There are many foods which can help to increase the supply of breast milk and enhance the nutrition found in the breast milk produced. We have compiled a list of the top 20 foods that can help to increase breast milk production.
Although there is no scientific research to confirm that oatmeal can increase breast milk supply, many lactation consultants believe that it has a positive impact on the milk-making hormones.
Oatmeal can help a nursing mother to relax. When the nursing mother is in a relaxed mood, her body will release oxytocin which is a hormone involved in breast milk production.
Besides increasing breast milk supply, oatmeal is also known for lowering the cholesterol level and maintaining healthy blood pressure as it is full of fibre.
If having oatmeal is not appetizing for you, you can consider having oat cookies that are available in the market.
Carrot is rich in beta carotene which is known to increase the milk supply.
Carrots help to boost the quality of breast milk. In the human’s body, beta carotene will be converted to vitamin A which helps to maintain healthy eyesight for the baby.
However, you should avoid excessive consumption of carrots as allergies to carrot can still occur and your baby may experience a harmless colour change in his or her skin.
3. Sesame seeds
It is beneficial for nursing mothers to eat sesame seeds during breastfeeding.
High in calcium, sesame can help to improve the breast milk quantity and quality.
Furthermore, sesame is rich in iron which is important for red blood cell formation. Having enough iron in the diet can improve the quality of the breast milk and benefit babies who are growing very fast.
Sesame also contains other minerals like magnesium, zinc and vitamins like vitamin E which are all beneficial for mothers and babies.
A study published on “Journal of Nutrition” shows that salmon consumed during pregnancy improves the quality of the breast milk.
Salmon also contains fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which helps to promote the brain development of the baby.
Furthermore, salmon contains vitamins like A, B, B6, C and minerals likes potassium, iron, zinc, and magnesium which can benefit both the mother and baby.
Garlic is considered one of the best food to increase breast milk.
Garlic stimulates lactation as it contains a chemical compound which helps in lactation.
Many new mothers have been advised to avoid garlic during breastfeeding. This is mainly because garlic can change the smell and taste of the breast milk. Some babies may not like the taste and will become fussy and irritated by it. If that happens to your baby, you may have to avoid garlic.
Garlic has many health benefits. It is good for the digestive tract and heart health. It is also used to treat bacterial and viral infection.
Asparagus is considered as a must-have food for nursing mothers.
It is a high-fibre food and is rich in Vitamin A and K.
It helps stimulate the hormones in nursing mothers that are essential for lactation.
7. Brown rice
It is healthy to eat brown rice while you are breastfeeding.
Firstly, it contains hormone stimulants that boost lactation. Hence, this helps to increase the secretion of breast milk.
A research paper published in the World Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences has also proven that brown rice indeed enhances breast milk production as it has hormone stimulants that boost lactation in nursing mothers.
Secondly, brown rice contains a chemical that can prevent postnatal depression, hence ensuring that the mother is in a good mood and is able to produce more breast milk.
Lastly, brown rice helps to increase the appetite of nursing mother.
Many confinement food contains red dates as they improve the breast milk supply.
This is because dates are rich in Tryptophan. Tryptophan supports the chemistry of lactation.
Tryptophan also helps to maintain a healthy level of prolactin in nursing mothers. Prolactin is needed for milk production.
During and post pregnancy, there is a hormonal imbalance that takes place in the nursing mother’s body. Dried apricots have certain chemicals which balance out the hormone levels in the mother’s body.
Apricots are rich in calcium and fibre and help boost lactation.
10. Sweet potato
Sweet potato is a major source of potassium. It has energy producing carbohydrates which is needed to fight the fatigue.
It also contains Vitamin C, B-complex and a muscle relaxant mineral that is magnesium.
Vitamin A found in sweet potatoes is beneficial for the development of the vision and immune system of growing babies.
11. Unripe papaya
It is believed that the enzymes and phytochemicals found in unripe papaya helps to enhance breast tissues and improve lactation.
Papaya is a sedative which can help nursing mothers to relax and thus helping with the milk let-down process.
Papaya is also a rich source of vitamin C and beta-carotene which can help to protect nursing mothers as well as the newborns.
Furthermore, the fruit is also rich in dietary fiber which can help to prevent constipation.
Fenugreek helps nursing women who experience low milk supply. Fenugreek is a galactagogue which is a substance that increases milk supply. It stimulates the milk ducts and can increase milk production in as little as 24 hours.
Studies published on Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have all suggested that fenugreek promotes milk flow.
Fennel is believed by lactation consultant to be a galactagogue which is a substance that brings more breast milk for nursing mothers.
Some lactation consultants say that fennel assists with triggering the letdown reflex and therefore helps nursing mothers to increase their breast milk supply.
Moderate consumption of fennel is recommended as excessive consumption may have a negative impact on the breast milk supply.
One study published in the United States have concluded that low iron levels are associated with low breast milk supply. Spinach is rich in iron and therefore can prevent anaemia in nursing mothers.
Remember to eat spinach in moderation as too much can cause diarrhoea in your baby.