Throughout the world, women in different cultures eat certain milk-making foods right after childbirth and while they’re breastfeeding. Some of these foods are full of vitamins and minerals, and others contain chemical properties that may aid in the production of breast milk. Whatever the reason, these breastfeeding superfoods are believed to promote and support a healthy supply of breast milk. Here are the best foods to increase breast milk supply.
These aromatic seeds are often touted as potent galactagogues. They contain estrogen-like compounds that are thought to enhance milk flow, and one small study did find that women who drank fenugreek tea three times a day produced significantly more milk compared to those who didn’t. But there’s no widespread evidence to suggest that fenugreek works to increase breast milk supply, so some pediatricians don’t recommend fenugreek. Another thing to keep in mind? Some moms who use fenugreek report that it seems to make their babies gassier. Fenugreek can also exacerbate asthma, so should be used with caution in asthmatics.
2. Oatmeal or oat milk
Whether in the form of a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal, a trendy oat milk latte or an oat-filled lactation cookie, breastfeeding moms have long relied on oats to help them make more milk. Why? The whole grain is a source of iron (half a cup of dry oats has close to 2 mg of iron, or around 20 percent of what breastfeeding moms need per day), and low levels of the mineral are known to inhibit milk supply. There aren’t any studies that show eating oats actually helps milk production, though.
3. Fennel seeds
The crunchy, licorice-flavored seeds are another traditional milk booster, and they’re commonly found in lactation cookies and teas. Like fenugreek, fennel seeds contain estrogen-like compounds that are thought to enhance milk supply. And indeed, a handful of small studies have tied fennel seed consumption to greater milk volume and fat content, as well as infant weight gain.
You may have heard that a tall glass of Guinness is the key to healthy breastmilk supply, but Simpson notes that research has shown alcohol can actually inhibit milk production. It’s actually barley, a component of beer, that may be lactogenic. “Barley is the richest dietary source of beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that has been shown to increase prolactin [known as the breastfeeding hormone] levels in both humans and animals,” Simpson writes.
5. Salmon salad and lactation
While breastfeeding it’s essential that you eat plenty of protein, healthy fats, and colorful veggies. This tasty salad recipe combines them all.
Plus, the dressing is made with turmeric and fenugreek, both of which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
6. Green lactation smoothie
When your hands are full taking care of your baby, you may need a quick source of calories. This green smoothie is an easy way to get your veggies in while breastfeeding.
Because it’s vegan, we recommend that you choose a fortified soy or nut milk as a base in order to meet lactation needs.
7. Whole Grains
Whole grains are very nutritious for breastfeeding moms. They’re also thought to have properties that support the hormones responsible for making breast milk. So, eating whole grains may increase your breast milk supply. The most common grain used to make more breast milk is slow-cooked old fashioned oatmeal. You can also try barley, whole grain brown rice, oatmeal cookies, or other foods made from whole grains.
Garlic is very nutritious, and it’s a healthy addition to most diets. It is also believed to be a galactagogue, helping nursing mothers make more breast milk. Even though garlic has a strong odor that does go into breast milk, it seems that some infants like the taste. And, studies show that garlic-flavored milk may help keep breastfed babies nursing longer. On the other hand, some children may not tolerate garlic very well. If your child shows signs of food sensitivity after you eat garlic, you may want to try to avoid the garlic for a while. Follow your little one’s lead. You can add garlic to your diet by using it to flavor many dishes, including vegetables, meats, seafood, pasta, and sauces.
Nuts, especially raw almonds are one of the best foods to increase breast milk supply, which are healthy and full of protein and calcium. Many nursing mothers choose to eat almonds or drink almond milk to increase the creaminess, sweetness, and amount of their breast milk.