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Sometimes a mother has problems with attaining or maintaining an adequate breastmilk supply despite nursing frequently and on the baby's request and despite the baby latching well. She may be pumping using a good electric breast pump for a sick or premature baby. She may have had breast surgery or a breast injury in the past. She can use herbs and/or medications to enhance her milk supply. Things used to increase milk supply are called lactogogues.

Several herbs and/or medications have the effect of increasing the milk supply as long as the mom maintains an adequate demand with frequent nursing or pumping. Fenugreek is the most well known of these herbs. Blessed Thistle also has the effect of increasing glandular tissue growth. Reglan (metaclopromide) and Domperidone (motilium) are normally used to treat digestive disorders but also have the side effect of increasing milk supply. Other drugs do this as well but are not used therapeutically because the cost/benefit ratio is too tilted toward risk. Thorazine (Chlorpromazine) is an anti psychotic drug that is an example of a medication that has a side effect of causing milk supply to increase (sometimes even in non lactating individuals, including males) that is too risky to use as a lactogogue.

Many cultures value specific foods that are felt to be lactogogues, although that may not be the word they would use. One common example that is actually counterproductive is beer. Other common examples that may or may not be effective but certainly can be valued for their nutrition as well as the positive thinking factor are asparagus, oatmeal, black seed (Nigella sativa), bitter melon, brewer’s yeast and B vitamins.

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