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Are you a nursing mother looking for natural ways to increase your milk supply?
Other than frequent nursing and pumping, a lot of moms rely on lactation-induced foods, also known as galactagogues to boost their supply.
Before you dive in to try galactogogues mentioned here, please be aware that you can only achieve great result if you have ensured effective milk removal from your breasts.
Having said so, let’s now check out these 10 foods to increase breast milk supply.
This post is part of MILK SUPPLY series. You may check out other posts in this series:
- 20+ Things I Did To Boost My Milk Supply
- 10 Ways To Increase Milk Supply Naturally
- How To Increase Milk Supply While Pumping
- 10+ Herbs to Increase Your Milk Production
- 10 Foods To Boost Your Milk Supply
- Protein Powder to Increase Milk Production
- 8 Things That Cause Your Milk Supply Drop | And What To Do About It
- What To Do When Your Milk Supply Drops After Returning To Work
- How to stop Supplementing with Formula
- How to Stop Supplementing For Working Mom
Oatmeal is very popular in North American culture to increasing breast milk supply.
Typically consumed for breakfast, oats is high in fiber and a great source of iron and antioxidants.
Nowadays, there are various ways to include oatmeal in your daily menu. Other than the typical porridge, oatmeal can be mixed in smoothies, made overnight-oat (this is my favorite, very easy to do, you got to try it!), or used in baked goods such as lactation cookies, muffins, or even, lactation brownies.
I used to eat a bowl of oatmeal a day to reduce the amount of formula supplementation for my first baby.
And for the greatest benefit, always use rolled oat / steel-cut oat as opposed to instant oat.
By now, any nursing mothers must have already heard about this powerful herb’s ability in boosting milk supply.
Originated in South Asian culture, fenugreek were usually mixed in tea, or sprinkled on porridge or curry.
After the birth of my second baby, I consumed fenugreek diligently to boost up my milk supply. And true enough, my milk came in faster and I was able to breastfeed her exclusively.
If you cannot find fenugreek sold in your country, fret not. Fenugreek is widely available in forms of tablets/capsules for easy consumption.
My favorite brand is Nature’s Way because of its high ratings. Don’t forget to check out the package deals that Amazon has offered.
Do note of the side effect though, your body will smell like maple syrup, or in my opinion, smells like curry.
Very popular in European culture, fennel is known to reduce intestinal gas and improve digestion. Its phytoestrogen has breast-enhancing property, which could be the strong reason why fennel has a great reputation as milk supply booster as well as to promote milk ejection reflex.
Fennel is typically consumed as tea, and some are available in oil form. Here’s one of the most popular fennel tea brand.
4. Brewer’s yeast
I believe you have heard mixing opinions that beers can increase milk supply.
Don’t get it wrong.
This type of yeast is made from fungus and highly nutritious, rich in vitamin B, chromium, and believed to lower cholesterol level in blood.
Brewer’s yeast is believed to not only increase breast milk production but also to reduce fatigue and combat baby blues.
If you ever read the ingredients of any lactation cookies, I bet almost all of them will include Brewer’s yeast as its main ingredients due to its powerful boosting effect.
Brewers yeast is typically available in powder and tablet form and can be used in baked goods to make lactation-booster snacks. Here’s the one most recommended to use in baking lactation cookies.
Alfalfa has been used as medicinal herbs for centuries and is the main food source for dairy animals to boost their milk production.
Alfalfa is a great source of protein and fibers, as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Note: You should avoid alfalfa if you have systemic disorder disease such as lupus because it can make your disease worsens.
6. Nuts family
Nuts are great sources of protein and believed to increase breast milk production. Other than peanuts, almond, cashew nuts, and macadamia are some of the most cited sources of milk supply booster.
I remember whenever my mom visited me after giving birth, she would bring me a big batch of roasted peanuts for my daily snacks.
Other than as a snack, you can incorporate nuts into your regular meal, such as dressing for your salad.
7. Moringa / drumstick leaves
Moringa oleifera is known as one of superfood due to its highly nutritious content.
This food is high in iron and is believed to increase breast milk supply. In fact, one study has shown that mothers consuming moringa leaves regularly
In fact, one study has shown that mothers consuming moringa leaves regularly produced twice or more breast milk compared to mothers who did not consume it.
The easy way to consume these leaves is in its tea form, such as this one. You can even start consuming this while you are expecting to provide high nutrients for your baby.
8. Unripe / green papaya
Do you know that in Chinese culture, unripe papaya soup is very famously used as confinement food for new mothers?
Usually the papaya is cooked together with fish until it softens and the gravy turns milky to make a hearty and nutritious fish and papaya soup.
Combined together, this dish is rich of protein, vitamin and beta karotene.
Here’s the link to the step by step guide in cooking green papaya fish soup.
Dates have been known for its nutritious benefit. For mom post-partum, consuming dates is great to boost energy (since it is easily digested) and increase breast milk production. I personally consume dates regularly since the day I gave birth until my baby was
I personally consume dates regularly since the day I gave birth until my baby was one month old.
In Middle East culture, fresh dates are given to mothers right after giving birth, but if you can’t found one, dried dates are great too.
In Chinese culture, red dates drink are very popular as confinement food for new mothers.
Typically every day a fresh brew of red dates tea would be served to a nursing mother. In fact, if you follow the confinement rule very strictly, you will drink this tea every day, no plain water for you, haha. But since a lot of mothers gain tremendous benefit from dates, I believe you should try it. Here’s a recipe to make red date tea.
PS: Recently, dates has been gaining a lot more popularity as milk booster. A lot of moms consume it in juice form or milkshake. If you can’t find date milkshake in your country, here’s an easy way to make one.
10. Bitter gourd
This bitter vegetable is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and helps iron absorption.
In my country, this vegetable is very popular to increase breast milk supply. You can cook it as stir-fry dish or consume it as a vegetable juice.
My friend swore by it and she consumed this juice every single day to boost her milk supply.
If you can’t find fresh bitter gourd in your country, you can try the ready-to-drink bitter gourd juice like this.
Warning: bitter gourd naturally lowers blood sugar level. So if your ‘normal’ sugar level is in the low range, please avoid consuming this excessively.
Most important among all, in addition to consuming milk-booster foods, it is important for you to consume a healthy and balanced diet in your daily meals.
And don’t forget to drink ENOUGH water. You need to stay hydrated.
I don’t recommend you to drink until you feel bloated, definitely not.
But listen! it is very easy for a nursing mom to forget that she feels thirsty, simply because she has so many things to do to take care of the baby.
My suggestion is to always have a water bottle with you whenever you are. I even have a mini water dispenser and a mug by my bedside. That way, whenever I feel thirsty in the middle of the night, I don’t need to go all the way to the kitchen just to drink a glass of water.
I hope this article helps you to learn more about foods that increase breast milk supply.
If you want to know more detailed information about recommended dosage to consume and more milk-booster herbs, I strongly recommend you to read ‘A Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide To Making More Milk’ by Diana West. This book is such a comprehensive guide to increase your milk supply. You can read my detailed review about this book here.
Have you tried consuming specific foods to increase your milk supply? Which one is your most recommended one? Share with us here!