When it comes to the topic of breastfeeding, many women want to know how to keep up a healthy milk supply and to avoid going dry. We have already busted the myth that exercising does not decrease your milk supply and how you can keep your supply up while trying to lose weight and working out. It is also important that you calculate the amount of calories that your body needs to keep producing milk. There are certain foods have been proven to help many women from going dry by their lactogenic properties; you may even have a few of them in your kitchen already! There are even recipes out there for "lactation cookies" using a combination of a few foods below that women swear by.
Here are 10 foods that have been proven to give your supply a little boost!
1. Oats. Many moms have noticed that they had pumped more milk on the days they had oatmeal for breakfast than on days that they hadn’t. Though there is no proven scientific explanation, oatmeal is thought to be a calming food that helps you to release more oxytocin which boosts milk production. Oats are also a great source of iron; studies have shown that a low iron supply can decrease your lactation greatly! Oats are thought of so highly when it comes to breastfeeding that there are even “lactation cookie” recipes floating around with the prime ingredient being oats!
2. Flax Seeds. Flax seeds are thought to have lactogenic properties because of the Omega 3’s that it contains. As mothers breastfeed, their fatty acid stores are depleted within the milk that is being pumped or consumed by baby. Try adding some flax seeds to your morning oatmeal or to a smoothie for a quick boost!
3. Brewer’s Yeast. This nutrient supplement is packed with vitamins & nutrients that are not only beneficial for breastfeeding, but also aids in postpartum depression and balances the immune system. It is specifically high in Choline which helps transport fat throughout the body and helps replenish the body’s cells to aid in new tissue development. You can cook with this nutritional yeast, add it to a drink mixture, or take it as a supplement in a tablet form.
4. Water. Although water is not technically a food, it is vital to breastfeeding moms because as you nurse, your body becomes depleted of fluids. The more hydrated you are, the more milk you are likely to produce when breastfeeding. Aim for at least 8 glasses or 64 ounces of water daily.
5. Spinach. This leafy green is packed with tons of vital nutrients and phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are believed to promote healthy breast tissue & lactation since this plant based chemical is similar to estrogen. Try adding spinach to your nightly dinners by making a side salad or to a green smoothie in the morning for breakfast.
6. Garlic. Though garlic is not the most popular choice of lactation friendly foods, it has been shown to aid in breastfeeding as well as helping your baby to latch on and nurse. Some babies will acquire a taste for garlic while others may not enjoy it. Try cooking with garlic or adding it to a side dish. Garlic comes in the form of capsules to those who cannot stomach the taste.
7. Fennel. Fennel is a wonderful addition to any breastfeeding diet. This herb may actually benefit baby more than mom since it does pass through the breast milk as it eases digestion and helps to prevent colic. It contains estrogen like properties which aid in boosting milk supply. You may drink fennel as a tea or add fresh fennel to a salad or soup.
8. Oils/Fats. Healthy oils and fats are vital to a breastfeeding diet and should never be avoided. Babies not only need these fats to thrive, but breastfeeding mothers as well to produce a well-balanced milk supply. After all, breast milk is made up of primarily fats to nourish your baby’s growth. Try adding olive oil to your salad or eating salmon for dinner to boost your healthy fats for the day.
9. Carrots. Carrots contain phytoestrogens & beta carotenes; two nutrients that lactating mothers need. This vegetable also helps regulate hormones as well. Try drinking a glass of carrot juice in the morning with your breakfast or steaming a side of carrots with your dinner.
10. Ginger Root. This root is known to boost milk supply by contributing to milk letdown and allowing the milk to flow freely. Some mothers benefit from simply drinking Ginger Ale. Another way to use Ginger in your diet is to boil the root and make an herbal tea. Some mothers may also find it beneficial to add fresh grated ginger to salads or salad dressings. If you cannot stomach the taste of ginger root, you may take ginger in the form of a capsule.