Our Top 10 Tips for Low Milk Supply

Our Top 10 Tips for Low Milk Supply - The Sabi

By Hilary Metcalfe 

Breastfeeding is a beautiful, yet often challenging journey. It's not uncommon to encounter nursing  hurdles along the way. Whether you're a new mum or have been breastfeeding for a while, a breastfeeding crisis, like occasionally low milk production or a continually dropping supply can feel overwhelming. So here are our ten experience and science-backed tips, trued and true nursing support to help you navigate through breastfeeding challenges along your journey from me and my Co-Founder Anna. 

Both of us experienced our share of breastfeeding issues from blocked ducts, to mastitis, fevers, inflammation under AND overproduction, cracked nipples and horrible nipple pain! We are sharing the advice and nursing troubleshooting tips we learned from other experienced mamas, several lactation consultants, maternity nurses, our midwives and even the support of a postpartum doula. Here is what worked for us. It’s not a catch-all with solutions for everyone and excludes mastitis and overproduction, as that is a whole separate article. Still, we hope it will serve you on your breastfeeding journey.

Big Breath… a little perspective 

It’s important to remember that things move so quickly with your baby and your body, in the newborn phase especially. It may seem like what you are dealing with is the new norm, but it’s likely only a blip. This is especially true when you are dehydrated, undereat or are stressed. Also, from the return of your period! I noticed a dip in supply the days before and first days of my first period, which returned quicker than expected (3 months postpartum) throwing me for a loop and desperate googling. 

Likewise, if you are experiencing any pain whilst breastfeeding (or have negative associations with it for any reason) your body may start to react for you in a variety of ways, which is only natural but may not be what you consciously want. So before you go on dizzying web searches, take a pause and try the easy fixes first, hydrate, eat well, and take a few deep breaths. If it is a bigger issue, persistent please don’t struggle alone!  For your peace of mind and boobs, here are some expert tips with love. 

1. Optimise Your Diet for Milk Production

This is not the time to go on “a diet”. If you don’t eat a balanced, whole-foods diet that is protein-rich, with sufficient calories (you require at least 400 additional calories per day whilst breastfeeding), rich in healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, your body will draw on its own stores and nutrients. This can lead to vitamin deficiencies, exhaustion, and weight loss from wasting (muscle loss NOT fat loss! Not the type weight loss you want) and exacerbate stress, inflammation and hormonal imbalance, which you may already be at risk of in postpartum.

Scientific Insight: According to a study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," a mother's diet significantly influences the composition of breast milk. To boost milk production, ensure you're well-hydrated and consume at least 1-1.5g of protein per pound of body weight1.

We have a few recipes specifically targeting breastfeeding on The SABI’s Conscious Collective

2. Stay Hydrated with Electrolytes

Dehydration impacts cognitive function, energy and milk supply.  
Breastfeeding is thirsty work. You require more fluids that hydrate you than normal. Signs you may be dehydrated: reduced milk supply, headaches, brain fog, chapped lips, or darker than usual urine. 

TIP: Hydrate throughout the day, before and after feeding. And water may not be enough. Consider a sugar-free electrolyte supplement or lightly salting your water with high-quality, unbleached sea salt. Trust us, it works.  

3. Supplements that Help: Magnesium and Omega-3 (and the herbs and supps that don’t)

There are a few key nutrients and minerals most of us are deficient in and can benefit from, especially whilst breastfeeding and postpartum, such as:

  • Vitamin D3 + K2
  • Magnesium
  • Omega-3 fatty acids 

Magnesium is known for its relaxing properties, it can aid lactation and may even help your baby sleep better! Vitamin D ensures that you maintain optimal bone density and minimises the risk of bone-related issues (the nutrient leaching mentioned above) as well as your baby’s calcium absorption from your milk.

Omega-3 fatty acids, crucial for both mum and baby, have been linked to improved lactation outcomes, reducing inflammation (in the lactating parent) and improving breastmilk quality. The fatty acid composition of breast milk is influenced by the mother's dietary intake. If a mother's diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, it contributes to the levels of these nutrients in breast milk.

This made me feel better during bouts of underproduction, having a quality-over-quantity mindset. 

In contrast, some supplements and meds may reduce production: antihistamines, some oestrogen-containing birth control, high doses of vitamin B6 and Pseudoephedrine (found in some decongestants) for example. 

4. Soothing Herbs for Lactation Support

At The SABI, we draw on ancient herbal wisdom, science and medicine with the support of Microbiologists, Naturopathic Doctors and Obstetrician/Gynaecologists for safety.  The SABI harnesses the power of plants in our unique infusion blends for soothing, calming, micronutrient support, milk flow and production. Our Calming SERENITY Herbata and NOURISH Breastfeeding Blend infusion contain therapeutic dosages of these calming, powerful herbs to support lactation and provide a nurturing experience for both mum and baby. For milk supply and micronutrient boost: take 1L per day of the intensive NOURISH infusion for two weeks straight and you should notice a positive impact on milk supply same day or within 2 days. 

Diving into the benefits of these powerful herbs:

  • Oat Straw: known for its calming effects, Oat Straw may help reduce stress and anxiety, positively impacting lactation.
  • Stinging Nettles: rich in vitamins and minerals, Stinging Nettles can contribute to overall health and well-being during breastfeeding.
  • Lavender: with its calming aroma, Lavender may promote relaxation, potentially enhancing the breastfeeding experience.
  • Moringa: packed with nutrients, Moringa has been traditionally used to support lactation and boost energy levels.

In contrast, other herbs are known for their “drying” effects and may reduce production, which you may want to avoid especially in any concentrated dosage e.g. parsley, mint, thyme and sage. 

5. Optimise Pumping and Feeding Timing

Milk production is highest in the morning, peaking between 4/5 am and until 1pm. Aim for more frequent pumping sessions, not longer ones, during this window to maximise your natural productivity. 

6. Prioritise Shorter, More Frequent Feeding Sessions

Frequent feeding is known to better stimulate milk production. Research in the "Journal of Human Lactation" suggests that shorter, more frequent sessions may be beneficial for milk supply. Listen to your baby's cues and adjust feeding patterns accordingly.

7. Boobie Spa: Nourish and Protect Your Nipples and Decolletage 

In my case, most of my angst, pain and difficulty came from extremely sensitive nipples, itchy breast skin and (mentally, watching the stretch marks form). If this is you, treat your breasts to a Boobie Spa! For cracked nipples or nipple soreness, opt for a cool patch (frozen cotton pads with chamomile tea will do, or also specific nipple shield silicone pads in fridge) and lanolin-based nipple creams. Lanolin is a (sheep’s wool derived) natural emollient that soothes and moisturises, look for sustainably sourced and organic lanolin. 

For a vegan option, consider nipple balms with plant-based ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil and calendula for soothing. We like WELEDA’s that is organic, all-natural and doesn’t need to be wiped off before feeding.

Though stretch marks may not be totally preventable, you can minimise them and definitely support your decolletage and hardworking boobie skin -the area of your body that often shows ageing and skin damage first from all that ballooning and emptying. Give those beauties some loving ageing, nourishing and smoothing support whilst breastfeeding with our Prebiotic Face & Body Cream. It contains hyaluronic acid and the coveted omega-9 fats from macadamia oil for minimising and preventing stretch marks as well as prebiotics to support skin healing and nourishment.  

If you can, implement this routine daily and from the outset to protect your boobs a few time after feeding: nipple balm, ice them and gently massage in moisturiser. We both added this boobie spa to our nighttime skincare rituals. 

8. Warm, Cold and Cabbage Compresses for Comfort

Ease discomfort with warm compresses before pumping or feeding to promote letdown. Warm showers before also help stimulate flow, let down and assisting with blockages.

For soreness, use cold compresses after sessions. Cold cabbage leaves can provide relief – refrigerate and apply for around 20 minutes. This was a life saver when I experienced engorgement and bouts of fevers or inflammation. 

TIP: drag a fork over the leaves or poke little holes in the leaves to release the phytochemicals and let the enzymes do their work. Some babies may be sensitive to the smell and so you can wipe away about 15 mins before feeding to please everyone involved. 

9. Professional Guidance Matters

If you are facing an issue that may be more stress related, emotional or psychological in nature, either from a hormone induced dip (maybe just from your period returning) or postpartum depression, than your milk supply may be affected and you need more support than the tips herein can provide. Here’s a key article Anna wrote on that here based on her experience with postnatal depression (PPD or PND) that may help, but please don’t struggle alone! You don’t have to, nor should you.

If you're facing persistent challenges, seek guidance from a lactation consultant or (mental) healthcare professional. Individualised advice can make a significant difference in overcoming specific breastfeeding hurdles, because your breastfeeding journey is unique. There's no one-size-fits-all solution. 

10. Support, Self-Compassion and Grace

It’s not ‘breast is best’ but a fed baby and happy mama that’s truly best. Whether  you go for breast, formula, or a combination, do what you can and don’t beat yourself up about the outcome. Be gentle with yourself and acknowledge the effort you're putting in. It’s no easy feat to feed a newborn, especially with breastfeeding challenges. 

Surround yourself with a supportive community, online and in person. There should be no judgment on how you decide to feed your baby. Share your concerns, seek advice, and let the love and encouragement from your community uplift and remind you that you are absolutely amazing for bringing a newborn into this world. 

Anna & Hilary

Hilary is the Co-Founder of the SABI, a Holistic Nutritionist, natural, whole foods Chef, product developer and advocate for women getting to know their bodies, cycles and selves better. Born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Baja California, Mexico, she now lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with her partner Kees, a curly-tailed rescue dog from Curacao, Flint and her rainbow baby, Paloma. 


Created as a brand to help women navigate the toughest moments in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum — and practically every stage of life –– The SABI aims to change the narrative around our hormones from one of taboo, embarrassment, and loneliness to awareness and pride. As more than a wellness brand, The SABI offers a carefully-crafted line of products to carry you through your hormonal journey, including rituals, supportive tools, and ancient herbal remedies that have been tested time and time again by women and now come backed by medicine. The SABI is a blend of science and nature conceived by women who have experienced the joys and deep struggles of bringing a child into the world, the pains of a heavy, difficult period, miscarriage, and difficulty conceiving.
We offer you an invitation to get to know your body and its cycles better –– an invitation to really understand what is going on inside. Learn to use your hormonal cycle to your advantage no matter your stage of life, and know that you can support and balance your hormone levels. Look for the right sources of information. Know that there is help, and know that you’re supported.

The SABI blog and articles are not meant to instruct or advise on medical or health conditions, but to inform. The information and opinions presented here do not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals for your unique situation. 


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