Tips for Boosting Your Milk Supply: Recipes & Supplements

Tips for Boosting Your Milk Supply: Recipes & Supplements


As I write this, I’m sitting here nursing my fifth child who will be 7 weeks old tomorrow. My experience with nursing and milk supply has been different with each child, as you may know if you’ve read this blog over the years. All of my babies have had issues with tongue and lip-ties, some of which were quickly resolved, and others where that wasn’t the case. One nursed well and gained quickly, another nursed okay, but I had to be very careful as my supply would tank quickly if I was extra busy or exercised much. Both of my boys struggled for months, with both of them needing to be supplemented and then fully bottle-fed by around 4-6 months (you can read about their stories and some of the things I learned and experienced here and here). With both of them, the challenges of poor nursing/latch also resulted in really low supply on my part. Those days were so long & discouraging. If you’re in the position of facing lots of challenges with feeding your baby, I totally get you!

So in preparing for baby #5, I had no idea what to expect. I did know I wanted to be prepared for lots of challenges just in case. We were also planning to do a significant amount of traveling when baby was still very young, and I wanted to make sure to have things on hand to boost my supply if it was needed, as I’ve learned from experience that it is MUCH easier to encourage a robust milk supply if you don’t let it drop too far to begin with! Before baby Tirzah was born, I spent some time researching additional options to add to my list of things to help boost supply.

IMG_3347 (2)This experience has been different yet! The first few weeks found baby gaining really slowly (she lost a pound after birth, and took three weeks to regain it!), which of course had me worried after everything that happened with my previous baby. But around 3 weeks old, things began to shift, and her suck got stronger and she began to gain weight! By now, at 7 weeks, she is a healthy, chunky 11 pounds, which means she has put on 2 pounds in just over 2 weeks! I thought perhaps there might be some other moms out there looking for ways to increase and improve their milk supply, so I’m going to share some of my favorite suggestions…some of these I found helpful when I was exclusively pumping for baby #4, and they have gone on to be helpful this time around.

If you are needing to establish or boost supply, your first step is to nurse frequently!! Lots of skin-to-skin time, especially in those first weeks, really helps to establish that supply, as well as nursing whenever baby is interested and for however long (and make sure the don’t go longer than 3 hours during the night those first few weeks!). Next, remember to drink lots of fluids. I would keep a water bottle at my bedside so that I would drink throughout the night (along with a snack!), which I continued to do until I was confident that my supply was adequate. Throughout the day make sure to keep drinking large amounts, as it really helps your body as it manufactures milk for that little one! And don’t forget that your body needs lots of nourishing calories to feed a second person-remember that your baby is still depending upon you for all of his/her nutrition, and baby is now bigger (and growing rapidly!), so now is not the time to cut back or diet. You actually need an additional 500 calories than what you needed while pregnant!

Besides these three things, here are some other supplements that I have found really give my milk production a boost (and just a side note, these are NOT affiliate links, so I’m not benefiting in any way by suggesting these!):

Maxi-Milk by Mountain Meadow Herbs has been one of my favorite supplements over the years. I began taking it twice a day around day 3 postpartum this time, just to give my body a boost since baby was loosing weight and I wanted to get my milk supply off to a good start as it started coming in. This is the one supplement I have always kept on hand after each baby, and any time I feel my supply dropping, I start taking it, and can see a difference within 24 hours. It’s especially helpful during those days when baby has a growth spurt and wants to eat all the time, and you can feel your body struggling to keep up with baby’s demands!

Legendairy Prouducts offers several different supplements for helping build and maintain milk supply. I had heard about them in the past year, and had them recommended to me by other moms who had tried them. I knew I would be dealing with more stress and less sleep while traveling with such a young baby this time around, so I started adding the “Liquid Gold” supplements to my daily routine. I’m now trying the “Cash Cow”, and both seem to be helpful! I was especially intrigued by their formulas and the lack of fenugreek, as my babies tend to have very sensitive tummies, and have not always done well with the traditional high-fenugreek content of other supplements.

Moringa is a green super-food type supplement, that has been used for a variety of health reasons, but has a history of helping to encourage milk production. Check out the link to find out more about it! I take it each morning at breakfast.

Spirulina is similar to Moringa, and is recommended for boosting supply and the nutrition-density of mom’s milk. This is the first time I’ve tried taking it regularly for this purpose, but it’s one of those supplements that has so many benefits that it sure can’t hurt to add it to a new mom’s daily regimen! Once again, click on the link to find out more of it’s benefits.

When it comes to adding some nutrient-dense calories, AND keeping good, quick snacks on hand for a hungry (and busy!) nursing moms, these two recipes below are my favorites. They include such things as nutritional yeast, oatmeal (oatmeal is an old-time favorite to boost milk supply!), flax-meal, coconut oil, and other great ingredients to feed and nourish a new mom and baby. The first recipe is one that my mother-in-law perfected during the year I was trying desperately to increase my milk supply for my little guy who had so many nursing issues. They are super yummy while also having great ingredients. When I was exclusively pumping, I could see first-hand how these helped to keep my supply up! The second recipe is a variation of a granola bar that a friend brought to me after I had my third child-ever since then, I always make a big batch of these around the time baby is due, as it is a wonderful snack to have on hand for those first weeks of nursing round the clock (I keep one beside my bed for nighttime feedings during the first few weeks!).

Grandma Martin’s Lactation Cookies

1&1/2 sticks softened butter
4 TBSP coconut oil
1 & 1/2 cups organic sugar  (I use coconut sugar)
5 TBSP Brewers Yeast
3 TBSP ground flaxseed (golden tastes the best!)
2 eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp EACH salt, baking powder and soda, cinnamon
1 TBSP ground Fennel seed
1tsp ground Fenugreek (I grind these 2 together in coffee grinder)
1 & 1/2 cups flour (for Gluten Free cookies use 1/2 cup each of brown rice flour & whole oat flour and 1/2 cup of another flour)
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut
Chocolate chips or raisins as desired.

Roll into balls, place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Makes 3 dozen. These freeze well, and taste delicious frozen!

Energy Bars/Balls

1 cup warmed honey

1 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter)

½ cup oat bran (or oatmeal ground really fine)

1/2 cup golden flax meal

1 cup unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup seeds (sunflower, chia, etc.)

1 c. chopped nuts (I like to use a blend of mixed nuts, though just almonds or pecans work as well)

1/2 tsp Celtic or Himalayan Pink salt

2 + cups old fashioned oats (enough to make mixture thick enough to form balls or press)

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix all together and form into balls or press into a pan to form bars, refrigerate until firm. I like to cut these into bars and wrap them individually for a quick on-the-go snack.

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In closing, I’d love to hear about what has helped you to maintain a good milk supply for your little one(s)! If you try any of these supplements or recipes, let me know what your results are. Blessings as you nourish your baby today!

Fussy Babies, Tongue-Ties and Nursing Challenges

Fussy Babies, Tongue-Ties and Nursing Challenges

Matthias Johann 133Recently there have been alot of articles floating around on Facebook and other blogs regarding tongue ties and the challenges they pose for nursing babies. Reading these have reminded me of the very difficult six months following my last baby’s birth. In the past few months I’ve been wanting to write about this phase of my life, and I’m hoping that maybe it can be a help to others who might find themselves in similar shoes. While our family found some answers, I still have questions that I’m studying and researching…so this may end up being part one in a series! 🙂

For starters, a little background: my first pregnancy was challenging, especially for the first 20 weeks during which I was very sick. Towards the end, I ended up being border-line preeclamptic, and we were grateful that our little princess came safely, and a week early. Quite honestly, my labor and delivery the first time was “textbook” perfect: 8 hrs from start to finish, no complications, and with what we call in birth lingo an “uneventful postpartum”. While I never had an abundant supply of milk, nursing was fine, and she gained slowly but surely, being more of a petite little girl. She was on the fussy side (which, incidentally, runs in my husband’s family), and around 4 months I cut dairy out of my diet, which made a big difference in her personality. I still can’t say she was an “easy” baby, but she wasn’t excessively difficult, either. So, when little brother was on the way, I was happily surprised with how much better the pregnancy went the second time around. While I was queasy at times, and felt a bit picky about what I ate, I didn’t have the months of throwing up and severe nausea and weakness that I had the first time. The last couple of weeks I once again struggled with keeping my BP from going too high, but all in all everything went extremely well. Which, in turn, made me expect that nursing and baby care would go that much better the second time, as well. However, that was not to be the case…

When our little boy was born, he was an even 9 lbs, and nursed well right off the bat. Because he was doing so well with nursing those first two or three days, I made what I believe was my first mistake: I gave him a pacifier so I could sleep at night. I figured that he was nursing so well and so strongly, and since he was so chunky to begin with, and that it wouldn’t cause any problems…he was nursing constantly, and I just wanted a little bit of sleep! By week two, nursing started to become a battle. He would latch on for a second or two, then howl, arching his back, and fighting it. It wasn’t every time, but it increasingly got worse, so that by the time he was 3 weeks old I didn’t want to try to nurse him in public anywhere, as it took so much work. Like most babies, he lost weight the first week, but it took him an entire 3 weeks before he was back to his birth weight. At that point, we took his pacifier away, hoping that we were dealing with a case of nipple confusion, and that maybe after a few days we would be nursing fine. Those days were rough…he cried SO much, and wanted to suck constantly…and yet would fight me when I tried to nurse him. After a few days it got a bit better, but still not that great. By that time I wondered if maybe he was dealing with a sore tummy and food allergies, so I went off of dairy, hoping it would make a difference. After several days he seemed to be a little better, but not the drastic difference that his sister had made when I cut those foods out.

I still remember the day when he was about 6 weeks old. Joel was gone all day for a meeting (it was a Saturday, which normally was my day for a “break” in having daddy’s help with two little ones!), and I was expecting company for supper and for the night. My baby seriously cried ALL DAY LONG. I think he wore himself out enough to take two short naps, but that was it. Feeding was a battle, and I didn’t have a CLUE what to do with him. I laid him on the bed, and watched him cry, and all of a sudden it dawned on me that he could hardly move his tongue! He was howling, and his tongue literally looked as though it was tied to the bottom of his mouth. Now, being a midwife, I had seen tongue tied babies before, but all of those I had seen had been what they call “anterior ties”, meaning that you could see the membrane that tied the tongue. My baby had what I came to find out was a “posterior tie”…you could only see the membrane when you used your finger to lift his tongue up. After consulting with several midwife friends, I decided to take him to a doctor to have him checked out, and hopefully take care of the tie.

Monday morning I took him in to see the family practice doctor, which proved to be a disappointing visit. The doctor was very concerned about baby’s lack of growth, but totally shrugged off the tongue tie possibility, and instead wanted to do testing for a heart defect. I told her that I didn’t think a baby with a heart defect could scream as long as my baby could without wearing out, and declined the testing, telling her I would continue to monitor his heart and growth, and bring him back if there was any other concerns. I then returned home, called my dear nurse friend/fellow midwife down the road, and she agreed to come up and help me attempt to take care of the tongue tie. We did, and all of a sudden he could move his tongue unlike he had ever moved it before!

I was hoping this would be the end of the struggles, but it wasn’t the miraculous cure that I was hoping for. While he latched better, it still wasn’t where it needed to be. I could feel my milk supply dropping, despite eating quality and quantity foods (I gained 7 lbs. just trying to increase my supply!), and taking different herbs. A week later, my sister came to visit, which was a huge boost as I felt like all I was doing those days was trying to feed and console a crying baby. By the end of the week, after another long crying spell, my husband said “I really think you need to feed him a bottle of something and see if he needs more to eat.” Now, he had suggested this before, but I adamantly refused. I always taught that breastfeeding is the BEST way to go…once you start a bottle you’re on a downhill slope…etc, etc, etc. I had all the arguments as to why I would never feed my baby a bottle. But here he was crying, and we were desperate. So, I used some of the formula samples I had on hand, and decided to try it….and the little man ate as if he was starving. He drained the bottle dry in no time, and looked the most happy and content as he had ever looked. I cried. Here I was, thinking I was doing the best thing by pushing nursing, and my baby was starving. And talk about eating all the words you ever said…how could I EVER feed this baby a bottle in public?!?

But I wasn’t ready to give up on nursing…and the next several months held quite the times, as I continued to try to get him to nurse first, and get a bottle last. I tried a nipple shield-that really helped, but I felt like I had so much “equipment” along for nursing that it was no fun to go places. And after awhile I realized that not only dairy would cause his tummy to get upset, but so did wheat. So I kept to a very strict diet, which helped alot. But after dropping my milk supply so much, I never was able to get back enough to feed him 100% breastmilk. So that prompted another journey…researching formula alternatives. With all the additives, corn syurp solids and other things in powdered formula, I did not feel right giving it to my baby, and I was delighted to find the recipe for home-made formula on the Weston Price Foundation website ( We were blessed to live just down the road from an organic, grass-fed dairy, and I began mixing up home-made formula on a daily basis. While it was more work, it was amazing the difference it made…no more constipation, and his stools and spit up were identical to a 100% breast fed baby. And he started gaining weight!

We continued the partial breast-fed, partial supplement feedings until he was about 6 months old, when one day he refused to nurse, and continued to refuse. I bemoaned the lack of bonding that would come from not nursing…and my husband wryly commented that he thought giving the baby a bottle peacefully was more bonding than forcing a screaming, back-arching baby to the breast. 🙂 Good point! Little Matthias continued to grow and develop normally, and once he could crawl around and eat solid food, he no longer had any food allergies. When he was 10 months old, I one day read an article about how lip ties can also affect nursing…and sure enough, he has a very pronounced lip tie. Which finally makes sense to me why he never was able to get a really good latch…his upper lip never was able to flare very well.

In retrospect, I feel like I’ve learned a number of things: first, I won’t quickly give another baby a pacifier. It really is best to let nursing get off to a really good start, even if you’re tire. Next, I wish I would have thought to investigate the tongue tie sooner. I am paying really close attention to the babies I deliver these days, to make sure it looks right! I also wish I would have searched longer and harder for a professional who could have maybe found both his tongue and lip tie and taken care of it right away. I think if it would have been done when he was 3 wks old, we would have had many less problems. I have also learned to never criticize another mom for the way she feeds her baby. Many times you have no idea what she has been through, and what may have brought her to the point that she is at. As mothers, we want to do what is best for our babies, and sometimes it looks different in other situations. I also STRONGLY recommend looking into making your own formula if you need to bottle feed! And lastly, I’m doing some research, and I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I’m really hoping that by possibly taking a different form of folic acid during my next pregnancy, I may be able to help reduce or prevent the significant food sensitivities/stomach issues and tongue ties in the next baby. I haven’t read enough to be able to share it yet…but I’m hopeful that maybe things can be different the next time around!

So, that’s the story…God’s grace was sufficient, though I really thought I was going crazy numerous times during those months. A fussy baby equals little sleep, and I went months without sleeping more than 2 or 3 hrs at a time. But our little fellow is worth it all, and brings us much joy…and I know I’ve learned an extra level of sympathy for those experiencing nursing difficulties and challenges with fussy babies!For more information on tongue ties, check out:

Matthias around 1 week old

Matthias around 1 week old