Posted by: Admin | March 12, 2011

My week-end post: Ways to Increase a Milk Supply

Cree Elders recommend that new mothers drink fish broth to increase their milk production.

We do not have any data on the effect of fish broth on breastmilk production. Many cultures have different ways to increase the milk supply of breastfeeding mothers. In Mexico, they suggest chocolate, in Lebanon it is onions, and so forth. Most of these beliefs are not proven to be true but, when the practice does no harm and is believed to be true by the local people, it is to be encouraged. In fact, fish broth is very nourishing and is probably a good source of protein and calcium. The only concern would be the growing contamination of Eeyou Itshee’s fish supply. To reduce the risk of contamination, it is important to choose insect-eating fish like Lake Whitefish, Speckled Trout, Cisco, Sucker and Lake Sturgeon. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should try not to avoid eating fish that are likely to have high mercury levels. It is recommended that they eat 2 meals per week of low-mercury fish.

See the Cree Board of Health pamphlet “Fish Facts For Families” for more information.

Research-based ways to increase milk production

The more a baby is at the breast, the more he “orders” his milk, just as when you order food from a restaurant. You will get less if you order less, and more if you order more.

–  Breastfeed on demand, whenever the baby wants and according to the baby’s sleep cycle. This helps him order a lot of milk.

–  Breastfeed as long as the baby needs to; do not limit to a number of minutes. Babies are different and will order the amount of milk to meet their hunger.

–  Do not use a pacifier to stretch the time interval between breastfeeds. This will cause your baby to order less milk.

–  Do not give artificial milk (formula), as the baby will not be hungry after. He will not be able to ‘order’ the milk he needs from the breast.

–  Have the baby in skin-to-skin contact with his mother. This stimulates the baby to breastfeed more and it relaxes him.

Remember: Drinking more liquids or drinking cow’s milk will not increase your milk supply. Neither will rest, sleep or eating more. Breastfeeding is a physiological process that follows a simple law: the more your baby orders milk from your breast, the more he receives!



  1. I think I found the research you were looking for:
    “Positive associations have been shown between maternal intake of fish, seafood and omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and/or lactation and visual and cognitive development.”
    You are looking for supporting technical information about Omega 3’s, ( found largely in fish oil) which support proper hormone function in the mother, and infant brain and vision development through breastfeeding.
    Great article!

    • Hello!
      Thank you for your interest in the Cree Breastfeeding Blog and thank you for pointing out this article. Actually, my reference to drinking fish broth for mothers is in regards to increasing your milk production not about the benefits of fish intake by the breastfeeding mother, which are numerous. There is yet no research showing that eating fish increases your milk supply.

      • I think I got a little sidetracked when I was posting, the topic is very interesting to me! lol
        You are right, there are no studies on the effects of fish on lactation, but there is some indirect tie in to omega 3 fatty acids and their support of normal pituitary gland function- the origin of PRL (Prolactin, the milk making hormone). It is *possible* that foods high in fatty acids could help regulate the pituitary gland. I have recently read about some women with PCOS saying that they used omega 3 supplements to normalize hyperprolactinemia, but that’s anecdotal information.

        Love your articles! 🙂

      • Thank you for pointing this out Serena! And thanks for reading me. If you ever find anything interesting in terms of evidence-based data on this subject, please let me know!

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