Have you had your daily requirement of galactagogues? If you are the proud mom of a new baby then working galactagogues, which are foods that promote milk production, into your diet would be a very good idea. Of course, the number one way of increasing milk production is through the nerve stimulation that happens during breast feeding. As your breasts empty during meal time, your body gets the signal to produce more milk. At least, this happens when the sun, moon and stars all align and everything is right with the world. In other words, your system could probably use some assistance in maintaining an optimal supply of breast milk, and there are certain foods that may help make that happen.
Some foods are believed to enhance lactation, which is the secretion of milk by the mammary glands. This list includes many of those foods, some backed by research and others more anecdotal. Besides aiding in increasing milk production, many are healthy for mother and baby in other ways.
- Oats – loaded with energy and fiber, which aids in digestion. Oats are also believed to help in preventing the onset of diabetes following pregnancy.
- Salmon – good source of essential fatty acids and Omega-3, both important for lactation.
- Spinach and beets – dark green leaves contain iron, calcium and folic acid.
- Carrots – known to improve lactation.
- Fennel Seeds – also aid in digestion and controlling colic.
- Fenugreek Seeds – increases milk production and alleviates post-delivery constipation.
- Bottle Gourd – aids in digestion, normalizing blood sugar levels and hydration, as well as lactation.
- Basil Leaves – good source of anti-oxidants and have calming effect.
- Garlic – the lactation super star, plus helps prevent cancer.
- Barley – also helps keep mother hydrated.
- Chickpea – good source of energy-boosting protein, calcium, B-complex vitamins and fiber, as well as aiding in milk production.
- Asparagus – stimulates hormones active in lactation and good source of vitamins A and K and fiber.
- Brown Rice – stimulates hormones active in lactation and boosts energy for nursing moms.
- Cumin Seeds – used in moderation, boosts milk supply and aids in digestion.
- Black Sesame Seeds – also should be used in moderation to increase lactation.
- Oils and Fats – important for lactation, aids in bowel movements and helps with vitamin and mineral absorption.
Some of the other foods that can aid in milk production include apricots, dill, poppy seeds, almonds, papaya and sweet potatoes. The same food can often affect people in totally different ways so it’s important to pay attention to your own body and how it reacts.
If improving lactation is the goal, then knowing which foods are antilactogenic, meaning that they can decrease milk supply, is also useful. As you might expect, alcohol is on this list. One infrequent glass of wine won’t bring the lactation process to a screeching halt, but breast feeding is really a good time to order something non-alcoholic. Other foods to avoid include, sage, parsley, peppermint, menthol and chasteberry. Advice to avoid something you aren’t familiar with, like chasteberry, might not seem worthwhile, but chasteberry is often recommended to breastfeeding mothers who have painful swelling and engorgement.