Breastfeeding Problems? Low supply? These 10 Foods can help

28 Dec 2014

One of the challenges we face as new mamas is working out fact from fiction when it comes to advice.  Many of us have Breastfeeding problems or concerns.  Low milk supply can be one of those problems. I remember spending so much time researching and trialing a range of foods, supplements, and remedies to increase my milk supply.  I should have simply asked an expert like Midwife Zoe from BornOnline!

Midwife Zoe offers The Baby Diaries her expert advice on the 10 Foods to Increase Your Milk Supply:

  1.  Fenugreek –Fenugreek seeds contain hormone precursors that increase milk supply. The herb contains phytoestrogens, which are plant chemicals similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. A key compound, diosgenin, has been shown experimentally to increase milk. Fenugreek is a great source of protein, iron, and Vitamin C. It can be taken in the form of tea or a capsule. It usually works to increase your milk supply within 3-5 days.
  2. Spinach – Dark leafy green vegetables like spinach also contain phytoestrogens, which are believed to promote lactation and breast tissue health. They are plant-based chemicals that have similar properties as estrogen. An added bonus is that spinach is a great source of calcium, iron, Vitamin K, A and folate. Try green smoothies to get your daily intake.
  3. Carrots – they also contain phytoestrogens, plus are high in beta-carotene and Vitamin A which are both in an increased need with lactating mothers. I remember my Grandmother telling me that she drank a glass of fresh carrot juice a day to ensure she had nutritious breast milk. So even 52 years ago it was well known that carrots help milk supply. Carrots provide extra energy needed by a lactating women and it may improve the quality of breast milk. Worth a try I say.
  4. Asparagus – high in fiber, folic acid, Vitamin A, C, and K it also contains phytoestrogens. This hormonal effect of phytoestrogens aid in milk production and the high fiber foods maintain a healthy milk supply. Asparagus also contains an amino acid called tryptophan which may stimulate prolactin which is the major hormone involved in lactation.
  1. Brewers Yeast – you may have heard the old wives tale of drinking a Guinness a day will increase your milk supply? Brewers yeast contains phytoestrogens, which is probably why it is successful as a food to increase your milk supply. It is also high in protein and iron, both needed in a breastfeeding mothers diet. Brewers yeast supplements can be found in a health food shop.
  1. Water – drinking more water is one of the best ways to improve your milk supply. Breastfeeding depletes your bodily fluids so it makes sense that drinking water will keep you hydrated and produce more milk. Best way to keep up your water intake is to have a glass/bottle of water with you every time you sit down to breastfeed.
  1. Oats/Oatmeal – Oats have the ingredient Saponins in it which are full of antibiotic anti–inflammatory properties in turn supporting the immune system. But oats also help the milk-making hormones produced by the pituitary gland. Oats are also high in iron, calcium and fiber – a must in a breastfeeding diet. You will find oatmeal in many lactating recipes like lactation cookies. So why not have a bowl of oats every morning for breakfast, it may just help.
  2. Lactation Cookies – a lot of new mothers have had success with lactation cookies. You can just Google “lactation cookies” and there are heaps of recipes available to try. The main ingredients include brewers yeast, oatmeal and some contain fenugreek thrown in with some choc chips or cranberries and they are extremely yummy.
  1. Alfalfa – Alfalfa is estrogenic, and promotes pituitary function, which is thought to be the way it works for increasing breast milk supply. Consider adding alfalfa sprouts or seeds to your salad daily if you can. Alfalfa also comes as a supplement in capsule form if you don’t like the taste.
  2. Apricots – especially dried apricots contain phytoestrogens. Apricots are high in fiber, Vitamin A, C, potassium and calcium. Apricots like most lactogenic foods contain tryptophan, which naturally boosts prolactin levels. Dried apricots would make a great snack when you are sitting down to breast feed throughout the day. Add it to your shopping list today.

Thanks so much Zoe!

If you’d like more expert advice from Midwife Zoe, you can click over to the BornOnline website.  There are loads of Free Factsheets on Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.

BornOnline offers Midwife support no matter where you are.


Zoe Ryan is a qualified Midwife, and Co-Founder / Co-Owner of BornOnline

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