As a breastfeeding mum, making sure that your milk supply is up to par is a top priority. Some foods have been touted to help increase breast milk supply, and many lactating mothers swear by them.
While the breastfeeding superfoods in this post have not been scientifically proven to be lactogenic, many of them have been in use for many years and contain a nutrient-rich mix of healthy antioxidants, vitamins, fats, minerals, and phytonutrients that are ideal for a breastfeeding mother.
Whether you prefer an oat-filled lactation cookie, oat milk, or good old oatmeal, oats have long been touted as one of the most effective foods at increasing milk supply. According to lactation experts, this whole-grain may help to increase milk production due to its high levels of iron, although there is very little scientific evidence that proves this to be true.
This herb is commonly used to make breastfeeding supplements. Several theories suggest that fenugreek stimulates sweat production, and since the breast is somewhat a modified sweat gland, milk ducts are stimulated when the herb is ingested. Many women who consume this claimed galactagogue have reported an increase in milk production within 24-72 hours of consumption. You can drink fenugreek in tea as well as in other forms.
Spinach is an iron-rich vegetable that lactating mothers are encouraged to consume to replenish iron levels, especially if they dropped as a result of postpartum hemorrhage during birth. One study has indicated that low iron levels affect milk supply, so if you are having trouble breastfeeding, you may want to ask your doctor to check your iron levels. Other iron-rich foods you can eat include liver, chickpeas, beans, and other leafy greens.
Fennel is a leafy vegetable in the carrot family that is believed to be a galactagogue. Fennel seeds are crunchy, with a licorice flavor to them. They are commonly found in lactation teas and cookies. Fennel seeds contain phytoestrogens, which are similar to the estrogen hormone that is naturally produced in the human body. A handful of studies have found that consumption of fennel seeds can increase milk supply and fat content. You can find fennel at a specialty grocery store or your local farmer’s market.
5. Brewer’s yeast
While brewer’s yeast may be mainly recognized as an ingredient used in the production of beer, it is also to be considered a galactagogue. Brewer’s yeast is high in vitamin B, which can help to boost your energy levels. It is generally safe to consume while breastfeeding, but its full effects on lactation need to be researched further. You can find it at your local natural foods shop and consume it by putting in bread or other baked goods.
Although there is not much evidence to show that eating certain foods can boost your milk supply, several studies suggest that some ingredients might be beneficial. So if you think that your milk production needs a bit of a boost, you can try adding a few of the mentioned galactagogues to your diet. However, if your milk supply is lower than usual, inform your doctor or lactation consultant.