If you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby, you may be wondering if there are any foods that can help with your breast milk supply. Galactagogues are foods thought to boost your production of breast milk and there happen to be quite a few of them. Packed with nutrients and vitamins that are super important for those who are breastfeeding, filling your diet with these foods, as well as staying hydrated and feeding frequently, can help with your supply. There are also some foods you should be avoiding that can hinder your production. Take a look at the best and worst foods for breast milk supply.
8 Best Foods for Breast Milk Supply
Oats are one of the top recommended foods to eat for breast milk supply, whether in the form of oatmeal, oat milk for your latte or an oat-heavy lactation cookie. Oats are an excellent source of iron, which is key for those who breastfeed, as low iron levels can reduce milk supply.
2. Protein-Rich Foods
Protein-rich foods are known as effective milk boosters. Protein enhances the production of breast milk and passes to the baby to nourish and support growth. If you want to ensure a steady supply of milk, eat plenty of protein-rich foods each day, such as lean meat, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts and seeds. Add some protein to every meal of the day.
3. Lean Meat and Poultry
Lean beef, pork, lamb and poultry are some of the top sources of iron, which as we mentioned before, is super important for those who breastfeed. They’re also excellent sources of protein, which is essential for the production of breast milk.
4. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, parsley, beet greens and dandelion greens may help encourage lactation. They contain essential nutrients and vitamins such as magnesium, vitamin B6, folate and calcium, which are helpful since nutrient deficiencies can become common during pregnancy and lactation.
Pumpkin is another food that has been linked to an increase in milk production due to its high nutrient content. It’s rich in vitamins A, C and E, as well as iron, folate and beta-carotene. Pumpkin is also a great source of fibre. Pumpkin seeds are also beneficial to your diet when breastfeeding as they contain a high dose of iron and fibre. Eat them roasted on their own or add them to salads, bread dough or lactation cookies.
6. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds are often found in lactation cookies and tea for a reason. The liquorice-flavoured seeds contain estrogen-like compounds that are thought to boost milk supply. They’ve been found to enhance milk volume and fat content, as well as help your baby gain more weight.
7. Brewer’s Yeast
Some people have found that brewer’s yeast helps increase their breast milk supply. It’s a rich source of protein, B vitamins, iron and trace minerals, and it also acts as a probiotic, which encourages gut health. Brewer’s yeast is generally considered safe while breastfeeding, but you shouldn’t be using it if you have an allergy to yeast, are diabetic, have Crohn’s disease or a weakened immune system, are taking MAOIs for depression or are taking anti-fungal medications.
Chickpeas are highly nutritious and packed with protein, fibre, magnesium and potassium. They’re also a good source of folate. One cup of chickpeas contains 65 to 90 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for those who are pregnant or nursing. They contain plant estrogens that may be responsible for their use as a galactagogue. You can add chickpeas to salad or grain bowls, or eat hummus which is made of chickpeas.
4 Worst Foods for Breast Milk Supply
1. High Mercury Fish
Although fish is high in protein, many fish contain high levels of mercury, which should be avoided by those who breastfeed. Fish with the highest level of mercury include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, big eye tuna, orange roughy and marlin.
2. Highly Processed Foods
When you’re breastfeeding, it’s essential that you get the proper nutrients, which means eating a healthy, balanced diet. Highly processed foods are typically high in calories, unhealthy fats and added sugar and low in fibre, vitamins and minerals, which does nothing for your milk supply.
3. Peppermint, Parsley and Sage
These herbs have been found to decrease milk production when eaten in large doses, but you’d have to eat a lot of it for that to happen. A cup of peppermint tea or some parsley sprinkled on your eegs won’t reduce your supply, however if you notice your milk supply dropping off after consuming a bunch of peppermint, parsley or sage, you may want to avoid it while breastfeeding.
High amounts of caffeine such as coffee, black tea and soda should be avoided. Limit caffeine to 2 to 3 cups per day as it’s thought that high doses of caffeine can have a dehydrating effect that can impact your milk supply. If your baby has trouble sleeping or seems fussy or jittery, try easing up on the caffeine.
Breastfeeding your baby is such a special experience for those who choose to do it, but it can be stressful if you feel like you’re not producing enough. Try eating and avoiding the foods above to help with breast milk supply.
This post contains affiliate links.
Did you find this post on foods for breast milk supply helpful? We’d love it if you shared it on Pinterest!
Looking for more helpful tips for new moms? Make sure to follow our All Things Women Board on Pinterest!