If you are a nursing mom and are worried that you might not be producing enough milk to support your baby’s growth and development than with this article I’d like to share a few things you can eat in order to increase your milk supply.
Breastfeeding provides lots of benefits for both mom and baby. Your baby gets all the nutrients and antibodies through your breast milk, which can help your baby build a stronger immune system and fight off infections. On the other hand breastfeeding offers a lot of advantages to the mother as well. It can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression. It is important that a mother eats nourishing and nutrient-rich foods while breastfeeding, as during this time there is an increased demand for most nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals, which are passed to the baby through breast milk.
Below are the foods that I am eating on a daily basis and I believe they make a difference. My baby girl is now 14 months old and we’re still nursing strong. The topic of whether to breastfeed or not and for how long can become long and controversial and is out of the scope of this article, so I will simply say this: do what you feel is right for you and for your baby. Don’t stress (this also can decrease milk supply), and follow your and your baby’s cues. If you are looking to increase your milk supply, the best thing to do is to nurse frequently. This way your body will get the message that it needs to produce more milk. If this is not working properly than the following 10 foods can help boost your milk supply, so try to include them in your daily menu.
Easy and not pretentious oats make for a filling breakfast, and they can help boost your milk supply and keep your energy level constant throughout the day. The saponins contained in them influence the milk-making hormones produced by the pituitary gland. You can make energy bars, oat cookies or warming oatmeal for breakfast.
When you are nursing you need plenty of energy and nutrients that will keep you and your baby strong. Nuts are a great food choice, because they are rich in proteins and healthy fats. The amino acids in nuts are important building blocks for serotonin, which is a necessary neurotransmitter for lactation. The best nuts to boost you milk supply are almonds, so enjoy a handful of almonds as a snack, or if you’re an almond butter addict like me, add some to your oatmeal bowl or toast in the morning.
- Dark leafy greens
They should be a part of your diet even more now, as what you eat while breastfeeding influences both you and your baby. Rich in minerals, such as iron, calcium and vitamins like folate, they are essential to keep your nutrient levels high. I like to make a smoothie (like this one here) adding some spinach, or add them to a main dish (like in the recipes here, here and here).
- Sesame seeds
They are a rich source of calcium (and you need that even more when pregnant and breastfeeding), and can help increase milk supply. You can sprinkle them on your salad, or make hummus with tahini (sesame butter) and other tahini based dips and dressings.
- Fennel and fenugreek seeds
They are part of many lactation teas, so you can either buy commercial lactation teas that contain them, or simply boil them in some water and let them steep for 10 minutes. Drain and let it cool and you have yourself a tea. Fennel and fenugreek seeds are calming and might also help with colicky babies.
Garlic is believed to have a lactogenic effect, but it also gives your milk a different flavor, which many babies prefer. So don’t be shy to add some garlic to your stew or pasta. If you don’t like the flavor than you can also take garlic in capsules.
- Nutritional yeast
Rich in B vitamins and proteins, two important nutrients when breastfeeding, nutritional yeast, as well as brewer’s yeast can help promote milk production. I personally have not tried brewer’s yeast, but use nutritional yeast daily, as I like the slightly cheesy flavor it has. I add it to roasted nuts, and make hemp seed and nutritional yeast dressing for my salads.
Dates can help increase milk supply and increase energy levels. Rich in minerals, such as calcium and potassium, and fiber, they should be on the menu of every nursing mom. You can make delicious desserts with them (like this one here), or simply slice a date and dip in some almond butter for the perfect milk-boosting snack!
A great source of fiber, beans can be good to your digestive system (especially if soaked before they’re cooked) and offer a fantastic source of iron and protein. Don’t worry; they won’t give your baby gas, promise.
Breast milk is composed mainly of water, so it goes without saying that staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water is very important to keep your milk supply. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids on a regular basis. Personally I find myself thirsty in the night as well, so I always have a jug full of water at my nightstand, which is empty by the morning.
I hope you found this article of help. Take care of yourself during this wonderful period by eating nourishing foods and bonding with your little bundle of joy!