• Dr Kate Naylor

Can you take a medication to improve milk supply?

This is a very common question.

There have been studies that show that a mother's milk supply may improve significantly if she uses a medication called a galactogogue.

This is a medication that promotes the production of milk.

In the past mothers have used herbal substances like fenugreek and blessed thistle, and lactation cookies to augment their supply. However quality evidence is lacking to prove that these actually work.

Medications such as domperidone (Trade name Motilium) and metoclopramide (Trade name Maxolon) have traditionally been used in post-operative nausea and vomiting and chemotherapy. When given in large amounts intravenously, for periods of time, both male and female patients could show signs of lactation.

Nowadays these prescription medications are often used to augment a breastfeeding mother's milk supply. Domperidone seems to be better tolerated by the patient than metoclopramide.

The usual dose is 1 tab three times a day. Sometimes we increase to 2 tabs three times a day. Mothers can use this for a week or more to boost supply. In prolonged use, it is a good idea to consider performing an ECG (electrocardiogram) as this medication can uncommonly cause changes in heart electricity conduction.

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