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Galactagogues (substances claimed to increase supply)

Can special foods really boost my supply?


A galactagogue (pronounced ga-lac-ta-gog) is a food, herb or medication that may help to increase breastmilk supply. You should seek help from a lactation consultant or your doctor before using a galactagogue.

Most galactagogues work by increasing the level of prolactin in the body. Prolactin is one of the many hormones involved in milk production.

There are many substances that are claimed to help mums make more milk. These may be natural (such as herbs) or man-made (such as medications). Many cultures also have special foods that people think can increase milk production. These foods usually contain one or more galactagogues, but most have not been formally studied. Even though some galactagogues have been used for centuries, there isn’t much scientific evidence that they work.1   

You may also have heard of lactation cookies. There is no evidence that these increase milk supply either2, even though they may taste good! 

There are some medicines that can work, but only if you keep on emptying your breasts well and often, at least 8 times in 24 hours. The most common one prescribed in Australia is domperidone (Motilium®). Medicines won’t work for all mums. You will need to have a visit with a lactation consultant or your doctor before using them.

What’s the best way to increase my supply?  

Most mums are able to produce more than enough milk for their baby or babies, especially with the right information and support. Most mums who think that they have a low milk supply may not. 

The most effective way to get a good milk supply going and then keep it up is to breastfeed often. The more milk that is removed from your breasts (and the more often), the more milk you will make. The less milk that is removed, the less milk you will make. This is known as the supply and demand basis of breastfeeding.

If you have a low supply, then the first thing to do is to get help to find out why. Then take steps to improve how you are breastfeeding and/or expressing. Adding a galactagogue may then help to speed up the process.   

If you are concerned about your milk supply, you may find it helpful to speak to one of our trained breastfeeding counsellors on the Breastfeeding Helpline


The information on this website does not replace the advice of your health care provider. 

© Australian Breastfeeding Association March 2023

References and further information

Further information: 

  • Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Clinical Protocol: Galactagogues (2018) 


1. Foong, S. C., Tan, M. L., Foong, W. C., Marasco, L. A., Ho, J. J., & Ong, J. H. (2020). Oral galactagogues (natural therapies or drugs) for increasing breast milk production in mothers of non-hospitalised term infants. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 5(5), CD011505. 

2. Palacios, A. M., Cardel, M. I., Parker, E., Dickinson, S., Houin, V. R., Young, B., & Allison, D. B. (2023). Effectiveness of lactation cookies on human milk production rates: A randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, S0002-9165(23)46266-1.