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10 Foods to Increase Lactation

Breast milk. The elixir of life, the food that sustains your child for years to come–breastfeeding is a critical part of parenting and should not be taken lightly. But even if you are blessed with an abundant supply or have found yourself struggling to get enough breastmilk in recent weeks, there may still be something out there that can help you make it easier on both you and baby! Enter: galactagogues.

Galactagous? It’s a food, herb or supplement that helps increase breast milk supply or ejection. Read our gallery to learn about what foods and liquids you should be eating to help boost and increase your breast milk supply.

This gallery is not meant to substitute medical advice–if you have any concerns, contact your physician or a lactation consultant immediately.

1. Water

a glass of water used to increase breast milk supply

If you want to increase your breast milk supply, then make sure that water is on the top of your priority list. Dehydration can be a major cause for low intake and production levels because it lowers thirst sensation which in turn leads to less fluids being consumed.

75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated according to studies (though this number may actually be higher). If we do not maintain proper hydration ourselves our bodies cannot produce enough breastmilk either due dehydration lowering the amount we feel thirsty thus leading us consume lesser amounts than what is needed. You don’t need to drink gallons of water a day but 8 glasses (64 ounces) is the absolute minimum for adequate hydration!

You’ll definitely need some extra fluid during those first few weeks with baby. You might not feel like drinking before nursing, but after just five minutes or so you may find yourself in desperate need of hydration and luckily there will already be an easy-to-reach bottle right beside where you are sitting.

2. Oatmeal

a bowl of oatmeal used to increase breast milk lactation

Oatmeal is fantastic for building and maintaining your milk supply. Whether you enjoy a hearty bowl of hot oats in the morning or sprinkle them on top of yogurt, oatmeal will help increase your breast milk production. You already know that oatmeal can lower cholesterol and aid blood pressure regulation, but this list doesn’t end there! Oats are also great at helping to build bone density so make sure you’re getting some more carbs into your diet by eating plenty of delicious whole grains like chia seeds as well as quinoa-based dishes such as breakfast porridge with goji berries topped off with super foods like raspberries or blueberries.

3. Cookies

choc chip breast milk lactation cookies

A mother’s milk is her baby’s lifeline. Often, breastfeeding mothers struggle to keep up their supply and may need help boosting it while on the go or in between feedings. There are many different ways that they can try but among them all must be cookies!

The recipe for Lactation Boosting Cookies has been making rounds throughout decades of nursing mamas just like you providing mothers with a delicious way to boost breastmilk production naturally without any side effects commonly associated with supplements such as fenugreek extract (diarrhea). This nostalgic cookie will not only give your baby an extra dose of nutrients needed during this time period but also gives mom a much-needed break from constant feeding sessions

4. Garlic

cloves of garlic are great to help increase breast milk

When you’re a nursing mother, it’s important to find foods that provide vitamins and nutrients for your little one. Garlic is an excellent option because not only does it taste amazing but when eaten they can also help boost milk production so the baby gets all of those yummy benefits too!

You don’t have to go overboard with garlic – just adding some into cooking or eating raw cloves will do the trick; research has shown no detectable garlic aftertaste in pill form either.

5. Carrots

a bunch of carrots that are great to improve breast milk supply

Bugs Bunny is usually a happy bunny, and carrots are the staple food of his diet. Carrots provide beta-carotene for breastfeeding moms as well as potassium to help you lose baby weight!

A recent study has shown that snacking on carrots can also boost milk production in breastfeeding mothers who need to pump out more breastmilk for their little one(s).

10 foods to increase breast milk infograph

6. Fennel

a couple of fennel's that help increase breast milk supply in women

Whether you sauté it, stew it, or toss raw into salads; fennel has proven to be an excellent galactagogue for those who love licorice and want something different. Fennel also helps with digestion – so if your stomach’s acting up this week (maybe because of all these seasonal foods?) try adding some fresh chopped fennel to help calm things down.

7. Nuts

a pile of nuts, which are beneficial in increasing a woman's breast milk supply

Getting a new baby and being a mom can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just need to take some time for yourself, grab handful of nuts and snack on something healthy! Cashews are the most popular option that help boost breast milk supply with its high good fats content while almonds have antioxidants which helps ward off free radicals in your body. Be sure to read labels when purchasing so you know what is going into these snacks, raw nuts are best since they won’t have added oil that may make them unhealthy.

8. Green Papaya

a green papaya sliced in half, papaya helps women to increase their breast milk supply

Eating green papaya is a tradition in Asia. If you want to try it, order Som Tam from your favorite Thai restaurant or steam the fruit until soft and tender at high heat – try this popular Thai salad recipe. You can also find this traditional food as tablets which are available on Amazon!

Yes, we’re talking about eating unripe Papayas for lactation purposes… In Asian cultures such as Thailand, Green papaya salad (Som Tam) is traditionally known to be used by pregnant women who need more milk production because of their baby’s needs during infancy  or breastfeeding mothers with low supplies – so steaming or stir frying them in oil brings out the natural nutrients that will give moms-to-be all they need.

9. Sesame Seeds

Sesame grains in large wooden spoon, grain and wheat is helpful to increase breast milk supply

Sesame seeds are more than just a key ingredient in the dishes you’ve eaten your entire life. Add some to your diet for increased milk supply and flavor! Sesame seed bagels can be delicious, but they don’t have enough sesames on them to help with lactation–that is why we recommend tahini as an alternative buttery paste made of these tiny green kernels. Tahini has been used since ancient days by nomadic tribes wandering across Arabia because it contains ample amounts of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus to boost breastmilk production according to women who’ve experienced its benefits firsthand.

If that doesn’t sound like something interesting (or appetizing) enough for you then try halvah which is another popular choice.

10. Ginger

ginger clove with some chopped ginger slices, ginger helps to boost breast milk supply in women

The spice ginger is not only a great way to soothe your morning sickness stomach, but it also can be used as an ingredient in milk boosting recipes. Many Asian and Indian dishes call for the use of this particular herb; take advantage of these ingredients by expanding on what you are already cooking! If you don’t have time or energy (or need) to cook something elaborate tonight, then try some ginger snaps instead: they will provide all the same benefits with less work involved.

About the author

Parent Diviner

A bit quirky, I started blogging after successfully getting my son to eat by talking like a robot. I then transformed into said robot and have been writing about my parenting learnings ever since. Inspired by my infant daughter, imaginative toddler son and supportive husband, I document life as I know it: chaotic, coffee soaked and filled with awesomeness. In my spare time I enjoys fake shopping online, writing love letters to Ryan Gosling, and avoiding folding laundry.

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