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Help with Low Breast Milk Supply



Our mission at Mothers’ Milk Bank of Tennessee is to provide safe, pasteurized donor human milk to the most vulnerable babies. At this time, we must prioritize our donor milk for medically fragile infants in need of life-saving nutrition in a hospital setting. As we continue to increase our number of donor moms, we hope to open an outpatient program in the future. 


We often receive calls and messages from breastfeeding moms worried about their supply. While we are not able at this time to provide donor milk in an outpatient setting at this time, we are passionate about supporting ALL breastfeeding mothers because we are on a mission to improve outcomes for Tennessee’s infants. 


If you are struggling with a low supply, first, we want to applaud your desire to provide the best nutritional option for your baby. You may be feeling overwhelmed and disappointed. Please take a moment to take a moment to celebrate every drop of breast milk that you have been able to provide for your baby thus far. Next, take a deep breath because there are many great resources available to you to help you increase your supply. 


The best thing you can do to increase your milk supply is to contact an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) near you. An IBCLC is the highest accredited healthcare professional specializing in lactation. You can find an IBCLC near you by clicking here. An IBCLC can guide you through your breastfeeding challenges, like low milk supply, pain when breastfeeding, plugged ducts and much more. If your baby is struggling to latch or isn’t gaining weight properly, an IBCLC can determine how to improve feedings, develop feeding plans, and even provide a referral to another healthcare professional if your condition needs further attention.


If you are worried about the cost of seeking professional help from an IBCLC, please know there are many affordable and often free options available. Today, most insurance policies are required to provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. Please contact your insurance provider by calling the phone number on the back of your insurance card to find out what services are available to you as a breastfeeding mother. As of June 1, 2023, mothers with TennCare Medicaid (including TennCareSelect) and CoverKids coverage may receive lactation consultation services from in-network providers as a separate, reimbursable benefit. Lastly, many of the birthing hospitals in Tennessee provide in-patient and outpatient lactation services for free. Please contact your local birthing hospital to find out if there are lactation services with an IBCLC available. 


In addition to seeking help from an IBCLC, we would like to share four evidence-based tips… 


  1. Stimulate your breasts by breastfeeding or pumping at least seven times throughout each day. Breastfeeding or pumping frequently is the best way to increase your milk supply. 

  2. Prioritize rest and relaxation- We know that a new baby and rest and relaxation don’t go hand-in-hand. However, stress and lack-of-sleep could be contributing factors to your low-supply. Give yourself a pass to take it easy. Seek and accept help from others so that you can adequately care for yourself. 

  3. Stay hydrated and eat well! Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Your liquid intake can impact how much breast milk you can produce. Remember that big water bottle from the hospital, keep it full of water and nearby especially while you feed. Try to incorporate healthy snacks in between meals. Make sure you are eating enough to replenish those extra calories you are burning by breastfeeding. 

  4. Practice skin-to-skin contact with your baby. The more that you and baby are together, the easier it is for you to recognize your baby’s early feeding cues which will lead to breastfeeding frequently, and a greater milk volume will be stimulated.


Written by: 

Director of Donor Services, Angela Plunkett BSN, RN, IBCLC, DipACLM

Director of Marketing, Amy Painter


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