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Drinks and Foods to Increase Milk Supply + What to Avoid

Drinks and Foods to Increase Milk Supply + What to Avoid

A healthy diet and ample fluids are vital in breastfeeding. 

I believe that finding the right combination of food and beverages to enhance milk production is an essential aspect of increasing your breast milk supply.

It’s also equally important to be aware of certain foods and drinks that may hinder milk production or adversely affect your baby. 

Knowing what’s good and bad food helps you produce enough milk for your baby.

12 Foods That Boost Milk Supply

12 Foods That Boost Milk Supply

You may be wondering how to boost your milk supply. Well, there are many things you can do — among these things is eating right. 

Incorporating the right food into your diet becomes a priority in providing optimal nourishment to your baby.

Here are 12 foods that are known to boost milk supply:

1. Fenugreek

Fenugreek, a seed used for centuries, boosts breast milk production. It is a common ingredient in many lactation supplements and teas. 

It contains diosgenin, stimulating prolactin production. 

Capsules are the most convenient form. However, tea and powder can be more flavorful and offer a more concentrated dose of nutrients. 

2. Oatmeal/Oat Milk

Like most moms, I also recommend incorporating oatmeal or oat milk into your diet. These foods are nutritious and may also help increase your milk production.

Oatmeal is a whole grain high in fiber, iron, and magnesium.

On the other hand, oat milk is a plant-based milk made from oats. It is a good fiber, protein, and calcium source and low in fat and calories. 

Both don’t just make a delicious breakfast but also a nutritious one!

3. Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are a type of seed that is commonly used in cooking. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.

They can also provide relief and comfort to new mothers by alleviating postpartum issues like bloating, gas, and indigestion.

Some research tells that fennel seeds boost prolactin, an essential hormone for milk production.

You can incorporate this into your diet by adding them to meals, infusing them in hot water for a soothing tea, or chewing them directly for quick relief. 

4. Lean Meat and Poultry

Lean meat and poultry are good protein sources essential for milk production. 

Protein aids in developing and repairing tissues, including the mammary glands.

By consuming lean meat and poultry, you provide your body with the amino acids to produce an abundant and nutritious milk supply.

Furthermore, lean meat and poultry are excellent sources of iron. 

Ensuring an adequate iron intake is particularly important during breastfeeding. This is because usually, demands of milk production can deplete iron stores in the body.

5. Garlic

Another food that is often recommended for breastfeeding moms is garlic. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and selenium. 

Garlic is one of the most well-known galactagogues. It has been used for centuries to help breastfeeding moms increase their milk supply.

You can add garlic to your cooking, eat it raw, or take garlic supplements. 

Add small amounts to your food if you need to get used to eating garlic. You can gradually increase your garlic consumption as your taste buds become used to it. 

6. Green Leafy Vegetables

You can incorporate green leafy vegetables into your diet in many different ways. You can add them to salads, soups, and stews. You can also steam them or saute them.

Here are some of the best green leafy vegetables for breastfeeding moms:

  • Spinach – rich in all the mentioned nutrients and fiber, which aids in satiety.
  • Kale – provides all the listed nutrients and is high in vitamin C, supporting the immune system.
  • Broccoli – contains vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and sulforaphane, also for immune support.
  • Swiss chard – offers vitamin K, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health.

Adding green leafy vegetables to meals is simple and beneficial. 

7. Malunggay

Malunggay, or Moringa oleifera, is a great addition to any breastfeeding mom’s diet.

In addition to its nutritional value, malunggay also has galactagogue properties. Galactagogues are substances that help to increase milk production.

It contains phytochemicals and bioactive compounds that help regulate hormones associated with lactation. 

You can also either add it to your cooking, eat it raw, or take malunggay supplements.

8. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are a good source of calcium. They also contain phytoestrogenscompounds that have estrogen-like properties

Eating them in their whole form is important to benefit from sesame seeds most. 

This is because the nutrients in sesame seeds are more easily absorbed when they’re not processed.

I usually sprinkle sesame seeds on top of my oatmeal or yogurt.

9. Nuts

I’m so happy nuts are included in this list! Maybe it’s because I’m particularly naglilihi sa mani and can’t go on with my day without it. 

Anyway, nuts are also a great source of protein and fiber. They also contain healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids).

But if you or your family have any history of nut allergies, I suggest you consult a doctor before introducing nuts into your diet.

10. Green Papaya

It’s good that papayas are tropical fruits easily found in the Philippines.

Green papaya contains an enzyme called papain. It is believed to have galactagogue properties and can stimulate milk production. 

I recommend trying this fruit to boost your milk. You can eat it raw, cooked, or juiced. 

I like to add it to smoothies or salads.

11. Yams, Beets, Carrots

Yams, beets, and carrots are root vegetables that naturally boost breast milk production. They are rich in nutrients like carbohydrates, fiber, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A. 

Here are a few ideas for ways to add yams, beets, and carrots to your diet:

  • Yams – Roasted yams with a side of grilled chicken or fish
  • Beets – Beet salad with goat cheese and walnuts
  • Carrots – Carrot soup and pinakbet

These three will surely help you stay energized and healthy during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

12. Lactation Cookies

Lactation cookies contain ingredients that help increase milk production, such as oats, flaxseed, and fenugreek.

Many moms I had talked with swear that lactation cookies work. Plus, it’s definitely worth enjoying a snack with ingredients that help boost breast milk production, right?

Nonetheless, lactation cookies should be worth a try. 

What to Drink to Increase Breast Milk

What to Drink to Increase Breast Milk

Besides having a healthy diet, did you know certain drinks can also help boost your milk supply?

Here are some of the best drinks to increase your milk supply:

1. Water

Stay hydrated. 

Breast milk comprises about 87% water, so drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is important.

Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water daily, plus more if you’re sweating or exercising.

When your body lacks fluids, it prioritizes other functions over milk production, reducing milk supply. This means less water is available for milk production. 

Note that water helps to flush out toxins that can interfere with milk production. So staying hydrated is important to help your body eliminate them.

2. Milk

Milk consumption is essential for your baby and in maintaining and increasing breast milk production. 

I learned from parenting seminars that milk provides your breast with much-needed protein. It also contains calcium, which is essential for your baby’s development. 

Opt for low-fat or non-fat milk options to meet your nutritional needs without excessive saturated fat intake.

3. Lactation Tea

Lactation tea is a soothing and nourishing herb supporting breast milk production for soon-to-be moms. 

Fennel, nettle, and blessed thistle are herbs commonly found in lactation tea that can help increase milk supply. 

Lactation tea contains other beneficial ingredients, such as chamomile, ginger, and raspberry leaf.

You can find lactation tea at most health food stores or online. 

Start drinking lactation tea a few weeks before your due date and continue drinking it as long as you’re breastfeeding.

Foods to Avoid to Increase Milk Supply

Foods to Avoid to Increase Milk Supply

Knowing foods that can potentially decrease milk supply is just as important as knowing which foods can boost it.

Take note of these to avoid them while breastfeeding babies.

  • Totally avoid or limit caffeine intake to around 200 milligrams per day. 
  • It’s also best to avoid or consume alcohol in moderation.
  • High-sodium foods can lead to fluid retention and hinder nutrient absorption. Opt for a balanced, low-sodium diet.
  • Spicy or gassy foods may irritate your baby’s stomach and cause discomfort. Be aware of your baby’s reactions and adjust your diet accordingly.
  • Taking Benadryl may not affect the production of milk supply. However, it can likely decrease milk flow from your breasts. 

Frequently Asked Questions

While learning more about breast milk, I encountered several questions from many parents. 

Here are what I find most relevant:

How Much Breast Milk Does My Baby Need?

During the first week, newborns typically consume no more than 1 to 2 ounces (30 to 60ml) per feeding due to their small stomach size. 

By 4 to 5 weeks, babies reach their peak feeding volume of approximately 3 to 4 ounces (90 to 120ml) of milk daily.

A good reference for breastfeeding guidelines is available on the Healthy Children website. 

What Else Can I Do to Increase My Milk Supply?

Aside from eating foods that increase milk supply, try frequent nursing, pumping, resting, and staying hydrated. 

Know that the more you nurse your baby, the more signals your body receives to produce milk. Plus, pumping milk can also supplement breastfeeding and increase milk supply.

It’s also important to prioritize rest and relaxation. Adequate rest improves milk production. 

Lastly, staying properly hydrated helps to keep your milk supply flowing. 

Conclusion

To maintain a healthy milk supply, prioritize a balanced diet, hydration, and overall self-care. It’s essential to listen to your body and your baby’s cues. 

Plus, attending parenting seminars will surely help you, as it did help me. 

Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from healthcare professionals, lactation consultants, or fellow moms! 

Josie Mariano
Josie Mariano

Hello, my name is Josie Mariano, and I’m proud to say I’m a soon-to-be mom.
Although my partner and I are still waiting for our firstborn to arrive, we’re already doing whatever it takes to prepare for our baby’s needs.
I’ve been joining a lot of parenting forums and asking my doctors for advice on how to prepare for my baby. They’ve all been very informative and I was able to spot the areas I still need to work on.
At the same time, I also rely on my mom for tips on what to do during my pregnancy journey.
With everything that I’ve learned so far, I’d like to share these experiences to fellow parents and soon-to-be parents!