Nursing mothers with a low milk supply can boost their breast milk naturally by eating foods that increase milk supply. Breast milk is a baby’s only source of nourishment, so it is crucial your body makes adequate amounts of it. These foods will help your body do this.
As a breastfeeding mother, there is no moment when your body is not producing milk for your baby.
Many nursing mother report being constantly hungry – the consequence of the extra calories their bodies use up for every ounce of milk produced. It’s therefore necessary to eat nutritious foods.
Foods That Increase Milk Supply While Breastfeeding
Producing enough milk is a source of worry for many breastfeeding mothers, but you need not worry as we have listed 10 top foods that increase milk supply.
Avocado is a nutritional powerhouse for breastfeeding mothers.
A common issue in the early weeks and months of breastfeeding is hunger because of the caloric demands of breastfeeding, which is often made worse by the fact that breastfeeding mothers have little time to prepare meals and even to eat.
Avocados are mostly 80% fat, which helps keep you full while giving your body heart-healthy fats. They are also a rich source of vitamin K, potassium, vitamin C, folate, B vitamins, and vitamin E.
Nuts are one of the most nutritious foods that increase milk supply. They are filled with necessary minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, B vitamins, and vitamin K. They’re also a nutritious source of protein and fatty acids.
Besides their rich nutritional content, nuts are known to be lactogenic (which means they help in milk production).
What’s more, they have been part of traditional Ayurvedic medicine for ages. Almonds, in particular, were not only written about a lot in Ayurvedic literature but are one of the most commonly used lactogenic foods.
Oats are great for breastfeeding mothers as they help increase milk supply. But besides its milk-boosting abilities, oats have tons of benefits for nursing mothers.
They’re a rich source of fiber, carbohydrates (milk production requires a lot of energy!), minerals, and vitamins. Also, oats help lower blood sugar levels, relieve constipation, and keep you full.
Mushrooms are not typical lactogenic food, but certain species of mushrooms are great sources of polysaccharide beta-glucan, the lactogenic compound responsible for the galactagogue abilities of oats and barley.
Since barley and oats have proven lactogenic abilities, we can rightly deduce that foods rich in beta-glucans (like mushrooms) can have similar lactogenic effects.
Lactating mothers who eat more beta-glucan-rich foods like barley, yeast, oats, certain species of mushrooms, and algae/seaweed are bound to experience an increase in milk production.
Reishi, shimeji, shiitake, oyster, and maitake mushrooms are the species of mushroom with the highest beta-glucan content.
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5. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are rich sources of minerals, protein, phytoestrogens, and vitamins. Chickpeas have been used as a galactagogue (an agent that boosts breast milk supply) since time immemorial.
Beans and legumes are staple foods in Middle Eastern, North African, and Mediterranean cuisine, which makes them one of the most accessible galactagogues.
Though chickpeas are the most commonly used lactogenic legumes, there are a lot more. For example, soybeans have the highest quantity of phytoestrogen among beans.
Eating beans and legumes is only great for your general health, but also to ensure a healthy milk supply.
6. Green Leafy Vegetables
In Thailand, a nursing mother’s first line of action against low milk supply is to take vegetables. While there is no recent published research on the lactogenic abilities of green leafy vegetables, taking more vegetables is of benefit to you and your baby.
Green leafy veggies have phytoestrogen, which has been proven to have a great effect on milk production. Nursing mothers may worry that taking green leafy veggies like broccoli or cabbage will raise fussiness and gassiness in their babies.
This is not true: The carbohydrate content of these veggies responsible for the gas does not get into breast milk.
7. Sesame Seeds
Nursing mothers can use sesame seeds to increase breast milk supply as it is filled with estrogen-like plant properties and calcium.
Sesame seeds are versatile. They can be eaten alone, used as topping for salads, ingredients in recipes, or added to other seeds, dried fruits, and nuts in a trail mix.
Apricots are in the almond family and provide a lot of nutrients and health-boosting bioactive compounds. Apricots are also believed to raise prolactin hormone levels to increase breast milk supply.
Fresh or dried apricot can be added to cereal, cereal, dessert, and porridge to get its benefits. You should avoid canned apricot with syrup, as it has a high sugar content.
Carrot is a fiber-filled root vegetable that adds color and essential nutrients to a breastfeeding mother’s diet. Raw carrots can either be eaten with peel in salads and sandwiches or used as an ingredient in other dishes.
Regular intake of carrots will give nutrients and could also raise your breast milk supply. Phytoestrogen in carrots may be the reason for carrot’s lactogenic properties.
The intake of fennel when breastfeeding is common because of its reported lactogenic effects. Fennel has phytoestrogens that can boost milk supply. Also, a study has revealed its health benefits, like enhanced digestion.
Fennel powder can be added to stews, curries, porridge, and soups. It can also be drank as fennel water or fennel tea.
There it is, 10 foods that increase milk supply. You can try them all, but you should know feeding your baby comes first.
So If your body is not making sufficient milk for your baby, you can supplement with formula.