If you are a nursing Mama and need to increase or maintain your milk supply, try adding in one or more of these galactagogues into your diet. But make sure to see a lactation consultant first if you have serious milk supply issues. Chances are, you and your baby need to adjust their latch, or you need more nipple stimulation, getting your baby to nurse more. But if you mostly have enough, you’re baby has a good latch, and you just want to bump your supply up a little, then try one or more of these foods/drinks/herbs.
1. Water – I know this isn’t a food, but you need a ridiculous amount of water when you are nursing (aim for 2L – 3L / day). I think that this is the #1 thing you can add in to your diet to get results. Make sure you always have some water on the go, and make an effort to fill your cup before you nurse. If you have a hard time drinking water, try herbal teas or squeezing citrus into your H2O.
2. Whole Grains (especially Oatmeal) – In my early postpartum days, I had a bowl of Oatmeal every morning with my tea. I prefer the texture of Steel Cut Oats, and then I add in coconut oil, coconut cream ground flax seed, maple syrup, banana, nuts on seeds, whatever I have on hand really You can’t really go wrong with a warm bowl of Oatmeal after you’ve been up all night with your new baby. You could also make a batch of Oatmeal muffins for a quick grab and go snack.
3. Brewers Yeast – This has a distinct flavour that some may not like (hand raised over here), so you can add it to baking, like these lactation cookies. If you don’t mind the taste, try adding a scoop of it to your smoothie.
4. Fennel – fennel seed can be added to recipes, or if you’re into weird food experiences like me, you’ll just chew on a handful of fennel seeds. You can also try fennel tea! As an added bonus, fennel is said to help ease a baby’s gassy tummy.
5. Chickpeas – Hello, hummus! ‘Nuff said. I could put that sh*! on everything!
6. Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Spinach, Broccoli) – try adding these to your smoothie to pack them in (salad’s are too hard to eat with one hand while holding your baby). Loads of greens everyday also helped me immensely to keep things ‘regular’ postpartum which was a huge bonus. Try this smoothie recipe!
7. Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek – These herbs have been known to help increase milk supply in some women. Check out this article by the International Breastfeeding Center for recommended amounts. Like I said before, it works for some women and others don’t see a change in their supply. I tried this and thought it worked for me, but it’s hard to know because I didn’t isolate this addition to my diet.
The last thing you want to do when you’re breastfeeding is limit your calories, so make sure you eat enough nutritious foods to keep you going (Proteins, fats, carbs) throughout the day. Pack snacks in your purse if you get hangry and accept the fact that you may not be eating 3 square meals a day when you’re following the schedule of your baby, so get what you can, when you can to pack the calories in.
**I’d also like to note that there isn’t any proven data to back up these foods and herbs increasing milk supply, so just try them out and you may notice that some work for you and some don’t.