Reglan and milk production

My wife recently was prescribed Reglan to increase her milk production. We have a healthy four month-old boy. My wife has no health problems. She has experienced a very noticeable increase in milk volume after being on the Reglan for about a week. Do you have any experiences to relate or advice for those who are using or planning to use this drug?



Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Dear Bill,

I am glad to hear your wife has seen an increase in her milk production from the use of Reglan (metoclopramide.) Reglan is a prescription medication that is sometimes used to help increase the volume of breastmilk produced, by stimulating the secretion of prolactin.

Don't forget a tried-and-true method of increasing your milk production while using Reglan. To increase an insufficient (or dwindling) milk supply, breastfeed (and express your milk) frequently throughout the day and night, making sure your baby is properly positioned at the breast and able to maintain a proper attachment throughout a good feed (with active swallowing.)

When working to increase a seriously diminished milk supply, it is very important to work with a Lactation Consultant. You need to find out why you milk supply was not adequate, and correct the problem. Maybe it was that your baby had a poor suck, or was hospitalized for a long period of time. Perhaps, you are an adoptive parent, working to build a supply without the benefit of pregnancy. In any case, a Lactation Consultant will look at your special situation and make recommendations accordingly.

Since Reglan is a prescription medication, it should only be used when truly indicated. Reglan may help increase milk production, but it may do so while increasing the incidence of anxiety, depression, headaches, stomach cramps, diarrhea and sleepiness in the mother. I have seen no reports of adverse affects to the infant (and indeed, Reglan is used to treat infants with gastroesophageal reflux.) The amount of the medication your baby receives through your milk is minimal, in comparison with the dosage used for infants with reflux. Reglan should still be used with caution while working on increasing your milk supply.

Several good studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Reglan when used in the proper dose (30-45 mg/day). Results may be seen in as little as 3 days. When using Reglan to increase your milk supply, many Health Care Providers recommend use for no more than 10 days to 2 weeks. Dosage should be tapered off over the last few days of treatment, as milk supply may drop when the drug is discontinued. Best wishes for an abundant milk supply!

References: Medications and Mothers' Milk, Thomas Hale, R.Ph., Ph.D., 1996 Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, Riordan & Auerbach, 1993)


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