Solution to increase postpartum milk secretion for mothers

Breast milk is the best food for the health and comprehensive development of children. So, how to make breast milk abundant and of good quality so that we can fully breastfeed our baby for the first 6 months and continue breastfeeding until 24 months of age or longer?

First of all, we need to understand the basic mechanism of breast milk secretion:

  • Lactation is controlled and maintained by two main hormones: prolactin and oxytocin. When the baby sucks the breast, sensory-nerve impulses from the mammary gland reach the brain, stimulating the pituitary gland to secrete prolactin and oxytocin.
  • Prolactin enters the bloodstream and reaches the mammary glands, stimulating cells to secrete milk. Prolactin levels in the blood reach a maximum about 30 minutes after a feeding, helping to create milk for the next feeding. The current feeding is when the baby is drinking milk that has been stored in the breast.
  • Oxytocin enters the bloodstream and reaches the mammary gland, causing smooth muscle cells to contract and eject milk through the ducts to the milk sinuses and along the vessels to the tip of the nipple.
  • In breast milk, there is a substance that reduces or inhibits milk production. This substance will act on milk-secreting cells to stop milk secretion when the breast is full of milk. This protects the breasts from the harmful effects of being too full with milk.

Thus, to increase postpartum milk production for the mother, solutions will be implemented to ensure: (1) The mother has enough “raw materials” to create milk: nutrients, water; (2) Mothers increase prolactin secretion to stimulate cells to secrete milk; (3) Mothers increase oxytocin secretion to stimulate milk ejection (milk ejection); (4) Clear milk ducts for good milk ejection; (5) Reduces the activity of lactation reducing/inhibiting substances.

Some specific solutions to increase postpartum milk production for mothers:

  • Ensuring nutrition for breastfeeding mothers: Normally, if the mother’s nutrition before and during pregnancy is good, achieving a weight gain of 9-12 kg, her breastfeeding diet needs to ensure energy. increase about 500 kcal/day, food needs to be diverse, easy to digest, rich in nutrients, especially protein. The daily diet should be divided into several meals a day (3-6 meals/day). In particular, mothers must drink enough water (about 2.5-3 liters of water/day).

  • Breastfeed your baby immediately after birth and breastfeed regularly, especially at night: stimulates the mother to secrete prolactin and oxytocin through the baby’s sucking, especially prolactin is secreted a lot at night.

  • Breastfeed your baby properly: This is especially important. Because, incorrect breastfeeding techniques not only cause pain to the mother, the baby does not get enough milk, so they cry, prolonging the breastfeeding time, but when the breast is engorged with milk due to not being fully sucked, it reduces and inhibits milk production. In addition, children who do not get enough milk because they do not breastfeed properly will not gain weight, but it will make the mother think that it is because she does not have enough milk or because the milk is not “quality” enough. This mentality will negatively affect both milk secretion and milk squirt.

  • Create conditions for mothers to always be next to their children to see them, caress them, caress them, hear them cry, and talk to them; In particular, mothers should be close and have fun with their children before breastfeeding because these things help mothers increase oxytocin secretion.

  • Emptying the breast after breastfeeding will reduce the activity of substances that reduce/inhibit milk production, by: letting the baby drain the milk or expressing all the milk to stimulate the breast to continue making milk; If the baby cannot suckle one or both breasts, milk needs to be expressed to help stimulate the breasts to continue making milk.

  • Regularly massaging the breasts helps mothers increase the secretion of prolactin and oxytocin. In addition, breast massage also helps dissolve frozen milk clots in the mother’s breasts, helping to clear the milk ducts for a better milk squirting reflex.

  • Reinforce the mother’s belief in the benefits of breastfeeding and always have faith in her ability to produce milk, as these peaceful feelings will support the oxytocin reflex to function properly.

  • Help the mother always have a comfortable and positive mentality, especially getting enough sleep while raising the baby, because it will help the oxytocin reflex work well.

Specialist level 2 doctor. Nguyen Chi Thanh


  1. Ministry of Health (2015), Nurturing young children (issued together with Decision No. 5063/QD-BYT dated December 5, 2014 of the Ministry of Health).

  2. Electronic information page of Tien Giang Center for Disease Control, accessed April 28, 2024.

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