7 lactation-boosting foods for breastfeeding mums

Posted in Breastfeeding.

If you’ve just started breastfeeding, you might be wondering if your body is making enough milk. Rest assured, as long as baby is growing and putting on weight, your body is probably doing a stellar job as sole food provider. However, if you’d like to try a few natural ways to boost your flow, try these seven foods that many mums have sworn by for generations.

Please note: the following foods are not scientifically proven to improve lactation. If you think your milk supply might be low, please seek help from a lactation expert.

1. Oats

Many mothers swear by a morning bowl of porridge to stimulate milk supply. And indeed oats do contain saponins, which are anti-inflammatory and help support the immune system. As well as the lactation benefits, oats also deliver a good dose of iron, calcium, B vitamins, and fibre. If you’re not crazy about porridge, try oatmeal cookies.

2. Garlic

Known for its many curative properties, garlic is also thought to help increase breast milk supply. This is an easy one to incorporate into meals, just keep in mind that lots of garlic can affect the flavour of your milk, and some mothers report that too much garlic can make their baby colicky.

3. Fenugreek seeds

While there’s little scientific evidence to back this up, fenugreek seeds have been used for hundreds of years by breastfeeding mothers. You could throw the seeds into dishes for extra flavour, or brew up a fenugreek tea. Fenugreek leaves are also a terrific source of iron, calcium, B vitamins and betacarotene.

Asian mother breastfeeding newborn baby - feature

4. Fennel seeds

Along the same lines, fennel seeds have been used by generations of women. They’re also believed to be digestives and can help control baby colic. Chew on them, add them to your tea, or crush them up and mix them into dishes or marinades.

5. Green leafy vegetables

Iron-rich greens like spinach, beetroot leaves and kale are a quick way to boost your body’s iron levels and some even think they can enhance milk production. While the science is still out on this one, breastfeeding women are encouraged to eat lots of leafy green vegetables to help provide you and your baby with essential minerals like iron, calcium and folate. 

6. Nuts

Perfect for snacking throughout the day, nuts are high in protein and provide lots of nutrients and energy. Almonds and cashews in particular are thought to fast-track milk supply. Eat them on their own, or stir into salads. You could even sip on some almond milk.

7. Lactation cookies

There’s lots of anecdotal evidence out there that lactation cookies do actually work, but like all of the above foods, try it out and see if it works for you. Recipes generally include ingredients like flour, butter, brewer’s yeast and oats. Try a few to start with, and even if they don’t have spectacular results, they’re a pretty great treat when you’re breastfeeding.

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