View Our Best Selling Course: Simply Breastfeeding

View Now

5 Ways to Increase Milk Supply, Starting on Day One

Did you know there are things you can do in the first minutes and days with your newborn that can increase milk supply?

(*Note: Video transcript and references are below.)

If you haven’t already wondered if you will have enough milk, you are almost certain to question it at some point in your breastfeeding journey. In fact, it’s the #1 reason that women stop breastfeeding or begin to supplement with formula.

We’ve seen this over and over in our practice. When we visit women in their homes, with one and two day old babies, the most common question is whether their baby is getting enough milk. Years ago, we used to go to a shopping mall with our scale to weigh babies and answer questions. There we would see women with beautiful content babies, rolls down their legs, gaining well on their mother’s milk. But the women would still question if they had enough breast milk.

The truth is that less than 5% of women don’t have enough breast tissue to make a full supply of milk. Most milk supply problems result from not understanding the following five points.

1. Skin to skin

You may have already heard about the benefits of skin to skin immediately after birth. If you haven’t, it is simply having your naked baby against your bare chest right after delivery and cuddling your baby, uninterrupted, for at least an hour.

Research shows that when babies are held close against their mother’s chest, they learn to breastfeed sooner. Skin to skin also keeps baby’s temperature and blood glucose level stable, preventing mom and baby from having to be separated.

2. Feed in the first hour after birth

Babies who are snuggled skin to skin with their mothers immediately after birth are much more likely to accomplish this second way to increase milk supply; feeding in the first hour after birth.

The first hour after birth is often referred to as the golden hour. Babies are typically awake and alert and show interest in feeding. When your baby was in the womb, he was fed continuously through the placenta. At birth, the constant food supply is suddenly cut off. Feeding in the first hour after birth will help to keep your baby’s blood sugar levels stable.

Some experts are now suggesting that if your baby doesn’t latch in the first hour, you should begin hand expression. This will signal your body that your baby has survived birth and will be needing milk.  

If you’re in the last weeks of your pregnancy, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider about hand expressing some of your colostrum. (Please note: This is not something we would recommend unless you have spoken to your health care provider about your particular situation.) There is some evidence that this can boost your milk supply in both the short and long term.

3. Deep latch

The third way to boost your milk supply is to latch your baby deeply onto the breast. Your baby should not latch only onto the nipple but should have lots of breast tissue in her mouth as well.

When your baby is latched deeply your breast will get the message to make more milk. Your baby will also get more milk with each suck.

4. Feed responsively

The most important way you can boost your milk supply is to feed “responsively”. This simply means responding to your baby’s cues and feeding whenever your baby shows interest. Frequently removing milk from the breast signals your body to make more milk.

A study done back in 1998 showed that women who fed 13 – 16 times when their baby was only two days old had more milk than women who fed 10 – 12 times and even more milk than people who fed 8 – 10 times.

A woman who took our prenatal breastfeeding class told us about her first day home from the hospital with her two day old baby. Her newborn fed and fed and fed, all night long. She swore she breastfed every hour! The next day she was exhausted but remembered what we had told her about increasing milk supply. She felt confident her baby was getting enough milk as her baby was having more than the minimum number of pees and poops. Two days later she had so much milk she felt could have fed more than one baby.

Feeding on a schedule is not best for your baby or your milk supply. Frequent breastfeeding increases your milk supply.

5. Keep your baby close

At the beginning of our careers, our local hospital had a nursery. Babies were expected to stay there between feeds. When they cried, they were taken to their mother.

Thankfully, moms and babies are no longer separated. They stay in the same room (‘rooming in’). This allows the mother to notice her baby’s first hunger signals and begin feeding long before her baby begins to cry. Babies are fed more often when they stay with their mothers. As we said in our last point, frequent breastfeeding helps to increase milk supply.

As much as possible, stay close to your baby. This will help you to increase your milk supply.

If you’d like to dive deeper into this topic, you are welcome to join online prenatal breastfeeding class, Simply Breastfeeding from Day One.

Best wishes on your breastfeeding journey.

Tired of Googling?
Get the answers to the top 14 questions new parents ask.
Ultimate Newborn handbook

You can feel confident from day one!

- Confidence in motherhood starts here -

Meet Jana

As a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant I have helped thousands of new families in the early days and weeks after delivery. Over and over, I have seen the same questions and challenges catch new families off guard. 

I want it to be easier for you!

I have put the answers to all of these questions in our online prenatal courses. I want you to have the information you need ahead of time so that you know what to expect with breastfeeding and taking care of your newborn.
Let me help you enter motherhood feeling confident, peaceful and empowered.

- Trusted by World’s Best Brands -


  1. “A Video on Latching Your Baby.” 2013,
  2. “Establishing and Maintaining Milk Supply When Baby Is Not Breastfeeding.”, 16 Jan. 2018,
  3. Establishing Your Milk Supply.”, La Leche League Canada, 2014. Web.
  4. “How Does Milk Production Work? •”, 8 Mar. 2018,
  5. The Importance of Skin to Skin Contact.” Newman, Jack, MD, FRCPC, and Edith Kernerman, IBCLC, International Breastfeeding Centre, 2009. Web.

Other Posts You Might Like

-We're here to help. Check out these other useful posts -

Top 6 Pregnancy Mistakes Shared with Us in Secret

We have visited over 30,000 brand new parents in their homes, as they transition from pregnancy to parenthood. We have witnessed joy and excitement but also tears and frustration as families felt overwhelmed and unprepared.

12 Insider Truths About Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

One out of every 4 or 5 women will suffer from postpartum depression and/or anxiety in the year following the birth of their baby. Here are 12 important things you should know.

8 Myths of Motherhood

Before giving birth, we imagine life with a new baby… wonder, amazement, the sweet smell of baby skin, feeling more in love than ever with our partner.

What Foods Increase Milk Supply?

These foods have all been suggested to increase the milk supply. But do they actually work? If only it was that easy! While trying different foods can have nutritional benefits, there is no evidence that anyone food will increase milk production.

Postpartum Nutrition – The 4th Trimester

Brooke Bulloch is a Registered Dietitian from Food To Fit Nutrition Inc... This post originally appeared on her site and is reprinted here with permission.

Cesarean Birth: Answers to the Top 10 Questions

One in every four or five babies in North America will be born by cesarean section (C-section). Sometimes, the C-section is planned in advance; others are done with little or no warning due to last-minute complications.