We don’t have to tell you that breastfeeding is hard work, right? You’ve probably already discovered as much. By now it’s likely you know your body needs to be properly nourished in order to keep your milk supply flowing.
But it may be challenging to find the time (or energy!) to prepare a quick meal or snack. And let’s face it, eating healthy may be the last thing on your mind right now. Still, it’s important to fuel yourself regularly so that you can truly feel your best.
What’s more, eating nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day is the best way to ensure a healthy milk supply for your baby.
Fortunately, there are many quick and easy-to-prepare recipes made with ingredients that may help improve your milk supply. Plus, these recipes are packed with nutrients you need as a breastfeeding parent.
Here are some tasty recipes that can help keep you energized and may give your milk supply a boost.
1. Pumpkin spice lactation smoothie
Autumn or not, this pumpkin lactation smoothie has all the flavor of a traditional pumpkin spice latte. Plus, it’s packed with nutritious ingredients, like pumpkin, which may naturally boost your milk supply.
Remember to choose dairy milk or milk substitutes that are fortified with vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, and perhaps vitamin B-12 to support your breastfeeding needs. View the recipe.
2. Blueberry lactation muffins
These easy-to-make blueberry lactation muffins are loaded with healthy ingredients like flax seeds, blueberries, and eggs. Plus, they’re gluten-free and include honey for natural sweetness, so they’re lower in sugar than traditional muffins. View the recipe.
3. No-bake lactation bites
These no-bake bites are perfect for a quick snack in between nursing sessions or when you’re on the go. They take only 10 minutes to put together, and they’re sure to satisfy your sweet cravings in a quick, healthy way. View the recipe.
4. Healthy lactation cookies
Let’s face it, everyone needs a cookie now and then. Especially breastfeeding parents! This recipe combines nutritious ingredients like oats, flax, brewer’s yeast, and spices to create a delicious and nourishing cookie. View the recipe.
5. Herbal nursing mom tea
Staying hydrated while breastfeeding is important. This homemade tea blend can help you get the job done. It uses herbs and spices like fennel, which has been shown to have galactogenic properties, meaning it may help boost milk secretion. View the recipe.
6. Lactation overnight oats
Some breastfeeding parents swear by oatmeal for boosting their milk supply. This overnight oats recipe is made ahead of time — consider it a little gift for future you.
It’s also a highly versatile recipe, which is perfect for busy moms. Try adding nutrient-dense toppings like walnuts, fresh fruit, and chia seeds.
If you’re forgoing dairy for a milk substitute, be sure to choose a product that contains added vitamin D and calcium to best support your lactation. View the recipe.
7. Slow cooker bone broth
This nourishing bone broth recipe is packed with amino acids, collagen, and minerals that your body needs to heal post-delivery. Bone broth can act as a warm, nourishing stand-in for coffee, if you’re trying to cut back on your caffeine consumption. View the recipe.
8. Salmon salad and lactation-boosting dressing
While breastfeeding it’s essential that you eat plenty of protein, healthy fats, and colorful veggies. This tasty salad recipe combines them all.
Plus, the dressing is made with turmeric and fenugreek, both of which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. View the recipe.
9. Nursing omelet
Don’t be afraid to eat plenty of healthy fats while breastfeeding. This omelet combines multiple sources of healthy fats like avocado, cheddar cheese, and eggs. Throw in some greens for an extra nutrition boost! View the recipe.
10. Green lactation smoothie
When your hands are full taking care of your baby, you may need a quick source of calories. This green smoothie is an easy way to get your veggies in while breastfeeding.
Because it’s vegan, we recommend that you choose a fortified soy or nut milk as a base in order to meet lactation needs. View the recipe.
11. Turmeric and kale chicken soup
Your whole family will enjoy this hearty, nourishing soup. It’s full of nutritious ingredients like chicken and fresh veggies that will give you the energy boost you need to breastfeed. View the recipe.
Now that you have some ideas for quick and easy recipes to stay fueled during breastfeeding, you may be wondering why breastfeeding is so beneficial in the first place.
Before we dive in, know that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and many parents choose to forgo breastfeeding for a number of reasons, both personal and medical — and that’s perfectly okay. You do you, no judgment.
Now that we’ve made that clear, there are a number of benefits that breastfeeding offers both you and your baby.
For baby, you’re transferring antibodies and the nutrients they need to grow, especially in your colostrum when you first start breastfeeding.
Breast milk may also help fend off colds, the flu, and other infections, while reducing your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Research suggests that babies who are breastfed tend to have fewer problems with:
There are benefits for you as well. First off, breastfeeding is convenient — and free! Additionally, it may help reduce the risk of heart disease, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Breastfeeding may also help you lose the weight you gained while you were pregnant. (Though, that doesn’t work for everyone!)
It’s common to think you’re not producing enough milk when, in fact, you’re producing plenty.
That said, if your milk supply seems to be dwindling, know that there are a number of reasons why you may not be producing enough milk. A great first step is reaching out to your health provider for some guidance.
Here are several common reasons why your milk supply might be dwindling:
not nursing often enough
certain medical conditions
Many issues with low milk production can be overcome with a little help.
Eating regularly and getting enough calories through a variety of healthy foods (fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-sugar snacks) is a great step in the right direction.
Take care to get adequate rest. If you find it difficult to “nap while the baby naps,” enlist the help of your partner — or another family member or trusted caregiver — to give you the time you need to get some good shut-eye.
Although some parents swear that certain foods help increase their milk supply, it’s important to keep in mind that this evidence is, well, mostly anecdotal.
However, there is some (limited) scientific evidence that the following foods may increase milk supply:
Pumpkin. Eating pumpkin has been associated with increased milk supply, though research is limited.
Protein-rich foods. Consuming chicken, eggs, tofu, and seafood has been associated with increased milk volume. Plus, eating protein-rich foods can help keep you full between meals.
Fennel. Fennel may have galactogenic properties according to some scientific research. You can use this flavorful veggie in salads or make a fresh fennel tea.
Fenugreek. This herb may have lactation-promoting effects. Fenugreek can be used to flavor recipes or be made into a tea.
Although scientific research is a bit lacking in this arena, many parents claim that foods like oats, sesame seeds, beer, and brewer’s yeast boost their milk flow. Hey, whatever works!
Keep in mind that some herbal remedies that are promoted as natural ways to promote breast milk production may contain ingredients that aren’t safe. In fact, they may have adverse side effects in some people.
It’s always best to check with your healthcare provider before you take any herbal supplements while breastfeeding.
When you’re busy, exhausted, and trying to comfort your baby, eating a nutritious meal isn’t very high on the priority list. We get it.
But good-for-you food is a great way to boost milk supply and promote overall health. Plus, it can be delicious, especially if we’re talking about healthy cookies and blueberry muffins, like the recipes featured above.
If you have issues with your milk production — any at all — contact your healthcare provider, pronto. They’ll be able to guide you in the right direction so that you, and your baby, can get all the support you need.
Breastfeeding Diet Foods to Eat to Increase Your Milk Supply
Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on December 17, 2020
The more your baby nurses, the more milk your body makes. Don't follow a strict schedule. Nurse your baby whenever they are hungry, for as long as they want, especially in the first few weeks of establishing your supply, and offer the other breast when the first is empty.
Many new moms think that they have a low milk supply when in fact nothing is wrong. As long as your baby is alert, active, and regularly filling and wetting diapers, your supply is likely fine. Remember, it can take a few days after delivery for your milk to come in. Meanwhile, your baby gets colostrum, which is the thick first stage of breast milk, rich in nutrients.
Lack of sleep is really rough on your milk production. If you can, take a “nursing vacation.” Cut back on outside commitments, and spend a couple of days doing as little as possible other than relaxing with your baby, resting, eating, and nursing. (Of course, this is easier with a first baby than when you have older children who also need your attention.)
While stress may not curb milk production, it can hamper your let-down reflex (which releases milk into your milk ducts) and make it harder for your baby to get what they need. Take care of yourself so that you're at your best for your baby. Ask your partner, family, or friends to help with other things. Tell overnight guests to wait a few weeks before they visit, so you can nurse in peace and establish milk supply.
Seek out other new moms who are breastfeeding and lean on each other. If your mom, friend, or grandmother breastfed, ask them what helped. If you're feeling vulnerable while you’re getting your milk supply established, avoid people who are critical or don't support your breastfeeding or who make it hard for you to nurse.
You may have heard the claim that beer stimulates milk supply, but actually, drinking alcohol lowers milk production. For example, one study found that after drinking one or two glasses of wine, women took longer to release the first drop of milk and produced less milk overall.
If you get dehydrated, you'll make less milk. It’s easy to get busy and distracted with a baby, so keep a bottle of water with you, and stash bottles where you usually nurse. Also, try to eat foods that are naturally rich in water, such as fruits and vegetables.
To maintain your milk supply and your own health, if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you need to get about 300 to 500 calories per day more than what you needed to keep your pre-pregnancy weight. The best diet for a nursing woman is simply a normal, healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
Bottle feeding is fine for later on, but in the first few weeks of establishing your milk supply, your baby should do all their sucking, or at least as much as possible, at the breast. The baby empties your breast much better than a pump does, so you’ll make more milk in response to your baby’s signals compared to a machine.
Certain herbs are thought by some to have milk-boosting effects for many women. One is fenugreek, a seed often used in cooking. Another commonly used supplement is blessed thistle. The research isn't clear on whether either of these supplements really stimulates milk production, but they’re generally considered safe to take while breastfeeding. Avoid fenugreek during pregnancy, because it may cause uterine contractions. Talk with your doctor before using any herbal supplement.
You don't need to eat certain foods to make more milk. Just eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and a little bit of fat. Some research shows that garlic, onions, and mint make breast milk taste different, so your baby may suckle more, and in turn, you make more milk. If your baby seems gassy after you've eaten broccoli, cabbage, or beans, back off of those foods.
If you mainly or exclusively pump to feed your baby, then most of the advice in this slideshow applies to you, too. Also, your milk letdown and production are cued by your baby, so try looking at a picture of your baby, listening to a recording of their voice, or inhaling the scent from their blanket or sleeper as you begin to pump.
Breast massage can help to boost the volume and fat content of your milk. When your baby is “comfort nursing” (calming and soothing themselves more than drinking), massage your breast near the chest and then a little further toward the nipple, and wait for your baby to take a couple of swallows. Then massage another area of the same breast, and wait for more swallows. Repeat.
Some drugs can affect breastfeeding. Commonly used medicines that may cut your milk supply include antihistamines and decongestants, diuretics, hormonal contraceptives containing estrogen, and some weight loss medications. Check with your doctor about alternatives.
If you’re having a hard time getting the hang of breastfeeding, an experienced, nonjudgmental professional can be a lifesaver. Consider hiring either a postpartum doula or a lactation consultant to give you advice on things like latching on and the best nursing holds for you. (Sometimes you can find both skills in one awesome expert!)
La Leche League International: “How to Get Your Milk Supply Off to a Good Start,” “Maternal Nutrition during Breastfeeding,” “Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk?” “I’m pumping milk to feed my baby, but my supply is going down. What can I do?”
Lawrence, R. Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession.
U.S. Department of Agriculture WIC Program: “Breastfeeding Challenges and Solutions.”
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada: “Medications and Drugs While Breastfeeding.”
Products that increase lactation and fat content in breast milk: a list, tips and tricks
Often the secretion of milk is reduced due to the wrong approach to breastfeeding. For example, a baby is bottle-fed and breastfed alternately. The child quickly chooses an easier sucking option - a bottle, and is too lazy to suck milk from the breast. As a result, the mother's body reduces the production of nutrient fluid. The use of a pacifier and feeding "on schedule", without taking into account the needs of the child, also affects.
In addition, the amount of milk decreases naturally over time. In the first time after childbirth, the mammary glands work in an enhanced mode, creating a kind of "reserve". The body then adapts to the needs of the child, producing as much nutrition as it needs. Another common occurrence during breastfeeding is a lactation crisis. In this state, milk is not secreted for several days, and then lactation resumes.
The state of health of the baby also affects the amount of milk. Infantile jaundice, short frenulum of the tongue, and even naturally increased drowsiness prevent the child from sucking milk from the breast to the end.
But the most important factor is the well-being of the mother. Often lactation stops in women with anemia, hypothyroidism, hormonal and postpartum problems. Chronic fatigue, taking certain medications and smoking have a negative effect.
Products with lactogenic properties help to improve the secretion of mother's milk. They speed up the metabolism and increase the level of the hormones oxytocin and prolactin, which are responsible for lactation.
How to check the volume and fat content of breast milk at home
On average, the mammary glands of a healthy woman produce up to 1.5 liters of milk per day. This amount fluctuates in different periods of feeding, and depends on many factors - the age, health status and, of course, the mother's nutrition.
The nutrient fluid is conventionally divided into "front" and "back". The first has a more liquid consistency, and contains more water, minerals and carbohydrates. She enters the stomach of the baby at the beginning of feeding, quenches thirst and stimulates appetite. The "back" portion is yellowish in color, thick and high in fat and protein.
At home, it is impossible to measure exactly how much milk an infant sucks. But you can find out if he has enough nutrition by 3 signs:
The baby looks relaxed and satisfied after feeding.
There is a constant increase in weight. It is 130 - 230 g in the first 4 months, 115-130 g at the age of 5-8 months.
The child urinates at least 10 times a day.
However, not only the quantity is important, but also the fat content of the product - at least 4%. You can measure it yourself by decanting 0.5 cups of “hind” milk. It is poured into a transparent container and put in the refrigerator for 6-7 hours. During this time, the milk fat will concentrate on top, forming a layer of cream. Its thickness is measured with a ruler. Each millimeter equals 1% fat.
Which foods increase lactation
One of the keys to successful breastfeeding is the right diet for the mother. It should include proteins, poly- and monounsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates and fiber. With weak lactation, you need to use the most effective lactogens:
Cereals. The most useful are oatmeal, pearl barley, brown rice and bulgur. They accelerate the synthesis of prolactin, give energy to the mother and child.
Whole wheat bread. It is rich in vitamins B and E, which enhance the secretion of breast milk, as well as complex carbohydrates.
Meat. To increase the protein content in milk, a nursing mother needs to eat turkey, chicken, lean veal.
Spinach and beetroot. Vitamin C and iron found in leafy vegetables help to restore lactation in case of anemia.
Carrot. This root vegetable contains beta-carotene, which speeds up the production of mother's milk and improves its taste.
Apricot. Potassium in the composition of the fruit works as a metabolic stimulant.
Oily fish. Salmon, mackerel, salmon enrich the mother's body with Omega-3 fatty acids, which improve the synthesis of hormones and enzymes.
Garlic. Just 1-2 slices of a spicy vegetable per day provide an increase in lactation by 5%. To reduce the intensity of the smell, you can add garlic to stews or soups.
Nuts. Especially effective for lactation are almonds and walnuts, rich in omega-3 fats.
Cow's milk. It contains a special secret iga, which forms antibodies that are useful for the intestines of the baby.
Black sesame. It not only stimulates the production of breast milk, but also saturates it with calcium.
Dill and basil. Fragrant greens are rich in lactogenic substances and vitamin C.
Some drinks also increase the secretion of breast milk - barley broth, coconut water, artificial coffee from chicory or dandelion roots.
How to increase the fat content of mother's milk
The lack of fat in the diet of the baby affects, first of all, its growth and development. But it is not so much the amount that matters, but the type of fatty acids. Poly- and monounsaturated fats help the absorption of vitamins and proteins that accelerate cell division in a growing organism.
A mother's diet cannot affect the fat content of breast milk, but it can determine the type of substances that are passed on to the baby. Here are the most valuable fatty acids that should be included in the menu of a nursing woman:
Omega 3. These organic substances stimulate the growth of the child's muscle mass, accelerate the development of the brain and retina, and strengthen the immune system. Omega-3 fats can be obtained from walnuts, flaxseeds, soybeans, and fatty fish. In a week, you should eat 2-3 dishes from these products.
Omega 6 They promote the division of brain cells. A large amount of Omega-6 is found in peanuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts and olive oil.
Monounsaturated fats. They lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, are responsible for the health of the heart and blood vessels. Monounsaturated fats are found in poultry, avocados, nuts, peanut and olive oils.
To increase the nutritional value of milk, it is useful for mom to use special drinks - for example, milkshakes with protein powder and hot tea with walnuts and sugar-free condensed milk.
What foods should not be eaten while breastfeeding
Modern doctors believe that a nursing mother should not limit her diet to rigid limits. You can eat everything that a woman is used to, the main thing is that the calorie content of the diet is 3200 - 3500 kcal per day. However, there are a number of products that are extremely harmful to lactation:
Alcohol. Ethyl alcohol quickly passes from the mother's blood into breast milk. It produces a dangerous effect on all organs and systems of the infant, but especially on the brain and digestive tract.
Caffeine. It excessively excites the nervous system of the baby, causing insomnia, causeless crying and even convulsions. Therefore, coffee and chocolate are excluded from the menu in the first 4 months, and then consumed no more than 1 time per day, between feedings.
Parsley, mint, sage. These herbs have the ability to reduce lactation. They can help with hypersecretion when mother's milk is in excess.
Certain types of fish. The meat of shark, mackerel, eel and dorado concentrates mercury in itself, which is toxic to the child.
A few more products are considered conditionally harmful - they cause negative consequences only in some cases. Among them:
Hot spices. Mustard, horseradish, red pepper disturb some babies. If a woman often used hot spices while pregnant, the baby does not show negative reactions.
Garlic. The fragrant vegetable enhances the production of breast milk, but gives it a peculiar smell and taste. It does not affect children whose mothers often ate garlic during pregnancy.
potential allergens. This group includes eggs, nuts, citrus fruits, fish, soy, dairy products, cereal gluten. They should be excluded from the diet if, 12-24 hours after feeding, the baby has allergy symptoms - a runny nose, cough and skin rash. Allergies are also indicated by colic, diarrhea, gas and vomiting. If the child normally tolerates foods, the mother can consume them in moderation - 2-3 times a week.
How to increase lactation with folk remedies
Phytochemicals - leaves, fruits and seeds of medicinal plants - help to strengthen the production of milk. Here are 5 proven remedies:
Cocktail with sesame. For him, mix in a blender a glass of milk, 2 tbsp. spoons of black sesame, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 0. 5 tsp. cinnamon powder. Drink once a day, preferably in the morning.
Cumin infusion. Rich in iron, calcium and phosphorus, cumin seeds speed up metabolic processes. For infusion 2 tbsp. spoons of seeds are brewed with a glass of boiling water, poured into a thermos and left overnight. Strained infusion drink 6 times a day for 2 tbsp. spoons.
Raspberry leaf tea. Raspberry leaf contains a high level of iron and vitamin C, which accelerate the synthesis of lactogenic hormones. 2 tbsp. spoons of fresh or dried leaves are brewed with a glass of boiling water. Infuse for 15 minutes, drink 0.5 cup 3-5 times a day.
Nut smoothie. It is prepared from 200 g of chopped walnuts and 0.5 liters of boiling milk. The ingredients are combined in a thermos and infused for 4 hours. The finished smoothie is filtered through gauze and drunk half an hour before each feeding.
A decoction of fenugreek. The seeds of this plant contain a lot of phytoestrogens that stimulate lactation. To get a healing agent, 2 teaspoons of grains are poured into a glass of cold water, left for 3 hours, then boiled for 10 minutes in a water bath. Drink a third of a glass 3 times a day, along with seeds.
Ordinary culinary dishes also help to improve lactation - chicken soup with barley, beetroot salad, oatmeal with dried fruits.
How to increase the lactation of a breastfeeding mother
Products that increase lactation
Vitamins and drugs that increase lactation
Other ways to stimulate the production of prolactin. lactation crisis
Today we're going to talk about how to give your baby optimal nutrition. And, of course, we are talking about breastfeeding and ways to increase lactation.
First, a few praises for breast milk.
Only breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. In terms of nutritional value, the balance of the chemical composition and the degree of digestibility of nutrients, none of the most perfect and adapted milk formula can be compared with breast milk. The nutritional value of breast milk - a product created by nature itself - ensures the rapid growth and development of a child in the first year of life. But it brings the greatest benefit for the baby precisely in the first months, when there is no other complementary food yet. Therefore, it is important to establish breastfeeding immediately after the birth of a child. How to do it right, read here.
And, of course, mothers, especially beginners, are interested in ways to increase lactation. Let's consider the most effective of them in more detail:
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this factor. For reference: the amount of food for a child in the first year of life starts from 700 ml (1/5 of body weight), gradually increasing to 1 liter per day. Accordingly, the volume of liquid consumed by a nursing mother should also increase by at least 1 liter. At home, there should always be herbal teas in a thermos and boiled water (mineral water, compotes or fruit drinks) at the same time. Especially effective is the combination of drinking hot herbal decoctions with feeding: you put a mug on the table and, periodically drinking, put the baby to your chest. A wonderful feeling of rush in the chest is guaranteed!
Most herbal preparations contain oregano, anise, fennel, lemon balm, dill, nettle, wild strawberry leaves. All of these herbs have a calming, antispasmodic effect, which has a beneficial effect on the production of oxytocin, one of the two main hormones responsible for lactation. Therefore, during stress, overwork, nervous exhaustion, when the production of oxytocin decreases, herbal preparations are absolutely indicated for use. But sage and thyme (thyme) should be treated with caution - they have a depressing effect on the production of breast milk. From a lack of food, babies can often be capricious and lose a lot of weight, so it is important not to deviate from the daily diet. How much a newborn should eat per feeding - read here.
Herbs can be prepared in advance by yourself, bought at a pharmacy to make a collection at home, or you can buy ready-made herbal teas, including in filter bags.
Products that increase lactation
Lactation is a very energy intensive process. Before the introduction of complementary foods, you feel like a sort of small dairy. And nutrition during feeding should be balanced - taking into account not only losses with breast milk, but also the energy spent on its creation in the mammary gland. Therefore, when breastfeeding, not only the volume of food increases (mainly due to liquid), but also its calorie content. But not at the expense of cakes and pastries! A sufficient amount of protein-containing foods will ensure adequate lactation with good milk quality. Low-fat meats, fish (no more than 2 times a week), cottage cheese, cheese, dairy products, eggs must be in the diet of a nursing woman. Hot soups and broths made from lean veal, chicken, turkey, and rabbit are especially good at stimulating lactation. They should be on the menu every day.
But alcohol, including the legendary beer, as a means of increasing milk production, is under an absolute ban. In the case of using beer, including with sour cream, the main effect is calming and relaxing, which positively affects the production of oxytocin. Herbal teas have the same effect, and the effects of alcohol on a child's body can be catastrophic. But you can use brewer's yeast as a source of B vitamins.
Any new product should be introduced with caution, observing the child's reaction to it within 2-3 days. And one of the main indicators is the nature of the chair. For a healthy child of the first month of life, the norm is the passage of stool after each feeding. And here, Huggies ® Elite Soft diapers for newborns can become your assistant, which have a unique Soft Absorb absorbent layer that absorbs loose stools and moisture in seconds. And for even more tenderness as part of the new Huggies ® Elite Soft contains 100% organic cotton. The elastic waistband of the diaper fits perfectly to the baby's body, and a special pocket for loose stools will provide additional protection against leakage. Use with pleasure!
Vitamins and drugs that increase lactation
During lactation, the woman's body's need for vitamins and trace elements increases. The resulting relative hypovitaminosis can contribute to a decrease in the function of the mammary gland. Preference is given to multivitamin complexes containing retinol (vitamin A), tocopherol (vitamin E), thiamine (vitamin B 1 ), ascorbic acid, microdoses of iodine, glutamic and lipoic acid. Of the biogenic stimulants, Apilak, Laktogon are used.
Considering that almost all drugs pass into breast milk and, accordingly, to the child, medications to increase lactation should be used only as directed by a doctor.
Other ways to stimulate the production of prolactin.