I know that I'm one lucky momma. I have more milk than I know what to do with. I'm not sure exactly what I did right but I can say that there's some research behind the foods you eat and the activity you do that has some baring on how much milk you produce. So today I'm going to share with you some foods that help mommas produce milk and the reasoning behind it. I want you to let go of the frustration and possible heartache that can come with not being able to breastfeed your baby. Everyones bodies are different and unique and breastfeeding can be extremely challenging and may not come naturally to everyone. Be easy on yourself and accept your own unique situation. Being a mom is hard. Pick your battles and try not to dwell on breastfeeding if it's not your thing. I promise your baby will be just fine :)
1. Oatmeal- How can a person not love oatmeal? There are so many variations when preparing oats that the possibilities are endless and it's really hard to get sick of eating the stuff. Because of oatmeal's abundance in nutrients, it's a super food when it comes to helping a woman's milk supply. Oatmeal has iron in it which also is a must for breastfeeding mothers and helps promote milk supply. This powerful food's hot, rich, and soothing effects while eating it can also help lower stress levels. High stress levels have been proven to lower a woman's milk supply as well. So help yourself to a hot bowl of oatmeal at least once a day for breakfast or a snack! Eat it sweet or have it savory, just be sure to help yourself to as many servings a week as you see fit.
2. Fenugreek Seeds- Research has shown that by including these seeds into the diet, milk production can increase within a week of consumption. You can put them on vegetables, ground them in smoothies, and throw them into meat dishes. Because these seeds can be a diuretic, you could also consider drinking them in the form of Fenugreek tea. If you don't want to purchase the tea, you can also make your own. Try drinking two to three servings per day of the tea to achieve the benefits.
3. Drink Fluids- I say "fluids" because it doesn't have to just be water. As I mentioned with the fenugreek seeds, it can be mildly dehydrating and the best way to replenish those fluid stores is to drink liquids. Breastfeeding can be very dehydrating and cause your body to hold onto any fluid that it can in order to feed your baby. You don't need to drink an over abundance of fluid to receive the benefits. Just drink the recommended 8, 8 ounce glasses a day. If you prefer water, that is certainly the top choice but if you're like me and have trouble consuming water due to its bland taste, you can try these alternatives:
- Naturally flavored seltzer water
- Decaffeinated tea or coffee
- Diluted 100% fruit juice
- Water heavy fruits and vegetables like watermelon, celery, cucumbers, apples, oranges and grapes.
- Broth based soups
- Milk or milk alternative such as almond milk (my favorite)
4. Consume Protein- In addition to fluids, your body also needs protein in order to produce milk. Many times, as a mom, you reach for quick and easy snacks and meals to keep you going. If you are eating sugary snacks in place of protein, you may see a drop in your supply. Try replacing unhealthy snacks with protein rich snacks such as:
- Nuts or homemade trail mix that include nuts
- Hard boiled eggs
- Slices of all natural and organic deli meats
- Organic cheese
- Protein rich snack bars such as Lara bars or Kind bars
- Apples or celery with nut butter of choice (I like almond butter)
5. Brewers Yeast- Brewers yeast is recommended to increase milk production because it's full of B vitamins, protein, iron and minerals. Nutritional yeast will also work in a pinch. Brewers yeast has a cheesy flavor and can be incorporated into many foods to enhance the flavor. Replacing cheese with Brewers yeast works the best. You can easily sprinkle this super food on eggs, pasta, veggies or pizza.
Of course eating food alone isn't the only way to increase your supply while breastfeeding. Other recommendations include:
- Nursing often
- Pumping often, especially after nursing
- Stress less
There's no magic formula for producing a sufficient amount of milk for your baby and some mamas just aren't able to produce enough milk for their baby's needs. If you try all these tips and you still aren't able to produce enough milk, forgive yourself and give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for trying. As moms, we are all just trying our best to give our children what we think they need. Just remember, there is no right way to do things. Providing what you can for your child and your situation is what is right.