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Foods to Increase Breast Milk Supply & Production

Foods to Increase Breast Milk Supply & Production

A Guide to Milk-Booster Foods That May Increase Milk Supply

For many new mothers, the adequacy of milk supply is a common concern. It's an entirely natural part of the breastfeeding experience to wonder if your baby is receiving ample nourishment. If you find yourself worried about this, take comfort in knowing you're not alone. These feelings are a sign of your deep devotion to your baby's health and happiness. 

Fortunately, there's good news: certain foods have been identified as natural allies that support and potentially increase your milk supply. This guide will delve into the specifics of these beneficial foods and discuss how they can be integrated into your daily routine, offering sustenance and peace of mind.

Importance of Nutrition for Breastfeeding Mums

The saying 'you are what you eat' truly takes on a new meaning when you're breastfeeding. As a lactating mother, your body is tasked with providing for both its own needs and crafting the complete nutritional profile for your little one. Given that you are the sole source of nourishment for your newborn, your intake of essential foods takes the spotlight. These nutrients not only impact your well-being but also directly influence the quality and volume of your breast milk.

A well-curated diet for breastfeeding should be abundant in diverse vitamins and minerals and complemented by adequate hydration. Essential nutrients, particularly protein, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, are key in milk production. More than that, they enhance the nutritional value of your milk, guaranteeing that it is loaded with everything your baby requires. Focusing on a balanced diet can naturally strengthen your milk supply and provide the very best for your infant, laying down a foundation that will support your child's health well beyond the breastfeeding period.

Galactagogue-Rich Foods

Galactagogues are nature's helpers for breastfeeding mums, known for their potential to increase breast milk production. These special foods and herbs are a boon for mums looking to boost their supply.

1. Fenugreek

A traditional herb with a long history in lactation support, fenugreek is thought to be a potent milk production booster. It's rich in omega-3 fats, essential for your baby's brain development, and contains fibre and other beneficial compounds.

How to incorporate it into your diet: Fenugreek can be taken as a capsule or tea, or the seeds can be used in cooking. Try sprinkling fenugreek seeds on your salad or mixing them into a spice blend for foods like curries and soups.

 

2. Oats

Oats are a comforting, nutritious galactagogue. They're a good source of iron, which is particularly important for mothers who have just given birth and can help maintain energy levels.

How to incorporate it into your diet: Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, bake some oat cookies, or blend oats into your smoothies. They’re versatile and can be easily included in any meal of the day.

 

3. Fennel

Fennel is another herb widely regarded for its lactogenic properties. It may also aid digestion and reduce gas, which can be helpful for both mum and baby.

How to incorporate it into your diet: Fennel can be enjoyed raw in salads, roasted as a delicious side dish, or infused into a tea. Its licorice-like flavour adds a fresh twist to many dishes.

 

Protein-Rich Foods

Protein plays a pivotal role in postpartum recovery and is a crucial component in breast milk production. It helps repair and grow tissues, supporting your body as it navigates the changes motherhood brings.

 1. Lean Meats

Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, and beef, are rich sources of high-quality protein that assist in muscle repair and growth. These meats are also packed with other nutrients beneficial for breastfeeding mothers, including iron, which is crucial for energy levels, and B vitamins, which support the nervous system.


How to incorporate them into your diet: Try incorporating lean meats into your meals by grilling or baking them for a healthy main course. They can also be sliced into strips for easy salad toppings or wrapped in whole-grain tortillas for a nutritious snack.

2. Legumes

Legumes, including lentils, beans, and chickpeas, are not only excellent sources of protein but also provide fibre, iron, and folate, making them incredibly nutritious for breastfeeding mothers.


How to incorporate them into your diet: Legumes can be added to soups, stews, and salads for an extra protein boost. Hummus, made from chickpeas, serves as a tasty and versatile dip that pairs well with vegetables or whole-grain crackers.

3. Dairy Products

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and Greek yoghurt are fantastic sources of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. These nutrients support bone health and provide the energy needed during the demanding postpartum period.

How to incorporate them into your diet: Incorporate dairy products into your diet by enjoying a bowl of Greek yoghurt with fruit for breakfast, adding cheese to your salads or sandwiches, or drinking a glass of milk with your meals.

Incorporating Healthy Fats

Healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, play an indispensable role in the composition of breast milk, crucially supporting your baby's brain development and contributing to a healthier milk supply.

1. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are a powerhouse of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and antioxidants. These nutrients are vital for enhancing the quality of breast milk and supporting the health of nursing mothers.

How to incorporate them into your diet: Ground flaxseed can be easily added to your morning smoothie, oatmeal, or yoghurt. It's a simple way to boost your intake of omega-3s and can also be used in baking, for example, in muffins or bread.

2. Walnuts

Walnuts are another excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, along with protein and fibre. These nutrients aid in promoting a healthy heart and brain function for both mom and baby.

How to incorporate them into your diet: Walnuts make for a convenient snack and can also be chopped and added to salads, baked goods, or oatmeal, enriching your diet with essential healthy fats.

3. Salmon

Salmon is renowned for its high omega-3 content, which is crucial for brain development and cognitive function. It also provides high-quality protein and vitamin D.

How to incorporate it into your diet: Including salmon in your weekly meal plan can be as easy as baking or grilling it for a main dish. Salmon can also be flaked over salads or mixed into pasta dishes for a nutritious meal.

Iron and Calcium-Rich Foods

Iron plays a crucial role in combating postnatal fatigue, a common challenge for new mothers. Meanwhile, calcium is essential for the skeletal health of both mother and baby, underscoring the importance of these minerals in a breastfeeding food diet. Not only do they promote milk production, but they also ensure that mothers maintain a steady energy level throughout the day.

1. Spinach

Spinach is a versatile leafy green, high in both iron and calcium, which are pivotal for replenishing the mother's nutrient stores and supporting the health of the baby.

How to incorporate it into your diet: Spinach can be easily added to smoothies, omelettes, or salads. It's also great sautéed as a side dish or incorporated into dishes like lasagna for an iron and calcium boost.

2. Fortified Cereals

Many cereals are fortified with iron and calcium, making them an easy and convenient option to start the day with a nutrient-rich meal.

How to incorporate it into your diet: Enjoy a bowl of fortified cereal with milk or a dairy-free alternative. You can also add fresh fruit or a handful of nuts for extra nutrients and flavours.

3. Dairy Products

Dairy products are well-known for their high calcium content. They also provide other essential nutrients beneficial for breastfeeding, such as protein and vitamin D.

How to incorporate them into your diet: Incorporate dairy products into your diet by drinking milk, eating yoghurt, or adding cheese to various dishes. These can significantly contribute to your daily calcium intake. Additionally, simple dietary adjustments can have a profound impact on your mineral intake:

  • Calcium-fortified orange juice is a refreshing way to consume calcium, especially if you're looking for a dairy-free option.
  • Snacking on dried fruits, particularly apricots and figs, can help boost your iron levels and provide a quick energy lift.

Lifestyle and Self-Care for Enhanced Milk Supply

Ensuring a nutritious food diet is crucial for breastfeeding success, but your holistic well-being plays an equally important role in maintaining a robust milk supply. Beyond what you eat, your physical and emotional health are key. Here are a few nurturing steps to support both you and your little one:

  • Adequate Rest: Getting enough sleep isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. Whenever you can, take a moment to rest. This helps your body recover and supports your milk production.
  • Stress Reduction: Managing stress is essential for your well-being. Whether it's through meditation, gentle yoga, or just taking a moment for yourself, finding peace of mind helps keep your body healthy.
  • Proper Hydration: Staying hydrated is vital for lactation. Keep water close by and sip throughout the day to ensure you're drinking enough.

Remember, taking care of yourself is just as crucial as looking after your baby. Sometimes, concerns like milk supply decreasing can cause stress, but by listening to your body's needs and embracing these supportive practices, you're actively working to increase your milk production. 

Nurturing Your Body, Nurturing Your Baby

Each breastfeeding journey is as unique as you and your little one, full of moments that deserve to be recognised and celebrated. As you embark on this beautiful path, it's important to remember you're never alone — support is always just a reach away. 

At Hegen Lactation Centre, our dedicated lactation consultants are ready to offer personalised support, guiding you and your baby through your breastfeeding experience with unparalleled compassion and expertise. Reach out to discover how our lactation consultants in Singapore can become an integral part of your journey, ensuring you and your little one thrive and flourish together. Plus, for those seeking even more support, we offer handy resources like a comprehensive list of things to prepare for a newborn as well as an infant care course, which is warmly open to all families.