Increasing Breast-Milk Supply

When your little bundle of joy is placed in your arms for the first time, the immediate thing to do is to  . For most mothers, however, breastfeeding comes with a lot of anxiety. Questions like ‘What if I don’t produce enough milk?’ often arise.  Some reasons for low milk supply include:

  • Hormones

Breastfeeding mothers who use hormonal birth control pills in the first four months of their child’s life often notice a dip in their milk supply. 

  • Poor Suckling Response or Other Anatomical Issues

Babies who have a poor suckle or have anatomical issues such as cleft lip or tongue tie often find it challenging to breastfeed. This often lowers a mother’s milk as it barely triggers a let-down reflex.

  • Medication

Certain medications are known to reduce a mother’s milk. Herbs such as sage, peppermint and parsley also have a similar effect. 

  • Insufficient Glandular Ducts

Glandular ducts are responsible for them making of milk. Some mothers, during the breast development stage, didn’t acquire enough of these glandular ducts. 

  • Formulae

Supplementation with formula in the earlier months of your baby’s life tricks your breasts into producing less milk. 

Breastfeeding Patterns

Breastfeeding patterns in newborn babies greatly vary. Some babies will suckle 4-8times in 24hours while others will do 13. After the first month, babies usually take in a larger volume of milk and can go longer between feeds. Suckling often averages at 13 minutes to 1 hour per feed.

Normal Behaviours While Breastfeeding

As your baby grows they often start experimenting with what is closest to them. Feeding time is also not spared. Behaviours such as:

  • Breastfeeding for comfort –usually happens when your child is fussy, sick or in need of attention.
  • Cluster feeding-This happens when babies bunch up their feeding in one section of the day for example evening time. 
  • Varying feeding durations-Babies tend to feed for different durations. This is because of the different quality of milk during feeds, sometimes the milk may be more whole and more filling other time it may be more like skimmed milk. The quality is influenced by the duration between feeds.

Increasing Breastmilk Supply

Myths that often surround breastfeeding include:

  • You have small breasts
  • Breasts feeling softer than usual
  • You cannot feel your let-down reflex
  • Feeds getting shorter
  • Your breasts don’t leak milk any more

 Baby clinic visits will monitor the weight of your baby and advise you accordingly. Healthy weight signifies enough milk.

How to Improve Milk Quantity

This can usually be accomplished by following these steps:

  • Offering the breast more frequently-This stimulates the glandular ducts to produce more milk.
  • Breastfeeding exclusively- Avoiding formulae water and solids. These improve milk supply.
  • Enough rest-when your child sleeps, take a nap
  • Pumping- add pumping to your routine to stimulate supply.
  • Diet- in Kenya traditional greens like ‘saga’ is thought to improve milk supply.

Observing a healthy lifestyle should ensure you have quality milk for your baby.



Please note that development differs from one child to another. Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.


Last reviewed March 2019

Sources: todaysparent, kellymom, todaysparent, today

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