Milk production is based on a demand-supply model. The more your baby nurses, the more milk you’ll produce.
According to the World Health Organization, exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality rates by preventing common childhood illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea. It also boosts their immunity allowing them to recover from illnesses a lot quicker.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that only 57.6% of infants breastfeed through the recommended 6-month period. Many mothers cite insufficient milk production as one of the reasons they stop breastfeeding early.
Most don’t seem to be aware of the lactation boosting foods they can incorporate in their daily diet to improve their milk production. This article takes an in-depth look at 6 deliciously wholesome foods that increase lactation.
1. Rolled Oats
Most breastfeeding moms can attest to the fact that on the days they have rolled oats for breakfast, they pump more often than they usually would. In many countries across the world, traditional wisdom recommends that lactating moms should incorporate oats into their diet.
This ensures that they have ample milk supply for their babies throughout the day. Oats are a great source of iron which is critical in combating anemia. According to the American Society of Hematology, anemia is quite common in pregnant women during their second and third trimester.
It’s also prevalent in new mothers who’ve just had their babies. This can be attributed to the fact that during pregnancy the volume of blood increases by up to 30%.
This, in turn, increases the body’s demand for iron. Most women lack the sufficient amount to meet this demand.
Combine this with blood-loss during delivery and you have the perfect recipe for anemia in new mothers. Low iron levels lead to a reduction in the production of milk.
So, having rolled oats in whichever form you prefer increases the amount of iron for lactating mothers. This ultimately enhances their milk production.
2. Brewer’s Yeast as a Lactation Boosting Ingredient
Brewer’s yeast is one of the recommended foods to help milk supply. It is a dried deactivated fungus that is derived as a by-product of the beer-brewing process.
It’s important not to confuse brewer’s yeast with beer yeast. The latter is an active yeast used in brewing beer or as a rising agent in the baking process.
On the other hand, the cells in brewer’s yeast are non-living and cannot be activated. This superfood is a rich source of B-complex vitamins, proteins, amino acids and minerals like chromium.
It has numerous health benefits which include treating colds, flu, and diabetes. Brewer's yeast also a well-known lactogenic and works by replenishing the vital nutrients that nursing mothers need to boost their milk supply.
What’s more, it re-energizes and rejuvenates lactating moms who may often find themselves battling chronic fatigue. Add one to two tablespoons of brewer's yeast powder to your favorite smoothie.
It will not only boost your milk supply but elevate your overall sense of well-being as well. It's also great for nourishing your skin and hair and helps to regulate the blood sugar level in the body.
Flaxseed is a superfood that's packed with loads of fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin-B complexes, protein, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. The high quantities of Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed are responsible for boosting milk supply in lactating moms.
What's more, these Omega-3s are passed on from mother to child via nursing which is critical to the baby’s brain development. They are also packed with lignans which get rid of free radicals from the baby’s body.
Flaxseed also helps new moms shed off excess baby weight fast. Nursing moms eat for two – quite literally. They need to eat to nourish themselves in order to provide milk to nourish their babies.
This leaves them feeling hungry all the time. It’s therefore easy to see how one can end up piling on the pounds without even realizing it.
Because of their fiber-rich properties, flaxseeds provide the perfect balance. They make you feel fuller for longer all while stimulating milk production for the baby.
As a result, it suppresses the urge to eat therefore cutting down on the overall calorie intake. Getting back to your pre-pregnancy body becomes easier to achieve.
It’s a win-win for both baby and mom. It definitely deserves a spot in your breastfeeding meal plan.
4. Black Sesame Seeds
When it comes to seeds, what helps with lactation? Black sesame seeds are packed with calcium, minerals and Omega-6 fatty acids.
The calcium mineral contained in them is a key player in boosting milk production in nursing moms. Studies show that during pregnancy and lactation, maternal calcium stores get depleted.
If not replaced this could have far-reaching repercussions on maternal health and the baby’s bone health. Remember, babies need calcium for proper bone development.
They can only get this critical mineral from the mother’s breast milk. While the baby is in the uterus and the mother isn’t getting enough calcium in her diet, the baby draws what it needs from the mother’s bones.
This could lead to a severe loss of bone mass which ultimately impacts the quality and quantity of milk produced post-delivery. Black sesame seeds also have moderate levels of phytoestrogens. These are plant estrogens which are also known to promote milk production.
Walnuts are a great source of protein and calcium. These not only promote milk production but encourage the healthy development of the baby.
They are also rich in essential nutrients like Vitamin B1, B2, B2, and E. They come packed with minerals like Omega-3, Omega-6, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorous and Zinc.
These not only speed up your post-delivery recovery time but also boost your baby’s immunity when consumed through breast milk. They’re also galactagogues, which naturally stimulate milk production in nursing moms.
As a new mom, it’s often quite difficult to nurse your baby and manage all the other chores that come with it. You might find yourself chronically fatigued which if not monitored puts you at a higher risk for postpartum depression.
Walnuts give you that much-needed boost of energy to help you ward off fatigue. What’s more, they’re great for your skin and hair and will effortlessly leave you looking like a yummy mommy all day long.
If you find it especially difficult to find the time to prepare tasty meals, toasted walnuts are a tasty wholesome snack to have on hand to curb those horrendous junk-food cravings. These are synonymous with nursing moms.
They have a high concentration of antioxidants, which scavenge for free-radicals in both the mother’s and baby’s bodies. Since babies don’t generate fatty acids as fast as adults do, the Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids from Walnuts are a great source of these minerals through the mother’s breast milk.
Wondering what to eat to increase milk supply? Grab a handful of almonds.
Raw almonds are a rich source of protein, calcium and essential fatty acids. They’re also abundant in amino acids which form the building blocks for serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls milk production. When milk production in nursing mothers dips, serotonin levels increase to stimulate the production of milk.
Almonds, therefore, provide the key ingredient required for serotonin production. There’s good news for dairy-free moms, too. You can get your daily nutritional calcium requirements from eating a handful of almonds every day.
What’s more, drinking almond milk not only increases the quantity of your milk production but your baby will certainly enjoy the added sweetness and creaminess of the breast milk.
The Bottom Line
Breastfeeding your baby isn't just healthy, it’s convenient too. Getting up in the middle of the night and stumbling through the kitchen to mix up Formula for your baby is enough to take the joy out of being a new mom.
With breastfeeding, however, you don't have to worry about any of that. While it's not uncommon for nursing moms to sometimes have difficulty producing enough milk for their babies, the lactation boosting ingredients outlined in this guide are great ways to get things going.
The best food to increase breast milk production is one that incorporates all these ingredients into one delicious lactation snack. Your baby will love you for it!
Following a healthy balanced diet when you're pregnant isn't always easy. Managing your cravings can be quite an uphill task. Check out these 12 healthy pregnancy snacks you should definitely try out.