Top 15 foods that help increase breastmilk supply naturally

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Having trouble with your milk supply? Try these foods!

Plenty of mums struggle with breastmilk supply issues. According to a study by pediatrician Marianne Neifert, “as many as 5% of women may have primary insufficient lactation because of anatomic breast variations or medical illness that make them unable to produce a full milk supply despite heroic efforts.” But what if there are natural ingredients that boost supply of breast milk — effectively and effortlessly?

Sadly, not a lot of research has been made on the kinds of food that can help increase breastmilk supply, as BabyCenter points out. But we can learn from previous generations of breastfeeding moms, who have sworn by certain foods that have reportedly helped increase their breastmilk supply.

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Factors such as premature birth, maternal obesity, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and poorly controlled insulin-dependent diabetes can also affect milk production. (Photo: Shutterstock) 

Natural Ingredients That Boost Supply Of Breast Milk: 15 Awesome Foods To Include In Your Diet

If you’re looking to increase your breast milk supply, then check out these foods below:

1. Oats

Oatmeal is great for regulating our cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and could also help with lactation. According to Just Mommies, oatmeal is a comfort food and can also help mothers relax and produce oxytocin — a vital hormone for milk production.

According to many mothers, just one large bowl of oats each morning and you can see the effects.

2. Garlic

Garlic affects the taste and smell of your breastmilk, and according to a study, babies tend to latch on for longer after their mothers consume garlic. According to Mom Junction, it also could have chemical compounds that help in lactation.

*Only use them if you do not suffer from any adverse reactions towards it.

3. Green leafy vegetables

Breastfeeding can be demanding on your body — feeding another human means that you’ll need more nutrition yourself. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, mustard greens, kale, and fenugreek leaves are great sources of vitamins and minerals.

In addition, dark leafy greens contain phytoestrogens. According to Just Mommies, they have chemicals similar to estrogen that could promote breast tissue health and lactation.

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Natural Ingredients That Boost Supply Of Breast Milk: insufficient milk production is a common cause of worry for many mums and they stop partially / entirely within the first few months. (Photo: Dreamstime)

4. Fenugreek seeds

A common herb used to increase milk production, fenugreek seeds have been used to increase milk production for centuries. Like green leafy vegetables, fenugreek seeds contain phytoestrogens.

According to Breastfeeding Online, it only takes 24 to 72 hours before fenugreek increases a nursing mother’s milk supply.

5. Moringa

According to a study from the University of the Philippines’ Department of Pediatrics, mothers of preterm babies who consumed moringa capsules found that their milk production increased by 152 to 176%. That’s great news for mothers struggling with low milk supply issues.

6. Water

Plenty of us overlook something as simple as staying hydrated. Drinking enough (or not enough) water can make a huge difference to your milk supply, so make sure that you drink a glass of water before and after feeding your baby.

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Natural ingredients that boost supply of breast milk: water is extremely essential but the key here is to drink a sufficient amount. (Photo: Fotolia)

7. Nuts

According to Parenting, the monounsaturated fats found in certain nuts (e.g. almonds, macadamia nuts) can make your milk richer. Nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals, and calories, making them a great source of nutrients.

8. Green Papaya

If you love Thai food then you probably would dig this one. 

Unripe papaya is very popular in promoting or increasing the flow of a mother’s milk across Asia, according to Practo. This is because consuming green papaya increases oxytocin produced, that leads to an increase in the production of milk.

It would be ideal to boil the papaya before or consume them as a salad. Generally, do keep a balanced diet and eat these in moderation.

9. Salmon

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A superfood, as we all know. Salmon’s great for an extra boost for breastmilk naturally as it contains loads of omega-3s and many essential fatty acids. Besides, being rich in DHA  — one of the most important components of breast milk — it can help with your child’s brain development.

Opt for steamed, boiled or even grilled salmon. A word of caution though, avoid over consumption of salmon as they may contain traces of accumulated mercury that could be toxic. Salmon is definitely one of the natural ingredients that boost supply of breast milk.

10. Barley

Barley is one of the many lactogenic beverages out there. From barley water to eating it as a hot grain or porridge, it is a great option to increase and improve your breast milk supply. It helps you to stay hydrated as well.

Hilary Jacobson, author of “Mother Foods”, even suggests adding fennel seed or fenugreek if desired.

11. Asparagus

It’s considered as a must-have food for nursing mothers as it helps to stimulate the hormones essential for lactation. 

Besides, it is a high-fibre food that’s rich in Vitamin A and K.

12. Brown Rice

When it comes to brown rice, it’s nutritional properties are no stranger to us. Even for non-pregnant mums, they are very nourishing. 

Brown rice has proven to enhance breast milk production, according to a research paper published in the World Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences. It contains hormone stimulants that boost the production of breast milk in nursing mums. 

Not only that, they contain a chemical that helps to prevent postnatal depression. Helping to ensure that mums are in a good mood and able to produce more breast milk? Yes, we’ll take that.

13. Red dates

Well, surely this doesn’t come as a surprise — red dates are present in many confinement foods, almost like a must-have when one speaks of confinement.

Rich in Tryptophan, a kind of amino acid, it “supports the chemistry of lactation” and helps to maintain a healthy level of prolactin — needed for milk production — in nursing mothers. 

14. Apricots

Fuss-free and packed with loads of nutrition, apricots are a great addition to your nursing period. They are high in Vitamin A, C, potassium and calcium and are thought to help with milk production.

That being said, moderation is key as over consumption could lead to dehydration, according to Byram Healthcare.

15. Bottle Gourd

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Natural ingredients that boost supply of breast milk: bottle gourd is a good option that could be taken in the form of curries as well.

Packed with hydrating properties, the bottle gourd is a vegetable that will help you restore your milk supply in no time.

Besides being rich in vitamins and minerals, it also aids digestion. You could look towards a bottle gourd smoothie for increased comfort. 

Some Foods You May Want To Avoid

It is found that gas-generating foods could affect your milk production unfavourably. It would be wise to avoid any gas-generating foods including: potatos, pulses, raw mango and raw banana.

Other foods such as thyme, parsley, peppermint and cabbage leaves could also negatively impact your milk production. 

Other Ways You Can Boost Your Milk Supply

Here are some tips:

  • Brest-feed as soon as possible 
  • Breast-feed more often – frequent nursing sessions stimulates your body to produce more milk
  • Pump between feedings – warming up your breasts before pumping could put you in greater ease 
  • Breast-feed on both sides – it could also result in a higher fat content in the milk
  • Avoid the use of a pacifier – let your baby get used to comforting himself with your breast; it will help stimulate milk production
  • Don’t skip breast feeding sessions
  • Be alert to feeding problems – if your baby tends to latch on to one side more (and often), your breast milk will start to decrease. You can try pumping the other breast to relieve pressure until your baby begins taking more at each feeding.
  • Don’t hesitate to call a local lactation for help.
  • You may want to have your thyroid level checked, just in case. A low thyroid level is known to reduce milk supply.
  • Use medications with caution (even normal cold remedies from the pharmacy could affect your breast milk supply)
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine

Yes mums, we know that it’s inevitable to worry about low milk supply. But don’t fret too much as insufficient breast milk production is rare. 

In fact, most women make one-third more breast milk than their babies typically drink.

As far as there are many foods or natural ingredients that boost supply of breast milk, the problem could lie towards the delivery of your breast milk rather than the actual milk production itself. 

If you’re still concerned, it is always best advised to visit a lactation consultant, just to be on the safe side. 

Source: Mayo Clinic, BabyCenter, Healthline

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