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Making More Milk for a Premature Baby

SILKIt is stressful having a premature baby! Some mothers find that they are not producing enough milk despite pumping frequently. There are many reasons this may happen:

  • Do you have a hospital grade pump?
  • Is the pump working well?
  • Are you pumping every 3 hours in the daytime and at least once at night?
  • Are you holding your baby skin-to-skin as much as you can?
  • Review any medications you are taking with our Lactation Consultant.
  • Some birth control medications make your milk production low.

Mothers may take herbs or medications to increase milk supply; your options are:

  1. Reglan (Metoclopramide): a medication used to treat heartburn that increases milk production in many women. The FDA has recently made a 'black box' warning that this medication can lead to rare neurologic side effects (shaking and tight muscles). This happens mostly in the elderly and those who take the medicine for a long period of time. However, you must balance your need for more milk and the risk on side effects for yourself. Please think about what will work best for you and your family.
    1. Very little of the medication gets to the baby from mother's milk
    2. Mothers may have side effects (see attached handout)
    3. If you have a history of depression, you should weigh the risks and benefits of this medication.
    4. Coming off the medication slowly may help prevent decreased milk supply after 2-4 weeks on the medication
    5. Call your OB or primary care doctor to have them prescribe: Reglan, 10mg tablets, 60 pills with two refills, to "take as directed"
    6. We suggest you take the pills as follows:

      For 2-4 weeks to increase
      milk supply, take one pill:
      Day 1
      (to taper off)
      Day 2Day 3Day 4
      3x day2x day2x day1x day1x day, then stop

  2. Fenugreek: an herb that has been used traditionally to increase milk production.
    1. Dose is: 2-3 capsules (580-610 mg each) taken 3 times a day.
    2. This medication may cause your urine to smell like maple syrup!
  3. More Milk Plus: a supplement of fenugreek, blessed thistle, nettle leaf, and fennel seed.
    1. Dose is: 1 mL 4 times a day (weight < 175lbs), or 2 mL 3 times a day (weight > 175 lbs).
    2. Purchase at motherlove.com or health/grocery/lactation stores.
  4. Mothers Milk Tea: Made by Traditional Medicinals, up to three cups a day and can be mixed with other teas for flavor.
  5. Oatmeal: Not instant and for other foods that are good for making milk, go to

The Chester County Hospital Lactaction Consultants: 610.738.2582

Last Updated: 6/23/2011