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How to Boost Milk Supply During Your Menstrual Cycle

Updated: 7 days ago



Has your menstrual cycle returned even though you're breastfeeding? Return of menses varies greatly and is dependent on so many factors! In my experience, most new moms experience return of menses somewhere between 6 and 12 months but it's not uncommon to have your first cycle postpartum even later if you're breastfeeding! Menstrual cycles are hormone driven and, once well established, milk production and supply are also hormone driven. It's this rise and fall of menstrual hormones that can impact milk supply for some lactating women. The good news is, this dip is generally temporary, predictable and manageable! If you don't experience a noticeable drop, this is normal too!


How Hormones Impact Supply

After ovulation, estrogen/progesterone rise and calcium falls. Some lactating women are sensitive to this increase and may experience a noticeable drop in milk production. Your baby may be fussier, wants to eat more frequently or takes longer to get satisfied at the breast. This is completely normal and your baby's way of stimulating your supply. This rise in hormones will occur month after month for each cycle but there are strategies that can help you manage this temporary dip.


Give Your Supply a Nudge!

First, make sure you're covering the basics for effective lactation management. These include: feeding on demand until satisfied, pumping for any feeds that you are separated from your baby (or anytime you supplement) and maintaining adequate hydration/nutrition.


Tips from the expert:

  1. Snuggle in! If you can, take some extra snuggle time with your little one! Skin to skin, baby wearing and close contact can all boost your milk making hormones. This is great practice all the time and not just around that time of the month!

  2. Strategies to remove more milk during breastfeeding: Have you tried some "hands-on" breastfeeding? Breast compressions during breastfeeding (when your baby pauses) is a great way to encourage continued suckling and can help empty the breast more efficiently. More milk removed = more milk produced!

  3. Strategies to remove more milk with pumping: Can you manage some extra pumping sessions? Before you go to sleep is an ideal time to sneak in some extra stimulation especially if your baby is sleeping through the night! Consider pumping a little after breastfeeds in the days before your cycle to provide extra stimulation to boost supply. Or if you are exclusively pumping, a power pumping episode once a day can be helpful if you can manage it in your schedule.

  4. Calcium/Magnesium: Consider a daily calcium (500-1000 mg)/magnesium (250-500 mg) supplement for about 3 days before your cycle through 3 days after the start. This may help counteract the drop in calcium levels but talk to your care provider to make sure it's an appropriate supplement based on your unique health profile.

  5. Herbal galactagogues: You may find taking an herbal supplement known to boost milk supply is helpful around that time of the month. These include moringa, fenugreek, shatavari and others. Be careful though, they each have a unique profile of risks and benefits so it's best to consult with an experienced IBCLC or herbalist to determine which are most appropriate for you. Sometimes it takes a little trial and error to determine proper dosing, when to start in relation to your cycle and how many days to continue for desired effects. If you choose the galactagogue route, start low and go slow as you don't want to inadvertently trigger an oversupply.

When to Call For Help

Always seek professional assistance with an IBCLC if your supply does not rebound after your period starts, you notice a steady decline or if there are concerns about your baby. Quite often, the sooner you seek hands-on help, the better the outcome!


In conclusion, in the majority of cases, cyclical dips in supply are normal, predictable and will rebound as hormones stabilize. It can be frustrating and worrisome but the management strategies presented can be helpful in most cases. Keep calm, continue breastfeeding and seek expert care if you continue to have concerns. If you don't have a local IBCLC you are working with or want a medical investigation for persistent low supply, please reach out and I'm happy to help!


Information presented is educational only and not to be taken as medical advice. If you have specific questions or concerns, let’s do an in-home or video visit and talk about it!



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