Top Breast Milk Producing Foods
Ask any experienced midwife or mother and they will tell you that there are certain foods to eat if a nursing mum wishes to improve her milk supply. Such foods are known as lactogenic foods. Adding lactogenic foods to your diet, along with frequent nursing or pumping can give your milk supply a boost.
Here are some lactogenic foods you can add to your daily menu for an ample supply of breast milk.
Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate which provides energy needed for breastfeeding. Consuming brown rice may cause an increase in serotonin levels in the brain and this helps regulate your moods, appetite and sleep. It also stimulates prolactin secretion, a key hormone involved in lactation.
This yummy leafy vegetable is a good source of calcium, iron, Vitamin K, A, and folate. Folate (or folic acid) is particularly important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Dark leafy green vegetables like spinach also contain phytoestrogens, which are believed to promote breast tissue health and lactation. They are plant-based chemicals that have similar properties as estrogen.
As a natural milk-booter, apricots especially the dried ones, contain phytoestrogens which help to balance the hormones involved in lactation. Apricots are high in fiber, Vitamin A, C, potassium and calcium. They also contain tryptophan, which naturally boosts prolactin levels.
High in fiber, folic acid, Vitamins A, C, and K, asparagus is advantageously great for nursing mothers. They contain phytoestrogens to aid in milk production and helps maintain a healthy milk supply. Moreover, asparagus contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid which may stimulate prolactin production (a major hormone involved in lactation) and subsequently improve milk supply.
Carrots are a lesser known milk- booster, but like spinach,they contain phytoestrogens. Carrots are also high in beta-carotene and Vitamin A, both of which lactating mothers have an increased need for. Carrot juice is especially great for breastfeeding moms. It is believed to provide extra energy needed by lactating women, and it may help boost the supply of breast milk.
Oatmeal is a comfort food which prompts the body to relax and release oxytocin (a hormone involved in milk production), hence it helps with the milk let-down process. As a food that has long been recommended as a way for moms to boost their milk supply, oatmeal also boasts properties in it that help to lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy blood pressure too.
Lentils, chick peas and green beans are known to increase milk supply of nursing mums in many cultures. Hummus, a dish traditionally made from chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, is perfect as a snack for nursing mums. It is a good source of plant protein, which makes it a suitable snack or dish for vegetarian mums.
Papayas have always been a popular breast milk booster in Asia. Traditionally, it is made into a soup using green (not ripe) papayas. It is thought that the enzymes and phytochemicals in papaya may enhance breast tissue as well as improve lactation. Papaya has also been used as a natural sedative to help nursing mums relax, and at the same time help with the milk let-down process.
Nursing depletes your body of fluids and makes you feel dehydrated, hence drinking enough water will help you to stay hydrated and of course, helps in producing more milk. Don’t be tempted to overdo it though, for drinking fluids above what you would drink if you are trying to quench a thirst, does nothing to improve milk supply. When you feel thirsty drink up, and also, have a glass of water before you sit down to nurse your baby.
P & C (papaya and coconut) Smoothie Treat
- 1 1/2 cups (215 g) frozen ripe papaya cubes
- 1 small ripe banana, previously peeled, sliced and frozen
- 1–2 tsp minced ginger (optional)
- 2 limes, juiced
- (1/4 cup or 60 ml)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml)
- light coconut milk
- optional: 1–2 tbsp (15–30 ml) agave nectar
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth, adding water or more coconut milk if it has trouble blending.
- Taste and adjust as needed, adding more banana (or agave) for sweetness, lime for acidity, or ginger for zing.
- Enjoy immediately.