Worried that you aren’t producing enough breast milk for your baby? Wondering how to boost milk supply quickly? There are certain foods that increase milk supply while breastfeeding! Eating more of these foods will help you quickly produce a quality milk supply that nourishes your baby.
What are the best foods to eat while breastfeeding? Galactagogues are foods and supplements that promote lactation. Women have been using galactagogues for hundreds of year to increase milk supply while breastfeeding. Eating a nutrient dense diet while breastfeeding is perhaps the most important thing you can do to maintain an abundant milk supply.
There are also certain foods you should avoid while breastfeeding, especially if you are struggling with low supply.
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Questions to ask BEFORE supplementing with galactagogues to increase low milk supply
First ask yourself – how often are you feeding your baby? Are you feeding on demand?
Feeding more often and on demand is the first place to start when you want to increase milk production. You body is designed to respond to your baby’s needs. The more you feed, the more milk you produce NATURALLY.
So, how do you tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk? The best signs that your baby is getting enough milk:
- Baby is gaining weight
- The number of dirty and wet diapers – this changes over time and will be different for every baby. But in general, a few dirty diapers and 5-6 wet diapers in a 24-hour period is considered normal. That said do not freak out if your baby has less diapers, but is still gaining weight.
This breastfeeding log printable is super helpful for tracking how often your baby eats, sleeps and has dirty diapers.
If you are doing all the above and still feel like low milk supply is an issue for you, then read on for how you can boost breast milk supply with foods.
Using Foods to Increase Milk Supply
Living with low milk supply can be frustrating. Which leads many Moms to ask – how can I increase my breast milk?
When trying to increase milk supply it’s important to evaluate – how much water you are drinking and how much are you eating?
Breastfeeding requires A LOT of fuel to make quality breast milk.
- Drink about 8-10 glasses of water a day.
- Eat 3 meals + 2-3 snacks a day.
Ensure that you are eating foods that are actually good for breast milk production. There are some foods that can decrease milk supply. This post will suggest some nutrient dense foods that increase milk supply that you can add to your diet.
It’s important to eat some of these foods everyday and at every meal! Don’t just east these food when milk supply is low! Make a breastfeeding diet plan around these foods.
List of Foods that Increase Milk Supply
So, what foods are good for breastfeeding? What foods help increase milk production?
Adding nutrient dense foods to your diet while breastfeeding can help you make quality breast milk and increase your milk supply. Below is a list of 11 foods to increase breast milk quickly! Make a meal plan around these foods to increase milk supply.
#1 – Bone broth –
Bone broth is one of the simplest yet most nutrient dense foods that you can eat while breastfeeding. What makes bone broth so amazing? Bone broth is made by slow cooking chicken or beef bones for about 24 hrs.
This process draws out collagen, gelatin and amino acids like glutamine that can help heal leaky gut, boost your immune system, reduce inflammation and improve hair, skin and nails (source). Talk about a superfood!
The good thing is bone broth is super easy to make. Here a super easy method for making bone broth in your slow cooker!
If you have NO time to make broth, no worries! You can buy bone broth online or at your local grocery store. Here are 3 of the best rated bone broths on Amazon:
- Osso Good Bone Broth – a variety pack of beef and chicken so that you can see which you like better.
- Beef Bone Broth by Kettle & Fire – this is a popular brand on Amazon that features grass fed beef bones.
- Au Bon Broth Organic – If you are looking for the BEST quality, this one is the winner of the Gold Award for best tasting bone broth and is made from all premium ingredients. This is a 30 day supply.
#2 – Coconut –
Coconut is amazing superfood for breastfeeding moms. Coconut contains medium chain fatty acids that include lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid. Increased levels of lauric acid and capric acid in your breast milk helps protect your baby from bacteria and viruses (source).
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1998 found that breastfeeding moms who eat coconut products and coconut oil have significantly higher levels of lauric acid and capric acid in their breast milk which creates a milk supply rich in health promoting nutrients.
While breastfeeding you need a lot of FAT to build and sustain your milk supply. Coconut oil is a healthy fat that is processed more efficiently by the body. Some of the major benefits of coconut oil (source):
- helps with weight loss
- reduces inflammation
- boosts immune system
- improves memory and brain function
- improves energy and endurance
- improves digestion
- naturally balances hormones
How to get the benefits of coconut while breastfeeding
There are so many delicious ways to consume coconut while breastfeeding. You can eat coconut oil by the spoonful, use it as cooking oil, as a replacement for butter or vegetable oil, or add it to hot beverages. Coconut milk is a great dairy free substitute for milk.
Here are a few more coconut products to help boost your milk supply!
Add coconut milk to smoothies, make nice cream or curries!
Make sure when you buy coconut oil that you look for one that is unrefined, organic, virgin and cold pressed to ensure you get the full benefits!
This stuff is soooo good! Eat it by the spoonful!
#3 – Fenugreek
If you’ve read anything about increasing breast milk supply, you’ve probably come across testimonials of moms raving about this galactagogue. Fenugreek is a herb and a spice commonly used in South and Central Asian cooking. Many moms have reported seeing an increase in their milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after first taking this herb.
Fenugreek seeds (per 100 g) are a rich source of protein (46% DV), dietary fiber, B vitamins, and dietary minerals, particularly manganese (59% DV) and iron (262% DV) (source).
So it’s no surprise that fenugreek is a great addition to your breastfeeding diet. Many breastfeeding moms choose to supplement with fenugreek capsules. However, supplements are not the only way to get the milk boosting benefits of fenugreek.
While there is not a lot of research on the effects of fenugreek on milk supply, a recent study in 2015 found that fenugreek really does increase milk production.
Be advised though, fenugreek is not for everyone. Avoid fenugreek if you have a nut allergy. If you suffer from asthma, it can aggravated symptoms and can lower blood glucose levels in diabetics. So make sure to consult your care provider before heavy supplementation with fenugreek.
How to get more fenugreek in your breastfeeding diet
The easiest (and safest) way to get more fenugreek is to cook with it! Use fenugreek as a spice on meats and vegetables. Fenugreek is a common ingredient in curry powder. Eating curry dishes once or twice a week is a good way to increase milk supply without having to supplement with a daily pill.
Another easy way to get the benefits of fenugreek is to drink tea. Mother’s Milk tea contains fenugreek and many other herbs that support breastfeeding. Try adding 1 -2 cups per day and see if it helps increase milk supply! Read more about increasing milk supply with herbal tea below.
#4 – Lentils
Lentils are an simple food that you can add to your breastfeeding diet to increase your milk supply. Lentils are high in protein, fiber, magnesium and folate. They can help improve your digestive health and stabilize blood sugar.
There are so many ways you can eat lentils! Try them in soups, stews and even on tacos. Here are 3 lentil recipes to try:
There are even lots of products made with lentils now! Including pasta and even lentil snacks:
#5 – Fennel
Fennel is another beneficial food that can increase milk supply. The fennel plant has estrogen-like properties which is thought to help improve and increase breast milk supply (source).
Try adding fresh fennel to salads, soups, fish and pasta dishes. The bulb of the fennel can be roasted or sauteed. Here are a few recipes to try:
If eating fennel doesn’t appeal to you, try drinking it as a tea!
#6 – Liver
While the thought of eating liver may be totally unappealing, it is an amazing nutrient dense superfood that can boost your milk supply FAST. Liver is high in vitamin B12, vitamin A, riboflavin and copper, as well as, the essential nutrients folate, iron and choline (source).
You may notice an increase in breast milk quickly just by trying one of these liver recipes! And as an added benefit, you may have more energy too.
Stomach turning at the thought of liver? Try these top rated liver pills instead.
#7 – Oatmeal
Perhaps, one of the most popular foods that increase milk supply is Oatmeal. This galactagogue is high in iron, zinc, manganese, and calcium. It is also a good source of fiber. (source)
Many moms report eating oatmeal as having a positive effect on their milk supply.
Eat oatmeal for breakfast, make energy bites, muffins, overnight oats or some yummy no bake lactation bars. You can even add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of oatmeal to make a lactation smoothie for a boost to your milk supply.
For more oatmeal recipes check out this post with easy healthy lactation recipes!
#healthysnack time! This is my favorite afternoon snack – Power chia bowl. It’s kinda a combo of overnight oats and chia pudding. Start with 1/4 cup each chia seeds and gf oats. Add cinnamon or any spices you like. Add 2-3 tbsps of hemp seeds and fruit of your choice. I used frozen strawberries. Then mix and add 1-1 1/2 cups almond milk. Mix well and let sit 5-30 mins. ? Perfect snack to boost energy for busy #momlife #breastfeeding and #pregnancy Check out the link in the bio to see more healthy snack ideas!
#8 – Garlic
Garlic is great superfood and a galactagogue to add to your breastfeeding diet. Garlic can boost the immune system, help with digestion, and swelling. It also contain many important nutrients and amino acids. It is high in manganese, B6 and vitamin C. (source)
Many Moms worry that garlic is too strong and will give their breast milk a bad flavor. This is not the case, as long as you eat garlic in moderation while breastfeeding. Eating garlic actually stimulates milk production and increases milk supply. (source)
Some babies are sensitive to garlic. So if your baby is suffering from colic, this may be a food to eliminate.
How to use garlic to increase milk supply
The easiest way to get the benefits of garlic is to add 1-3 cloves of fresh garlic to your meals when cooking. It is not necessary to take a supplement or eat high doses of garlic in order to increase milk supply.
Here are a few easy recipes featuring garlic:
#9 – Herbal tea
Herbal teas have been used for thousands of years to support breastfeeding and milk production. The most common teas used for increasing milk supply are:
Learn more about the benefits of these teas by reading this post on best teas for pregnancy and postpartum.
Breastfeeding teas to increase milk supply
There are many breastfeeding teas now available that combine the best herbs for breastfeeding into one tea. Drink these herbal blends to quickly increase milk supply.
#10 – Chickpeas
Add chickpeas to your breastfeeding diet to help increase milk production. Chickpeas are a great plant based protein that are high in fiber and healthy fats. They are high in iron, zinc, folate, phosphorus and B vitamins. Chickpeas can also help control blood sugar, aid in weight loss, and help with constipation. (source)
Using chickpeas to increase breast milk supply
Chickpeas can be added to soups and stews, curries and used to make hummus. There is also chickpea flour, pasta and snacks that you can eat.
#11 – Sweet Potato
This simple food can be helpful in increasing milk supply. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, iron, calcium, selenium, and are a good source of B vitamins and vitamin C.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber which can help with digestion. They can also help control blood sugar, are anti-inflammatory and boost your immune system. (source)
Ways to get eat more sweet potatoes while breastfeeding
Sweet potatoes can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and even dessert! There is even a sweet potato powder that you can add to your smoothies.
Check out these easy ways to add more sweet potato to your breastfeeding diet!
Helpful Breastfeeding Resources
Breastfeeding can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some helpful resources to help with milk supply and make breastfeeding easier:
The Postpartum Cure – this online course is perfect for breastfeeding Moms that want to loose the baby weight and keep milk supply up. Katie, the creator of the course, has put together an amazing program that walks you step-by-step through learning how to care for your body postpartum with exercise, nutrition and mini-challenges.
The focus is on eating nutrient dense foods, rather than counting calories and following restrictions. It’s an holistic, smart approach to postpartum recovery. Many of the recipes in the 21 day meal plan include the very foods in this list!
There are also really awesome mom and baby workout videos, an app so you can workout on the go, and a private Facebook group for support. Click here to get started with the Postpartum Cure.
Healing Freezer Meals for Pregnancy and Postpartum – this ebook includes 12 freezer meal recipes specifically designed to support breastfeeding. Each recipe uses foods from this list to help increase milk supply and help with healing your body after childbirth. It also includes a grocery list, a step-by-step guide on making freezer meals for breastfeeding, and leftover suggestions.
More on Breastfeeding Food from Birth Eat Love
Wondering what to eat while breastfeeding? Read these posts!
- Lactation Recipes for Making More Breast Milk – a list of 25 + clean eating and dairy free recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts.
- 5 Surprising Foods to Avoid for Successful Breastfeeding – this post dives into the foods that can cause your baby to be fussy, irritated or colicky.
- 9 Healthy Soup Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms – these tasty and easy soup recipes can help you produce more breast milk and recover faster postpartum. And bonus they can all be made in the slow cooker or instant pot to save you time + energy!
- Healthy Pumpkin Lactation Recipes – pumpkin recipes from snacks, to smoothies to dinner ideas that can help increase milk supply.
- Grab and Go Breastfeeding Snacks – this list of breastfeeding snacks has 20+ healthy prepackaged snacks you can toss in your purse, diaper bag or pump bag!
Need tips for making breastfeeding EASIER? Check out these resources!
- Best Breastfeeding Tips for First Time Moms – this post shares some must know tips for getting started with breastfeeding from some of the top Mom Bloggers on Pinterest.
- The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class – this online course is great for first time moms who want to be prepared for the realities of breastfeeding and get started off right!
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