Since ancient times, women have been using foods and herbs to ensure an ample milk supply. Galactagogues are foods thought to enhance milk production, and a galactagogue can be anything from a food, herb or supplement that enhances breast milk supply or ejection.
All about breastfeeding
“Am I making enough milk?”
“What can I do to increase my milk supply when I am breastfeeding?”
These are the questions running constantly on a mum’s mind when she is breastfeeding. Remember, boosting your milk supply the natural way is the best approach. Also, ensure that your position and latch are good, nurse as often as you can and ignore the clock.
How to increase breast milk
Consume a minimum of eight-ounce glasses of water every day. Precise fluid intake may vary from individual to individual, but staying hydrated is important.
Eat a well-balanced diet
You need an extra 500 calories every day while breastfeeding. A balanced diet with foods high on nutrition is advisable to get that much needed energy. Protein-rich foods like oatmeal help and so does adding flaxseed meal or brewer’s yeast to smoothies, veggies, yogurt and eggs.
Vitamins like Calcium, Vitamin D, Iron, and Folic Acid are a must for breastfeeding moms.
Nurse often and follow your baby's lead
Follow your baby’s schedule as nursing babies form rather than follow a schedule. Follow the baby’s cues and feed on demand, whenever the baby's hungry.
Let the baby feed fully on each side
Remember that breastfeeding and milk production are interdependent. The more baby feeds, the more the breast milk production.
Try home-made lactation cookies
Bake lactation cookies. Many moms say that they help. Even if they don’t, they are delicious!
Brew lactation teas
If you enjoy a hot cuppa, give lactation teas a try!
Take Galactogogues supplements
Galactogogues like Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle and Brewer's Yeast may help. You may have these separately or in a combo format. A good idea would be to discover what is suitable for you and your body by trying out different options.
Use a breast pump
A breast pump empties the breast if the baby is feeding only on one side. It also helps build a milk stash and maintains milk supply.
Foods to increase breast milk production
Wondering what food to eat for breast milk increase? Here are 10 popular breast milk-producing foods. Certain ingredients in these foods might be beneficial. But plenty of moms swear by these foods that promote milk production.
Fenugreek are aromatic seeds. The estrogen-like compounds in Fenugreek are said to boost milk flow.
Oatmeal is fantastic for building and maintaining your milk supply either in the form of a healthy bowl of hot oats in the morning or as an oat-filled lactation cookie. Oatmeal is also a great source for iron, much needed by breastfeeding moms.
Fennel is a herb that’s considered to be a great galactagogue, having estrogen-like compounds just like fenugreek. You can sauté it, stew it, use it in lactation cookies and teas or toss it raw into a salad. Studies indicate that they might boost milk supply and help infants gain weight.
Lean meat and poultry
Lean meat and poultry in the form of beef, pork, and lamb are top sources of iron. Hence, it is believed that they are good lactation foods.
Most breastfeeding mums swear by garlic and cloves of garlic in food do make food delicious and healthy. So, no harm trying it but make sure you don’t go overboard by having too much of it.
A bunch of carrots are considered perfect foods to improve breast milk. Carrots are full of beta-carotene, which your body needs when you’re lactating.
Try cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts. Opt for raw nuts instead of the heavily oiled and salted ones. Low sodium or salt-free versions are recommended.
Green papaya, especially one sliced in half and unripe, has been a traditional galactagogue. Som Tam is a green papaya salad that’s perfect if you like Thai cuisine. You can also steam or stir fry on high heat till the papaya is tender.
The calcium rich sesame seeds are considered good foods to increase breast milk. Try sesame seed bagels or a burger on a sesame seed bun. You can also try Tahini, which is a tasty buttery paste made of sesame seeds. Add it to your recipes and sauces. Halvah is a delicious sesame seed snack for those of you with a sweet tooth.
Ginger is another popular breast milk increasing food, traditionally used in Indian and Asian kitchens.
How can I increase my breast milk naturally?
Poonam Singh, Ranchi
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Don't forget your vitamins!
- Nurse often and follow your baby's lead.
- Let the baby feed fully on each side.
- Take Galactogogues supplements.
Does drinking milk increase breast milk supply?
Ruchi Sharma, Mumbai
There is no evidence that consuming milk or dairy products improve breast milk production. However, drinking milk does provide many benefits for breastfeeding mothers, and should be included in the diet, provided neither you nor your baby is allergic to milk.
How can I increase my milk supply after delivery?
Prema Kuriakose, Cochin
- Ensure your baby is nursing efficiently.
- Nurse frequently, and for as long as your baby is actively nursing.
- Offer both sides at each feeding.
- Avoid pacifiers and bottles as much as possible.
- Give the baby only breast milk.