35 Best Foods To Increase Breastmilk Supply

The time you’ve become a mother, a lot of things must be running through your mind. Like how to take proper care of your baby and most importantly for few months your baby will only survive on breast milk. Hence, you have to make sure to give your child proper supply of it.

The human species is the only one among mammals in which breastfeeding and weaning are not governed only by instinct.

During the first week after your child is born, you may run into some struggles that can interfere with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed a baby but that doesn’t always mean it’s easy. Therefore, breastfeeding and weaning have to be learned.

At some point during breastfeeding, many new nursing mothers wonder whether their milk supply is enough to satisfy their baby. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions regarding milk supply, causing unnecessary worry and stress. Even if you experience a true lack of milk, there are usually simple solutions that can help build up your production and keep your baby well nourished.

Being Mother provides you a list of items of best food that you must consume in order to increase the supply of your breast milk. Make sure that you adding all these following things in your diet.

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1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains an amazing array of nutrients like beta-glucans, phytochemicals, protein, fibre, and carbohydrates. This will promote a more lush supply of nourishing milk.

Oatmeal is a great source of iron. Mothers with low iron levels often struggle with a low milk supply and the oatmeal can help with this. Oxytocin and relaxin is released, which stimulates breast milk production and helps with milk flow.

2. Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds contain anethole, which is considered a phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens mimic the properties of the hormone estrogen, which is normally involved in the growth of the mammary glands and increased secretion of milk in women.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that moderate to high doses of anethole-rich fennel may promote growth of breast tissue, increase lactation volume and improve the quality of breast milk.

3. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek appears to be the herb that is most often used to increase milk supply. Fenugreek is a rich source of protein, iron & vitamin C.

Fenugreek or methi seeds has been proved to be a galactagogue which means that consuming these seeds will lead to stimulation of the lactation glands in women, thereby increasing milk supply.

4. Garlic

Garlic contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Garlic is believed to be a galactagogue, and it has been used for many years as an herbal treatment to stimulate breast milk production and increase the supply of breast milk.

It was observed that when breastfeeding mothers consumed garlic, their infants stayed at the breast and breastfed longer. And, since an increase in breastfeeding can lead to an increase in the breast milk supply, this may be one of the reasons garlic can help breastfeeding moms make more breast milk.

5. Black Sesame Seeds

Black Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium, Minerals and omega 6 fatty acid and believed to increase milk supply.

You can consume sesame seeds oil or sesame seeds can also be added in dishes. You can also try having til ke laddoo, which is a sweet. Some people are allergic to sesame seed or sesame oil, they should avoid consuming it.

6. Carom Seeds

It is a commonly used Indian herb. It is known to aid digestion, stomach ache, give quick relief from gas problem & constipation.

In some parts of India, there is a belief that ajwain can increase production of milk in lactating mothers. Consuming ajwain water can greatly improve the lactating mother’s health.

7. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are the good source of protein & fiber. Dietary fiber helps to improve the digestive system.

Pumpkin seeds provide Omega -3 fatty acid those are important for baby’s brain and nervous system development. It is also natural sources of DHA and alpha-linolenic acid which help nursing moms in breastfeeding supply.

8. Carrots

Carrots (Daucus carota) contain alpha- and beta-carotene. A poultice of raw carrots applied to the breast has been used to treat uncomplicated breast engorgement during breastfeeding.

Both beta-carotene and carrot flavor are transmitted into breastmilk. Carrot intake can improve maternal and breastmilk beta-carotene and vitamin A status. Exposure to carrot flavor in breastmilk can improve the future acceptance of carrots by the infant.

9. Barley

Barley (Hordeum vulgare) contains starch, dietary fiber such as beta-glucan, and the enzyme diastase.  Barley is a purported galactogogue and is used by mothers in many cultures to increase their milk supply.

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.

10. Anise Seeds

Anise (Pimpinella anisum), sometimes called aniseed, is an herb from the Apiaceae (parsley) family, which is native to the eastern Mediterranean.

The Anise seeds contains anethole, which is a Phytoestrogen. This means it has estrogen-like effects. Increasing breast milk supply. Treating clogged ducts and other problems in the milk glands, by maintaining a constant milk flow.

11. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are healthy, organic and nutrient dense. Chia seeds are not only a rich source of fiber, protein, calci­um, and magnesium but also have a high omega-3 fatty acid content.

They are not only “safe” during breastfeeding, they are known to increase the production of breast milk. They are also an excellent source of nutrients for the mother while she lactates.

12. Asparagus

Asparagus Racemosus is botanical name of Shatawari/Shatavari. Shatavari is certainly the most popular galactagogue herb. A galactagogue is a substance that increases lactation in humans and other animals.

It contains important minerals like Calcium and zinc and vitamins B. Shatavari can help here by stimulating the female body to release more prolactin hormones.

13. Brown Rice

Brown rice is unprocessed rice. Brown rice not only provides energy to breastfeeding moms but it also improves breast milk production. It is found through researches that brown rice may increase serotonin levels in brain.

Serotonin is involved in prolactin release which is key hormone in lactation. It also maintains sugar levels in your body. It helps to increase the appetite and normalize the mood swings . Brown rice helps new mommies to cope with postpartum sleep patterns.

14. Apricots

Juicy, delicious apricots are full of beta-carotene and fiber. Eating apricots can also boost your breastmilk supply.  They are high in Vitamin A, C, potassium and calcium.

Apricots (especially dried apricots) contain phytoestrogens, which help to balance the hormones involved in lactation.

15. Salmon

Salmon is a rich source of Essential Fatty acids, Omega-3 and Vitamin D which your baby needs for healthy brain development.

Both EFA and Omega-3 are highly nutritious and essential for lactating mothers.Include salmon to your diet and it will surely boost your lactation hormone.

16. Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds help the lactating mothers to increase the milk supply. Hence gives strength to the breastfeeding mother while supplying iron to the baby.

Cumin seeds are considered as fat burners which supports the breastfeeding nutrition to be absorbed by the baby without any bloating. They are also a rich source of iron and help build strength postpartum.

17. Basil Leaves

Holy basil leaves are the good  source of thiamine, iron, niacin, Vitamin K and carotene. It has been used to help nursing mothers to increase milk supply.

Basil leaves are great sources of antioxidants. Intake of tulsi leaves boost immunity of mother & baby and keep your newborn away from many diseases. Tulsi leaves have a calming effect too.

18. Dill Leaves

Dill leaves help in boosting milk production in breastfeeding moms. Dill leaves are high in fiber, the rich source of vitamin K, A, C, antioxidants, and minerals.

They have a high fibre content and Vitamin K. These helps to replenish the blood loss that happens during delivery.

19. Bottle Gourd

Bottle gourd is one of the best vegetables for a mother. Rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin A, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, iron and potassium.

It will keep you hydrated in pregnancy, help in better milk production in breastfeeding, and excellent for weight loss after exclusive breastfeeding.

20. Sweet Potato

Sweet potato can be an ideal evening or mid-morning snack.Sweet potato is a great source of beta carotene and fiber. Beta carotene is known to boost the milk supply quite well.It also contains Vitamin C and B complex vitamins which make it really nutritious for a new mum.

Magnesium found in sweet potato can act as a muscle relaxant and help in better lactation.

21. Almonds

Nuts, especially raw almonds 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.

Almonds are rich in Vitamin E & Omega 3 too. Omega-3 helps to boost lactation hormones. For lactating moms, Intake of almonds and other nuts in your daily diet help to increase breast milk production. You can have peanuts, cashew nuts also along with almonds.

22. Chickpea

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans or Ceci (chi-chi) beans. Breastfeeding women have been eating chickpeas to make more breast milk since the ancient Egyptian times.

Chickpeas are a nutritious food that is high in protein. They also contain plant estrogens that may be responsible for its use as a galactagogue.

23. Drumstick

Moringa/drumstick leaves are powerhouse of nutrients. They are a significant source of vitamins like B, C, K, and A.

They have good amounts of manganese, potassium, proteins and other essential nutrients as well. Calcium is present in amble amounts in drumstick leaves. Moringa leaves helps to increase lactation/breast milk supply in new moms.

24. Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds have sedative properties which help nursing moms to relax and calm down while breastfeeding.

The more relaxed mom feel, more breast milk will produce.

25. Cow Milk

Cow milk has calcium and EFA. It promotes lactation. In fact, by consuming cow milk during lactation, you will help your child avoid developing an allergy to cow milk.

When mothers consume cow’s milk, they have greater amounts of secretory IgA in their breast milk.

26. Yogurt

Yogurt is a great source of probiotics. It also contains high amounts of protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus & vitamin B-12. For lactating moms, It helps to retain protein and calcium in body. Regular intake of yogurt in your diet will boost the immunity and promote a healthy digestive system.

Breastfeeding mom should eat yogurt daily if your baby doesn’t have daily products intolerance.

27. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of animal protein. It contains nutrients, vitamins A, B2, B12, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorous and minerals. Intake of eggs will help you to meet baby’s demand for protein.

Eggs improve breastmilk quantity as well as quality. Try to use DHA-fortified eggs which are helpful for brain development and maintenance.

28. Spinach

Spinach is high in iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamins, and minerals.

These are essential for recouping anemic mothers. It helps nursing moms to recover from post-pregnancy anemia. It also helps to detoxify your body.

29. Ginger

It’s a powerful herb, commonly used in cooking & has medicinal properties.

Ginger is believed to help a mother heal from childbirth. It’s also thought to be a galactagogue which stimulates milk production. Ginger promotes a healthy supply of breast milk for lactating moms.

30. Green Papaya

Papaya is a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals, it is highly recommended for nursing mothers.

Intake of green papaya can boost the production of the oxytocin hormones in your body and hence increase the milk flow. It is a super food that can boost the quantity and quality of your breast milk.

31. Bitter gourd

Green and bitter vegetable is Low in calories, a good source of folates, rich in phytonutrients and dietary fiber.

It helps nursing moms to boost milk supply. It helps to detoxifies the liver and the body and develop immunity It improves digestion, has antioxidant vitamins A & C.

32. Alfalfa

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is one of the oldest, highly nutritious herb. This herb is a rich source of protein, fiber, Vitamin A ,Vitamin C, and minerals.

It is also low in saturated fat , high in antioxidants, used to treat high blood pressure and to detoxify the blood. Alfalfa is believed to be a galactagogue which helps the lactating moms to boost milk production. Alfalfa is the main food source for dairy animals to increase milk production.

33. Turmeric

Turmeric helps nursing moms to increase milk supply and also prevents from breast infections. You should consume this herb in small quantity.

It Acts as an immune booster, as it contains anti-bacterial and antiviral properties. It also helps boost blood circulation and aids in general good health.

34. Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is highly nutritious & made from a fungus. Its rich source of  iron,chromium, protein, vitamin B & other minerals.

It also helps to low cholesterol level in blood. Brewer’s Yeast, a galactagogue used by breastfeeding moms to increase breastmilk production. It is a nutritional supplement during breastfeeding which also combat postpartum exhaustion & baby blue.

35. Dates

During nursing, milk production removes sugar from the blood, so nursing mom needs to balance glucose(sugar) in her body. Dates are best alternative to maintain sugar level in the body. it’s a naturally sweet food.

Dates are very rich in calcium and iron elements which help breastfeeding moms to increase milk production.It is popular lactogenic food for its nutritious benefits. It also contains potassium, Vitamin A, and fiber.

A key to successful breastfeeding is to nurse your baby frequently. Adding these foods to your diet can help to increase your breastfeeding milk supply. Good position & perfect latch are essential for breastfeeding. Keeping your body hydrated and taking enough rest is also important for you.

FOODS TO LIMIT WHILE BREASTFEEDING

Breastfeeding moms don’t need to stress too much about what not to eat while breastfeeding—but it’s important to be aware of the foods that, when consumed in large quantities, can affect baby’s health and impact your milk supply. Here’s a breakdown of the foods to partially avoid while nursing, and why.

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Mothers report that babies most often object to these foods:

  • chocolate
  • spices (cinnamon, garlic, curry, chili pepper)
  • citrus fruits and their juices, like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit
  • strawberries
  • kiwifruit
  • pineapple
  • the “gassy” veggies (onion, cabbage, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, and peppers)
  • fruits with a laxative effect, such as cherries and prunes

A daily cup or two of coffee is fine, but too much caffeine can interfere with your baby’s sleep or make him fussy. Remember that caffeine is also found in some sodas, teas, and over-the-counter medicines.

It’s also okay to have an occasional alcoholic drink, but having more than one drink increases your blood alcohol level to the point that the alcohol gets into your milk. If you plan on having more than one drink at a time, wait two hours per drink before resuming nursing (or nurse, then have your glass of wine). There’s no need to pump and dump unless your breasts are full and it’s still not time to feed your baby.

Moderate or heavy drinking is definitely not recommended while breastfeeding. An old wives tale suggests that dark beer increases milk production, but recent studies suggest this is not true and that alcohol, in fact, reduces milk production.

If your baby has allergy symptoms (such as eczema, fussiness, congestion, or diarrhea), they may be caused by something he’s in regular contact with, such as soap, mildew, or foods your baby is eating. Or your baby may be reacting to foods you eat that get into his system via your breast milk. It usually requires a bit of detective work to figure out exactly what’s causing the sensitivity.

If you think that something you’re eating is causing problems for your baby, it’s usually something you’ve eaten two to six hours before feeding. The most common culprits include cows’ milk products, followed by soy, wheat, egg, nuts, and corn or corn syrup.

Talk to your baby’s doctor before you omit any foods from your diet. If avoiding a food could cause a nutritional imbalance (for example, if you eliminate all dairy products), you may need to see a nutritionist for advice on substituting other foods or taking nutritional supplements. Continue taking your prenatal vitamin as long as your baby’s fully breastfed to cover any gaps in your own diet.

Tips To Increase Breast Milk Supply

The first four to six weeks of breastfeeding are critical for breastfeeding success, especially if you’re a first-time mom. It’s when you and your baby are figuring it all out and finding a routine. It’s also the time when you’re establishing a strong and healthy supply of breast milk.

If you’re like many new moms, you might be worried about making enough breast milk for your baby even after the first few weeks.

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While this is a common fear, there are only a small number of mothers who truly aren’t able to make enough breast milk. If your supply of breast milk is low, it can usually be increased naturally by taking a few easy steps. Confirming your breastfeeding technique and breastfeeding more often are the two most important actions necessary to establish and maintain a healthy supply of breast milk.

  • Nurse, nurse, nurse…

There is nothing that can increase your supply like your baby’s suckling. You see, breast milk creation is all about supply and demand, and it’s a tightly regulated system. Don’t worry if your breasts don’t feel full or think baby isn’t getting much milk, the sucking reflex will help stimulate more milk over the long run. So, anytime you can, bring your baby to the breast and let him nurse, nurse, nurse.

  • Nurse skin-to-skin

When you do nurse, go skin-to-skin. Take off your shirt and bra and keep baby in just a diaper. Wrap a blanket around the two of you and nurse away. This practice is not only incredibly bonding for mama and baby, it also helps release more of the hormones that produce milk as well as the milk ejector hormones. Continue this practice during nap time, bedtime, and throughout night.

  • Put no time limit to nursing sessions

If you are struggling with supply, it’s best not to schedule feedings or limit how much time baby is on each breast. Try to give baby both breasts during each feeding for more overall production. Consider even taking a “nursing vacation” where you spend the weekend in bed with baby and nurse as much as possible.

  • Don’t use pacifiers, bottles or food

These not only satisfy the oral stimulation but can reduce hunger, making the baby less likely to nurse. Talk to your doctor but it’s best to only limit solid food if your baby is less than 6 months and he/she is at a healthy weight.

  • Get enough sleep and stay relaxed

Easier said than done with a newborn but try as best you can. Studies show that mothers produce more milk and have a better milk letdown when they are calm and relax. Nap when baby naps. If you can get a babysitter, neighbor or family member to help out. Cancel or eliminate too many outside activities and keep things simple. Order takeout or better yet have friends or hubby cook you homemade meals in bulk for easy access to nutritious food. Listen to tranquil music, think of flowing streams and trust that you can and will successfully nurse your baby.

  • Watch your diet

Be sure to drink a lot of liquids. I know we hear this all the time but it really does makes a difference. Shoot for at least 12 – 8 oz. glasses a day or drink to thirst. For nutrition, many moms have boosted supply by eating galactagogues like oatmeal, barley, millet and quinoa as well as spices like fennel, ginger and turmeric. Brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, almonds, and sesame seeds can boost your supply.

  • Pump in-between nursings

Pumping can be a great short-term way to keep your breast stimulated and produce more milk. I know from experience that consistent pumping really works! You can do right after a feeding until all of your milk drains from both breasts and then continue for 5 additional minutes. If there is no milk from the beginning, just keep pumping as the stimulation will still help. Aim for 10 minutes for each breast. As an FYI, milk production tends to be highest between the hours of 2-5 a.m. (I plan on asking God about why this is one day ) so you may want to set an alarm and pump during this time as well.

  • Take some helpful supplements

Fenugreek is one of the most popular herbal supplements to boost supply. Brewer’s yeast is another great supplement as are green powders, calcium and bentonite clay due to their calcium and alkalinizing effects. Blessed thistle and alfalfa are natural milk boosters and some say work best in conjunction with fenugreek. As a very last resort, you can talk to your doctor about prescription medication to boost supply.

  •  Make sure latch is right

Obviously, if your baby can’t efficiently drain the breast, you may have problems with supply since the breast isn’t stimulated enough. It can be a simple as correcting a bad latch or addressing any anatomical issues that are preventing a good latch from a baby being lip tied, tongue tied or mama having inverted nipples. The good news is most of these issues can be corrected and baby and mom can be breastfeed successfully. If you’re having any issues in this department, it’s best to see a lactation consultant or seek out your local La Leche League chapter.

  • Switch breasts or double feed

For a sleepy baby that falls asleep before they reach the second breast, stop her a few minutes into nursing and switch her to the other side. By doing so, you have a good shot at keeping her awake to feed more. Keep switching back and forth when you notice her starting to doze off until breasts are drained. You can double feed which is to nurse, take a break by burping baby, and then place her back on for another feed at both breasts. By taking the burping break, you are releasing gas bubbles in her stomach that allow more room for milk.

Increasing milk production when nursing can be a tricky affair, understanding that there are dietary changes needed is not enough, doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise to help boost the mother’s immunity and help the blood circulate better. It is also highly recommended that you meditate and find activities that keep you calm, stress is one of the leading causes of low breast milk production. Communication between your partner, caregivers and doctors will make your life a lot easier.

Hope this article helped you to understand the lactation and how to increase breastfeeding supply.

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