The feeling you get from knowing you’re giving your baby all the nutrition she needs is incredibly satisfying. That said, there are so many factors that influence breast milk production, and you may well find yourself running a little low sometimes.
The solution? Fill up on galactagogues (literally translated from the Greek as “bringers of milk”), says integrative nutrition health coach, Catherine Barnhoorn. These herbs and spices can be added to any meal, taken as a supplement, or you can mix them together to make tea. She adds that it’s important to remember that no matter how many of these you include in your diet, if you’re overtired and stressed, your milk production is bound to be affected.
Here’s what you should be eating to increase your breast milk supply:
It’s particularly nutrient-dense. In addition to supporting milk supply, it can also help you heal from the birth.
This is a great food to have on hand, because it’s so versatile. “Cook a bowl of oats for breakfast, sprinkle oats on top of a smoothie, or ask your friends to bake you a batch of oatmeal cookies,” suggests Catherine.
Fennel, anise, fenugreek, coriander and blessed thistle
Brew fennel, anise, fenugreek, coriander and blessed thistle to make a tea. There are also a number of commercially available teas that boost milk production; look out for Carmien Tea’s Nursing Mamma option.
Shatavari and moringa
Superfoods that support milk production include moringa, a powder that can be added to smoothies or enjoyed as a tea. The Ayruvedic tonic shatavari also can be taken as a supplement or added to smoothies as well.
It’s important to stay hydrated when you are breastfeeding. Drink as many glasses as you can during the day.
Brown rice is full of energy – great when you’re trying to ward off the exhaustion that’s an inevitable part of motherhood.
Carrots, beetroot and spinach
Up your veggie intake. Carrots, beetroot and spinach are all brimming with nutrients to give your body the strength it needs to recover from childbirth, while helping to boost milk production.
Asparagus contains hormones considered essential for lactation.
Salmon is full of the healthy fats that Catherine says are important when you’re breastfeeding. You’ll also find these fats in nuts, avos, eggs and chia seeds.
Don’t forget the protein. Good quality protein is a must, so stock your fridge with grass-fed beef.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.