Increase Milk Supply with Lactogenic Foods

Foods that Increase Milk Supply

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 your daily food intake.

Before reading this, please read our page "is my baby getting enough breast milk?". This will help you determine whether or not you have a low supply. 

This page will discuss the good food choices that can help increase a mother's 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 particular food is not agreeing with him/her through your breast milk.

Read more about food sensitivities in the breastfed infant here.

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.

An oversupply of milk can lead to mastitis, blocked ducts, foremilk-hindmilk imbalance and other breastfeeding problems such as an overactive let-down reflex.

Specific Foods that Increase Breast Milk Production

  • Asparagus, Green beans, Carrots (especially carrot seeds), Yam, Watercress, Sweet potatoes, Dandelion greens, Peas, Beet and all other green leafy vegetables.
  • Fennel, fenugreek and sesame seeds (sesame seeds are high in calcium too).
  • Oatmeal: Many mothers have reported an increased milk supply, by consuming just one large bowl of oats each morning. Read more about how oatmeal can help increase supply.
  • Millet, barley, brown rice and all other grains and legumes.
  • Raw almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, and avocados.
  • Lactogenic beverages include water, coconut waterlactation 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 adverse reactions towards them, if you are okay after eating them,  your baby should be fine, too.
  • Lactogenic spices include marjoram, basil, anise seed, dill, caraway, turmeric (half a tsp of turmeric per day can help with increasing your milk supply, as well as preventing a breast infection).

Foods that Increase the Quality of Breast Milk

  • 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 mother can use it for not only increasing breast milk production but also for increasing 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. Get all the benefits of brewer's yeast from these delicious lactation granola bars from Oat Mama which are also gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free

Increase Milk Supply
Other Tips

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 good essential fatty acids like omega 3, 6 and 9. These also can be consumed in your diet by eating avocado, seeds, nuts and oily fish. 

Read other non-diet related tips about increasing breastmilk production

Make your own Lactation Cookies

Get our healthy lactation cookie recipe here

Other pages on breastfeeding problems in connection with this page on increase milk supply

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Reference: Mobimotherhood - By Hilary Jacobson CH.HU.SI. Based on her book Mother Food for Breastfeeding Mothers

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