Lactogenic foods and herbs
If you have a low milk supply, it’s always best to first try to increase milk production naturally, via herbs and/or through your daily food intake.
Before reading this, please first read our page "Is my baby getting enough breast milk?", this will help you determine, whether you definitely have a low supply, or not.
This page will discuss the good food choices that can help increase a mothers breast milk supply; not only by including nutritious foods, but also foods that support the chemistry of lactation.
Always remember that not all babies are the same, so try the following foods with caution; some babies might become a little colicky, if a certain food is not agreeing with him/her through your breast milk.
If you do not have a low breast milk supply, then it is best not to worry about consuming extra amounts of these foods, as they might cause an oversupply of milk.
- Asparagus, Green beans, Carrots (especially carrot seeds), Yam, Watercress, Sweet potatoes, Dandelion greens, Peas, Beet and all other green leafy vegetables.
- Parsley, fennel, fenugreek and sesame seeds (sesame seeds are high in calcium too).
- Oatmeal: Many moms have reported an increased milk supply with just one large bowl of oats each morning.
- Millet, barley, brown rice and all other grains and legumes.
- Raw almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts and avocados.
- Lactogenic beverages include: water, coconut water, lactation teas, barley water, ginger ale and any imitation coffee containing chicory, dandelion or malt.
- Garlic, onion and ginger (use these only if you, yourself, do not suffer from any bad reactions towards them, if you are okay after eating them, your baby should be fine too)
- Lactogenic spices include marjoram, basil, anise, dill, caraway, turmeric (half a tsp of turmeric per day can help with increasing your milk supply, as well as preventing breast infection)
- Apricots and green papaya.
- Barley grass or barley water: This “green food” can help with increasing low milk supply, as well as make the breast milk creamier and more nutrient rich. It can be taken in capsule form, or the pearled barley, (1 cup) can be simmered in a quart of water for about two hours. Three tsp of fennel seeds can be added. Seep the mixture for 10 minutes before drinking.
- Spirulina: This is a common supplement, that is taken for many other purposes too, but a breastfeeding mom can use it for not only increasing breast milk production, but also to increase the fat content of her milk. Take two to three capsules daily.
- Brewers yeast: Can help increase milk supply, as well as introduce essential nutrients into the breast milk, such as Vit B, Vit B12 and protein.
Other food related tips, for increasing breastmilk supply
- Make sure that you are eating enough calories in your day. This will help increase breastmilk quantity and quality in general.
- Drink enough water and other fluids. Your body will need extra water to keep up with milk production, while keeping you hydrated at the same time.
- When spicing your foods, you can add things like caraway, dill, basil, marjoram, garlic or gomasio to increase lactation.
- Always supplement with essential, good fatty acids like omega 3, 6 and 9. These can be taken in, via your diet too, by eating avocado, seeds, nuts and oily fish.
Other pages on “breastfeeding problems” in connection with this page on “increase milk supply”
- How to increase milk supply with breast massage
- Increasing breast milk supply with herbal teas
- Increasing milk supply with galactagogues
- Breastfeeding low supply due to PCOS
- Herbs increase breast milk supply
- Breastfeeding diet guidelines
- Breastfeeding food to avoid
By Hilary Jacobson CH.HU.SI. Based on her book Mother Food for Breastfeeding Mothers
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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr, Studying through Child birth international (CBC, CBD), Author and Mommy of two.