a blissful sleep in the middle of every night to pump because I feel like it’s important to my supply, and while I really look forward to the days of getting a full night’s sleep again I know there will never be another time I can do this for my little one.

Megan Brooks is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist, Stepmom to a 12-year-old and Mom to an 8-month-old who loves his Mama's milk.


  1. I also wake up at night to pump. I love the way you worded it as a labor of love and that you will never again get to do this for your little one.

    As for ways I've increased my supply, the only way I've had success is with supply and demand. When I'm home and baby has nursed to her tummy's content, I pump for 5 minutes on each side to ensure I've "emptied" them. This sends the signal to make more, therefore increasing your supply. But, you have to keep this up every time or it won't work.

    If you ask me, 35 ounces pumped in 5 sessions sounds like an OVERsupply. How long do you pump each time?

  2. Thank you for the tip! I pump 30 minutes every time. But I was never able to get Jake to latch (much to my disappointment), so I never nurse, I just pump and feed him from a bottle.

  3. My pleasure! I have to say I'm impressed with your massive supply! I pump 4 times per day for about 20 minutes each time. I only get about a total of 15 ounces per day with those sessions. It works out perfectly because Edie only needs 16 ounces daily while I'm at work.

    I see your dilemma with not being able to nurse, and commend you for working so hard to pump out the good stuff for Jake. It's hard, so you deserve an award!! I say, if you really want to have a little extra, throw in one more pumping session and you should be good! (I have a friend who pumps with her nursing cover on as she drives to and from work in addition to her other pumping sessions.)