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Prolactin is the hormone that stimulates your breasts to make milk during and after pregnancy.
Not being able to breastfeed due to low milk supply is often the biggest problem with having low prolactin, and is why many mothers seek remedies to increase their prolactin level.
You can increase your prolactin by stimulating your breasts with regular feedings and pumping, and if needed, with prescription medications.
Using Natural Remedies
Stimulate your breasts towards the end of your pregnancy.
Starting about 2 months before the baby is due, start to pump your breasts with an electric pump.
This can stimulate prolactin production.
Start by pumping for 5 minutes, three times daily.
Gradually increase this to pumping for 10 minutes every four hours, and then to 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours.
Keep doing this until the baby is born.
The goal is not to actually produce milk, but to stimulate your nipples and breasts to produce more prolactin.
Pump after you breastfeed.
The more your breasts are stimulated, the more prolactin your body produces.
Breastfeed on a regular schedule as often as you can, and use a mechanical pump daily, even after feedings.
When you start to transition your baby to bottles, formulas, or soft foods, pump your breasts every time you feed your baby.
Pumping after you feed can drain your breast of the milk your baby left behind, stimulating further prolactin production.
Aim to use your pump for 30 minutes on each breast daily.
Try taking fenugreek.
Some mothers find that the herb fenugreek may increase milk supply, likely by increasing prolactin.
Get capsules at your drug store or health food store, or by ordering them online in 610mg capsules.
Try taking 2 capsules 3 times daily with food.
If you have no side effects, you can gradually increase the dose to 4 capsules 3 times daily.
A normal side effect is that your urine and sweat may start to smell like maple syrup.
Diarrhea may occur, but resolves when you stop taking the herb.
Do not take fenugreek if you are pregnant, or have a peanut or chickpea allergy.
Take it with your doctor’s supervision if you’re diabetic or have asthma – asthma symptoms may be worsened, and fenugreek can cause low blood sugar.
It may also affect your thyroid function.
Increase oats, quinoa, and sesame in your diet.
Whole grain oats contain a protein that may increase prolactin, so incorporate them into your meals regularly.
The same goes for quinoa and seeds, especially sesame seeds.
Taking Prescription Medications
Take domperidone (Motilium), if it’s available.
Domperidone can be taken under the supervision of your doctor, and may help boost milk supply by increasing prolactin levels.
Domperidone is not available in all countries.
Discuss all medication usage with your doctor, and only use it as directed.
Do not take domperidone if you have a history of heart problems.
Domperidone is generally considered safer for breastfeeding mothers than metoclopramide, and is in the “safest” category to take while breastfeeding.
Try metoclopramide to boost milk supply, if approved by your doctor.
Metoclopramide (Reglan, Maxolon) indirectly increases your prolactin.
It requires a prescription, so visit your doctor to discuss whether this medication is safe for you to take.
Do not take metoclopramide if you have a history of depression.
Regardless of your mental health history, watch for signs of depression like low mood, crying a lot, lack of interest in things, and feeling suicidal.
Limit the prolactin-decreasing drugs you take.
Some medications decrease prolactin as a side effect.
Never stop taking your medications without talking to your doctor first, but if you’re taking any of the following then discuss your concerns with your doctor.
Ask whether you can use an alternate medication to the following:
Amphetamine (used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy)
Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta)
Histamine H2 receptor antagonists (Ranitidine, Cimetidine, etc.)
Cholinergic agonists (atropine, tiotropium bromide, tropicamide, and more)
Use hormone therapy to mimic pregnancy.
If you need to increase your prolactin but you can’t or don’t want to get pregnant, you may be able to work closely with your doctor to “trick” your body into thinking you’re pregnant.
This involves taking estrogen and progesterone in certain amounts and at certain times, possibly for over 6 months.