At some point, every mother has asked herself, am I producing enough milk? Which begs the next question, how do I increase my milk supply?
Been there, done that, having learned a thing or two along the way. I did the research, found the facts, and got to cooking! Because after all, what good is that shiny new Medela breast pump if you’re still lacking a steady supply of milk?
The postpartum diet plays a vital role in the health and well-being of both the mama and her baby. Fortunately for us, implementing a galactagogue-rich diet has never been easier.
Galactagogues are foods that help nursing mothers produce milk! For generations, mothers have been tinkering with our diets, trying to find out what foods help increase our breastmilk supply. While every mama is different, some (surprisingly common) foods have emerged as many mother’s favorites for lactation support.
6 Superfoods To Help Increase Your Milk Supply
Of course, it’s oats! Why do you think we’re called Oat Mama!? Other than being delicious, versatile, and inexpensive, oats are loaded with something that breastmilk is naturally low in - Iron.
According to the CDC, while most newborns are born with enough iron to last them 4 months, breastfeeding beyond 4 months means you need to find a new source of iron for your newborn.
Many address this problem by supplementing with iron-rich formula. But, some mothers opt for a more natural approach; Oats, which have 14mgs of iron per cup, translating to 77% of your recommended DV in a single cup.
Its most common use is in alcohol (hence it’s named), but the growing popularity of brewer's yeast used in baking has made more breastfeeding mama’s aware of its complete nutritional profile. Featuring significant amounts of 16 different amino acids, all B vitamins, chromium, selenium, phosphorus, it acts as a complete nutritional supplement for nursing mothers.
3. Fennel Seed
Whether they’re in a salad or soup, sprinkled on cheese or meat, this seed can mimic estrogen to stimulate breast milk production and breast tissue growth.
Fennel seed is also a postpartum beauty aid, improving skin tone and hair health, as well as promoting sound sleep and even soothing digestive issues in mom and colic in infants.
Here’s our delicious recipe of Coconut Panna Cotta with Passionfruit and Candied Fennel .
A great non-dairy source of calcium, this super nut is also a significant vegan source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants… the list goes on and on.
One of the most nutrient-dense foods found in nearly everywhere food is sold, almonds have also been one of those traditional lactogenic foods that “mothers have been using for generations”.
At Oat Mama, we mostly just like them because they’re delicious ;)
1 small handful (162 calories) has all of this!
- Protein: 6 grams
- Fiber: 3.5 grams
- Magnesium: 20% of the DV
- Manganese: 32% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 37% of the DV
Almonds also aid in the regulation of healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar. It’s worth noting too, that nearly 100% of dieticians recommend this food for any diet regardless of your goal!
5. Black Sesame Seeds & Flax Seeds
Both of these amazing seeds serve the same purpose, to regulate a nursing mother’s hormones. Every mama is unique, and we all have different levels of hormonal imbalances at different points in our pregnancies.
These two seeds are high in protein, and extremely versatile in cooking. Add them to soups/salads, shakes, baked goods.
6. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek is a Mediterranean herb (similar to clover) with a maple syrup-type flavor. In addition to aiding with digestion, fighting inflammation, and promoting sexual health in both men and women, mothers swear by its effectiveness for helping their milk supply.
One tablespoon of Fenugreek seeds contains just 35 calories, along with 3 grams of fiber and protein.
One 14-day study in 77 new mothers found that drinking herbal tea with fenugreek seeds increased breast milk production, which helped babies gain more weight (4).
Another study split 66 mothers into three groups. One received fenugreek tea, the second a placebo, and the third nothing.
These studies used fenugreek herbal tea instead of supplements, but supplements are likely to have similar effects
It is worth noting though, no food has been proven to help increase breastmilk production in all mothers.
Experiment with what galactagogues works best with your body and milk production. Try one of our delicious recipes on our blog, or find 80 specialized lactation recipes in our cookbook, Eat to Feed. Find it here.