27 Foods to Increase Breast Milk Supply
As a new mother, it’s totally natural to worry about whether or not your baby is getting enough milk.
If your baby seems to be hungry again shortly after feeding time, then perhaps your little one is not getting enough to eat.
Certainly, the best way to know is to see a lactation specialist, but in the meantime, there are some things that you can do to increase your breast milk supply.
Let’s begin by looking at some of the foods that you can eat to promote lactation so that your little one gets the nutrition that they need to grow up big and strong!
Salmon is a type of fish that is low in mercury; it is also a great source of Omega-3 and essential fatty acids for you and the baby.
A little salmon in your diet will help boost your lactation levels and produce more nutritious milk for your little one.
Carrots have a lot of Vitamin A, which is great for improving the quality of the milk that you are producing. In fact, drinking a glass of carrot juice a day will greatly improve your breast milk supply.
Be aware that you can see your baby’s skin turn a tint of orange if you eat a lot of carrots.
Oatmeal is a good source of iron and fiber, so it is a great option that is good for your digestion as well as the baby’s.
Keeping your iron level up is a great way to promote lactation and increase the amount of milk that your body is producing.
Another food that is rich in iron is spinach, which is great for replenishing the blood that was lost during delivery. It also has a lot of calcium that is good for strengthening your baby.
Spinach is great to detoxify your body, but be careful not to eat too much because it can cause runny bowels for your little one.
5. Basil Leaves
Basil leaves are great for breastfeeding mothers because the leaves have a calming effect that is great for producing more milk.
They are full of the antioxidants that are great for your baby’s immune system, and the basil leaves can easily be made into a tea to drink in the morning when you wake up.
Garlic is a great food to have if your breast milk supply seems low because it is great for your health as well as boosting your milk.
All you need is about two cloves a day, and you will see a big difference in your lactation.
7. Brown Rice
Brown rice has a hormone stimulant in it that is great for breast milk production.
Soaking the rice overnight before you prepare it can also increase your milk supply because it makes the rice easier to digest for your body, which provides more nutrition for your little one.
Beans and legumes are a great source of protein that is great for boosting your milk supply.
If you worry that too many beans will give your little one gas, try mashing them a bit before eating them so that they digest more easily. Try different beans to see which one is the gentlest on your baby’s stomach.
Asparagus is a vegetable that is low in gas, but it is also high in fiber, which is great for milk production. Asparagus is also high in Vitamin A and K.
It also stimulates some of the hormones that are essential to you when you are breastfeeding your little one. If you don’t like asparagus, then boil some in milk and drink it down.
Nuts are great for increasing your milk supply, but specifically almonds.
They are rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for your baby’s development, and the calcium, iron, and Omega-3 is great for enhancing the amount of milk that your body can produce.
In addition, snacking on almonds can help you lose your baby weight and heal stretch marks.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great option for increasing your breast milk supply because it is the perfect carbohydrate to replenish your potassium, energy, and the essentials that your body needs.
When you breastfeed, a lot of the vitamins and minerals in your body are given to your baby so that they get the nutrition that they require.
12. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds are great for producing the milk that your baby needs as well as keeping your body regular.
They are also a great way to increase the quality of the milk that you are producing, which means that you will be able to give your little one the nutrition that they need.
13. Cumin Seeds
Cumin seeds are great for boosting your milk supply, but they are also an effective way to help prevent digestive woes that may cause discomfort for your little one.
Cumin seeds can be dried and added to milk as well if you prefer.
14. Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds are known for having relaxing properties. They are great for helping a nervous new mom relax, which in effect will help produce more milk for your baby.
It is best to eat these seeds on bread or you can flavor your milk with them.
15. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds are great for stimulating breast milk. They are also great for digestion, so it could help to have some fennel seeds if you have a fussy baby.
They are great in tea or in warm milk, so if you need a quick boost, just drink it down.
Ginger is a great food in general to promote good health, but it is also great for breastfeeding your little one because it promotes a supply that is healthy and plentiful.
If you are not a fan of ginger in your food, then try some soothing ginger tea at night.
Papaya is a fruit that has a number of benefits that are useful for you and your baby.
It is great for digestion, which means that it can help soothe your baby’s tummy, and it has the essential vitamins and minerals that you need to recover from giving birth.
Green papaya is especially great.
If you are having trouble producing enough milk for your baby, then try having some alfalfa salads, soups or, even tea.
It is high in vitamins and minerals, and it is proven to increase the production of breast milk, which is why it is often given to dairy cows and goats.
Turmeric is a great spice to use when your milk supply is low because it also has antibiotic properties that will keep your nipples from becoming inflamed and infected.
You don’t need a lot of turmeric, but a little bit in a warm glass of milk will help greatly.
20. Dill Leaves
Dill leaves are high in vitamin K, A, C, and fiber, which is great for helping to heal your body after birth.
They help with digestion, they can decrease depression, and even help replenish your milk supply, so try having some dill weed in your soup or simply boil it in water to make some tea.
Dates have a lot of calcium, iron, and potassium in them, which makes them an ideal snack to eat while you are breastfeeding. It also is a food that produces serotonin, a hormone that promotes milk production in new mothers.
They are also a great option for regulating blood sugar, which you may need when you are nursing.
When you breastfeed, you are giving the water that you put into your body to your baby. This can cause you to be dehydrated, which will decrease your milk production.
To keep your breast milk supply where it needs to be, make sure to drink plenty of water to replace the fluids that you are losing.
23. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are a great breast milk producing food option, but are also very high in calcium, which is beneficial for your baby’s growth.
The seeds can be toasted and eaten in salads and on other food, but the easiest way to put sesame seeds in your diet is to use sesame oil.
24. Bottle Gourd
Bottle gourd is a vegetable that has high water content, so it is great for keeping you hydrated and restoring the milk supply that your baby needs. It is rich in vitamins and minerals that will help your body after giving birth.
It also helps with digestion, so having a bottle gourd smoothie can help you and your baby become more comfortable.
Hummus is a great option for a mother who needs to increase their breast milk supply because it is a combination of chickpeas and garlic, which are two of the food items that are already on this list.
It is a great snack that is healthy for both you and the baby, and it is delicious.
Apricots are a great option for breast milk production.
They are rich in fiber, potassium, and calcium, which are beneficial for your baby, and they help to balance the hormones in your body to create the milk that your baby needs.
An apricot smoothie is a perfect addition to your breakfast.
27. Lactation Cookies
Lactation cookies are made from a number of different ingredients that are great for improving your milk supply. They are oatmeal cookies that contain flax seeds, and brewer’s yeast.
These three ingredients alone are great for producing milk, but the cookies also provide a sweet treat that is more than just empty calories.
Other Ways to Increase You Breast Milk Supply
Your diet is not the only thing that can help increase your breast milk supply; in fact, there are several other options that you can consider.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Feed Baby Frequently
Remember that you’re not trying to store your breast milk for a later time. The milk is created when it is needed by your baby, so the more you feed them, the more milk you will see being produced.
It may seem like your body is not producing enough milk, but in the early stages of your baby’s life, your breasts will be adjusting to your baby’s needs. This means that giving them formula will only hinder the process, and keep your supply low. The more that they eat, the more milk you will produce.
When you are feeding them, make sure that you switch sides.
One of your breasts is not going to be able to fully feed your little one, so it is important that they get all of the milk that they can out of both of your breasts.
If your little one begins to doze off or becomes uninterested in eating, flip them over and see if they will drink from your other breast.
When your body is in a relaxed state, it is easier for the milk to be produced.
Stress can reduce the hormone production that would increase your supply, so make sure to get plenty of rest. If you are having issues getting the sleep that you need, try asking a friend or a family member for assistance so that you can rest when your baby does.
Laying down when you nurse your baby is a relaxing way that you can both bond.
If you’re having issues with having enough breast milk, ask your loved ones to take care of the things that need to be done around the house while you and your baby spend the day in the bed.
You can cuddle and play all day, but make sure that you let them feed frequently.
Skin to Skin Nursing
When you nurse with skin to skin contact, you bond more with your baby.
This bonding promotes the creation of milk producing hormones that will increase your supply. If it is even just a little chilly, cover the both of you up with a blanket.
This will keep you and your little one warm for the duration of the feeding.
Alcohol is a No-No
Not only is alcohol bad for the development of your baby, it is also a substance that will actually decrease the amount of milk that you will have available for your little one at feeding time.
If you already have a low amount of milk available, the last thing that you want to do is limit your baby’s food supply even more.
Minimize Bottle and Pacifier Use
Bottles and pacifiers may seem like a great option for a fussy baby who always wants to be sucking on something, but it is actually not beneficial at all.
Your baby will get used to sucking on them instead of your nipples, which means that they are not being nursed as often as possible.
Remember, the more they eat from you, the more milk you produce, so giving them a bottle is self-defeating when you are trying to increase your breast milk supply.
Pacifiers and bottles also take away from quality bonding time that is important for you to have with your child.
Pump As Well
The more your breasts are stimulated, the more milk they will produce.
Once your little one is done eating, pump each breast for another two to five minutes. Removing this milk helps to promote more milk production, which is great for times when your loved ones can help take care of your baby while you catch up on your rest.
You will not need to pump often, but it is a good practice to start if you plan to continue to use your breast milk to feed your baby when you return to work.
Massage Your Breasts
Your nipples and milk ducts are not always as stimulated as you need them to be to create a flow of milk that produces more than enough milk for your little one. To stimulate your breasts and get them ready to nurse your baby, simply massage your breasts to help circulate the blood and open the ducts.
You should massage each breast from your chest, and then move inwards towards the nipple. Massage one breast at a time, and when you are finished, feed your baby.
Make sure to massage the other breast before switching sides as well.
Make Sure your Baby is Latched
Have you ever considered the possibility that your body is making enough milk for your baby to eat, but they are simply not latching on to your nipple properly so that they can adequately get the milk into their mouth?
When your baby is finished nursing, is there a lot of milk on your nipple and around the edges of your little one’s mouth?
If so, you may need to check to ensure that they are latching properly.
First, use your finger to gently pull their mouth off of your nipple. Then, take your breast in your hand and put your nipple near their mouth until they open it.
You can rub your nipple on the edge of their lips to get them to open up, but it typically does not take much effort, especially when they are hungry.
Once they open their mouth, put your nipple and areola into their mouth. When the latch is good, your baby’s tongue should be over their gums, and their lips will be flared out so that they create a seal on your breast.
If they are not latched on correctly, then it will be difficult for them to get all of the milk out of the breast.
Wear a Comfortable Bra
Your bra is meant to support your breasts, but when you are nursing, it is important to use a different type of bra.
You will want one that is comfortable and relaxing to wear, not one that compresses your breasts to your chest. Any bra that is tight on your body can reduce the milk flow and even cause your milk ducts to clog.
Having a clogged milk duct can be a painful experience for you, but more importantly, it means that your baby is not getting the milk that they need.
Avoid Medication when Possible
Not all medications are going to be good for you to have while you are breastfeeding. They will not necessarily harm the baby, but they can slow your milk production.
Medications like birth control should not be used during the period of time when you are nursing your youngster because they are designed to produce hormones that may not be the best for your breast milk supply.
There are other forms of birth control that are better options during this time of your life, but if you are still set on taking oral birth control pills, talk to your doctor to see what they recommend.
Seek a Professional’s Opinion
If you try the methods that we have discussed and you still seem to not have a sufficient amount of milk for your child, then it is best to talk to a lactation consultant who may be able to find out if there is an underlying reason that you are not producing an adequate amount of milk.
They may suggest supplementing formula, but in most situations, it is merely a latching issue that you are not aware is occurring. The issue could be something as simple as your nipples being too small for your baby to latch onto.
This is something that can be fixed easily, a simple latch guard can make your nipples a bit longer so that your little one can grab onto it more easily.
Also, massaging your babies jaw when they are latching can help them learn to push their tongue out of their mouth further, which will make nursing easier as well.
As a new mother, you want to do everything possible to make sure that your baby is getting the nutrition that they need, so when you feel that your milk supply is less than it should be, it is often a concern that a new mother would want to address.
There are several foods that you can add to your diet to help increase your breast milk supply, but there are other things that can help as well.
To make the situation less stressful, here are some tips that can help:
Nurse as often as you can; your body works on a system where it produces milk when there is a demand, so frequent feedings are the key.
Relax and try to remove the stress from your life; nurse your little one in a quiet room that is free from distractions.
Add some of the foods that I suggested to your diet to see if it helps.
The first few weeks of your baby’s life will be the most difficult because your body needs to adjust.
Use nursing your baby as a bonding time between the two of you; it will promote more milk production.
Be as healthy as possible because everything that you put in your body is going to go to feed your baby as well.
Stay hydrated because a lack of water can reduce the amount of milk that you can produce.
If you are unable to increase your milk supply on your own, seek professional help so that your baby gets the nutrition that they need.
Contributed by our friends at Maternity Glow