Lactation Granola Bars: How They (and Other Lactogenic Foods) Work
The CDC says that 60% of women don’t breastfeed for as long as they want.
If you’re a new mom who is trying to breastfeed, you know the importance of keeping that liquid gold flowing. There’s nothing quite like spending hours on the breast pump only to get a few ounces of milk and then finding that your baby only drank half of it.
For as long as women have been birthing babies they’ve also been trying to find ways to keep their milk supply high. You’re already under so much pressure as a first-time mom, the last thing you want or need is to feel like you’re not producing an adequate amount of milk.
That’s where foods like lactation granola bars come into play. It might seem far fetched to think that food can increase or decrease the amount of milk that you produce, but women have been using foods to increase milk supply for ages.
We’ll break down the science behind foods that increase breast milk and let you know what foods to avoid if you want to up that precious milk supply.
Milk Supply Issues Are Normal
There's nothing quite like the pressure that we put on ourselves as new mothers. It's bad enough that we feel like the rest of the world is watching, but we are often our worst critic. Top that off with the fact that we've got a baby to take care of and it's a recipe for a lot of self-doubts.
And when your body, a body that was designed to nourish and feed our babies by itself, doesn't seem to want to cooperate it gets much worse.
The good news is that you're not alone. Issues with breastfeeding are normal, no matter if this is your first baby or your fifth. Sometimes your baby isn't great at latching on. Sometimes your milk supply doesn't want to come in.
No matter what, you need to know that you're not alone. This is normal. Your body is doing its best. Now, let's talk about what you can do to help it along.
What’s in Lactation Granola Bars?
In order to understand how lactation granola bars work, you need to know what's in them.
The main ingredient in just about any lactation focused food is oatmeal. We’ll talk more about why later. Other ingredients you might find are flax meal, hemp seeds, coconut oil, and yummy additions like chocolate chips, raisins, and cinnamon.
These seem like normal ingredients, right? What makes them so special that they can help increase the flow of breastmilk?
Saponins and Oatmeal
As we mentioned before, oats are the number one ingredient in most lactation granola bars. And while oats make a healthy, delicious snack for anyone, they’re especially important for breastfeeding moms who want to increase their milk supply.
This is because oats have a special compound in them called saponins. Many foods out there contain saponins. This compound works to help the body create more prolactin, which is the hormone that tells your body it’s time to make more milk.
Another way that oats can work to improve milk supply is by increasing the iron levels in the mother’s blood. When you have lowered iron levels or anemia, it can result in lowering your milk supply. Oats are rich in iron, making them the perfect snack.
When you’re in the thick of motherhood, a fussy baby in your lap, the last thing you feel is relaxed. That’s why picking up a nice lactation bar that smells like your favorite dessert and tastes incredible to boot is so important.
On top of increasing lactation with saponins, you’re indulging in comfort food at the same time and relaxing. When you’re less stressed, you’re more likely to let down your milk.
You can also use oats to lower your cholesterol, which is a huge bonus!
Next up on the nutrient powerhouse card is flaxseed. Flaxseed is a seed from a flax plant that we used to use to create linen and other textiles, as it was stronger than cotton. Nowadays, we recognize it for what it is: a nutrient dense superfood.
Flaxseed has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. And while it’s important to maintain a balanced intake of fat, it’s important that everyone gets enough omega 3 and omega 6.
These fats are great for a lot of things, like lowering your triglyceride levels and helping with depression. They’re essential for developing babies, as well.
But one thing we often don’t consider is how good they are for breastmilk!
While the oatmeal in lactation granola bars is great for increasing milk supply, flaxseed helps to ensure that the quality of the milk your baby gets is the best.
Brewer’s yeast is an ingredient typically used for making beer and bread. Alone, it has a bitter taste. But, don’t let the flavor fool you. It’s crammed full of nutrients like B vitamins.
B vitamins are important for a breastfeeding mother. They help your brain create the neurotransmitters that allow it to function the right way. They’re also good for stabilizing mood and sleep.
Brewer’s yeast also contains chromium, selenium, and protein, all of which are vital to a healthy body.
Black Sesame Seeds
Black sesame seeds are the tiny soldiers of lactation granola bars. They are pumped full of calcium that can help your body create more breastmilk. They're also high in iron, fiber, magnesium, and manganese.
On top of being delicious, walnuts pack a healthy punch. They're packed full of antioxidants and those omega-3 fatty acids that we talked about earlier. So, on top of letting your body create more milk, they also make sure it's nutritious for your baby!
Walnuts can also help lower your blood pressure and decrease your inflammation levels. They're good for boosting your brain health too, and when you're a new mom running on a few precious fumes of sleep, you can take all the help you can get in that area!
Almonds are one of the best-kept secrets of breastfeeding moms. They're packed with vitamins and nutrients like walnuts, so they pack your breastmilk full of good stuff for baby.
But they're also good for helping you fight off exhaustion! Almonds work to provide you with an all natural energy boost throughout the day.
Foods to Avoid When You’ve Got Low Milk Supply
Now that you know what’s in lactation granola bars that make them work, let’s take a look at some of the foods you should avoid if you’re dealing with problems with milk supply.
Parsley is a diuretic, which means that it can lead to dehydration. If you just use a sprig of parsley in dishes, you don’t have anything to worry about. But dishes that go heavy on the herb are best left to after your milk supply is back to par.
Another food that can hinder your milk supply is peppermint. Peppermint oil is great for anything from a headache and upset stomach and many people use it every day. However, peppermint can reduce your milk supply.
Many pregnant or breastfeeding women choose to forgo caffeine because of the adverse effects it has on a fetus or a newborn. Things that are high in caffeine are dehydrating, which means that your body has less water to use to make milk with.
Some other foods to watch out for are:
- Cough drops
Another thing you should avoid doing when you’re trying to get your breastmilk game back in full swing is skipping a meal!
Don’t diet or change your eating habits too much at this time, you want to give your body all of the nutrients you can so you can produce enough healthy breastmilk for your baby!
Lactation Granola Bars Are Good for the Whole Gang
By now it should be clear how much lactation granola bars can help you with your breastmilk supply and why. But the best part about lactation granola bars, other than their milk boosting benefits, is that they’re good for everyone in your family. They make a delicious snack for your other little ones, or the man in your life when you're on the go or in a rush.
Who doesn’t love a sweet treat that’s good for your mind body and soul?
If you’re struggling to maintain the milk supply for a hungry baby, browse our selection of delicious lactation granola bars today!