Becoming a new mommy can be very scary because there is nothing that can prepare you for the actually experience other than the actual experience of becoming a new mom. Thankfully I had been gearing up my mind with plenty of research prior to becoming pregnant. Most hospitals won't give out free advise to prepare and encourage you to breast feed because there is money to be made in pushing formula. Fear tactics like telling them 'they aren't producing enough milk' can deter a perfectly healthy mama from that precious bonding and life-giving method we know as breastfeeding!
Thankfully God created foods that support breastfeeding mamas to help our milk production.
Breastmilk Making Food #1:
Fenugreek Fenugreek seed is a common herb for increasing milk production. Used around the world in cooking and baking, fenugreek is a good source of protein, iron, vitamin C and more. Taken in tea or in capsule form, this herb generally increases milk supply within a few days. There are some cautions — if you are prone to asthma or allergies, use fenugreek with caution. If you have low thyroid hormone levels, are hypoglycemic, or are taking blood thinners, you may want to avoid fenugreek.
Breastmilk Making Food #2:
Oats Some people think it’s an old wives’ tale, but eating oats can help to increase milk supply. Saponins — which oats are full of — are antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, supporting the immune system. But they also impact the milk-making hormones produced by the pituitary gland. So add a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast or bake some oatmeal cookies and enjoy this simple addition to your diet. Check out my Oattie Brekkie Brunch Recipe here!
Breastmilk Making Food #3:
Sesame Seeds High in calcium, sesame seeds are one of the best seeds for increasing milk supply. Look for large black sesame seeds or husked, light-colored seeds. Eating the seeds crushed is important, as seeds still in their husk simply pass through the digestive tract. Try tahini — a sesame seed paste– in hummus or salad dressing, or as a spread on crackers or vegetables.
Breastmilk Making Food #4:
Dandelion Yep, the weeds in your back yard might help with your milk supply. Chinese as well as Native American medicine used dandelion to promote postpartum recovery and help build milk supply. All parts of the dandelion are edible — the leaves and roots can be sautéed or added to a salad raw. Or you can drink dandelion tea. If you are on diuretic medication, do not use dandelion.
Breastmilk Making Food #5:
Fennel Whether eaten as a vegetable or seed, the phytoestrogens in fennel are likely the source of its milk-making properties. Taken in too high a dosage, however, fennel seeds have to opposite effect of decreasing supply, so they should be used with caution. An added benefit is that improves digestion and reduces gas. Taken as a tea by a mother, it may mitigate colic symptoms in baby. Sauteed some fresh fennel with other vegetables and noodles for a quick dinner.
Breastmilk Making Food #6:
Nuts High in proteins and essential fatty acids, nuts are the perfect compliment to any diet. The amino acids in nuts are building blocks for serotonin, which is a necessary neurotransmitter for lactation. The best nuts for improving milk production are almonds, whether by the handful raw or through almond milk, maybe even some marzipan if you’re looking for a sweet treat.
Breastmilk Making Food #7:
Teas In most parts of the globe, you can find commercial lactation teas marketed especially for increasing milk supply. These are usually combinations of galactagogues, and should be used according to package directions. Specific ingredients might include anise seed (thought to ‘bring down the milk’ in ancient Greece), black tea, fenugreek, alfalfa, blessed thistle, red raspberry leaf, marshmallow root, goat’s rue, and more. The best teas are made from fresh and organic ingredients.
Breastmilk Making Food #8
Dates are another calcium-rich food—and they’re thought to help increase milk supply, since they increase prolactin like apricots do. They’re also a high-fiber, naturally sweet treat. Chop some and add them to your morning oatmeal.
Don't forget yourself mamas! You are the one that carried that precious baby, you more than likely are the one getting up most of the night if you're breastfeeding exclusively, if you are blessed enough to stay at home, you are the one spending endless amounts of energy for the well being, education and care of your sweet little one. You need to make sure you are at your best for your little one. You can do this by making sure you are getting nutrient dense foods that will later translate into more nutrient dense nutrition for your baby. Along with all the love, strong healthy bodies are what we want to pass on to our future generations. So here are a few more foods to implement:
Water, not technically a food, but oh so important!
"While you are breastfeeding you should drink extra water, but you don’t need to overdo it. Hydration while breastfeeding should follow the commonsense “in and out” principles of hydration: If you use more fluid, you must take ore in. Since the average six-month-old consumes around 1 quart of breast milk daily and 90 percent of that milk is water, it stands to reason that mother should drink four extra 8-ounce glasses of fluid daily."-Dr. Sears
The Institute of Medicine notes that the median amount of fluids typically consumed by breastfeeding mothers is 3.1 liters (13 cups), compared to 2.2 liters/9 cups for non-pregnant/lactating women and 2.3 liters/10 cups for pregnant women.
Signs that you are not getting enough fluids include concentrated urine (darker, stronger smelling than usual) and constipation (hard, dry stools).
"Drink enough water to quench your thirst plus a bit more, since thirst is not a completely reliable indicator of fluid needs. Tote a water bottle with you in your diaper bag. Get in the habit of drinking an 8-ounce glass of water every time you breastfeed, plus a couple more each day. When baby drinks, mother drinks. If you get into the habit of drinking an 8-ounce glass of water every time your infant feeds (which is usually 8 to 10 times a day), you will meet your hydration while breastfeeding needs."-Dr.Sears
Fresh vegetables and fruits (preferably those in season) of all types, eaten raw or cooked with an emphasis on green leafy vegetables. Leafy greens are breastfeeding super foods. That includes spinach, kale, broccoli and Swiss chard. These nutrient-dense, high calcium foods are versatile. Eat it fresh in a salad, sautee it as a side, or my favorite is to juice it fresh!
Probiotics are so very important. Did you know we are more bacteria than human?
"All the bacteria living inside you would fill a half-gallon jug; there are 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells, according to Carolyn Bohach, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho (U.I.), along with other estimates from scientific studies. (Despite their vast numbers, bacteria don't take up that much space because bacteria are far smaller than human cells.) Although that sounds pretty gross, it's actually a very good thing.
The infestation begins at birth: Babies ingest mouthfuls of bacteria during birthing and pick up plenty more from their mother's skin and milk—during breast-feeding, the mammary glands become colonized with bacteria. "Our interaction with our mother is the biggest burst of microbes that we get," says Gary Huffnagle, a microbiologist and internist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. And that's just for starters: Throughout our lives, we consume bacteria in our food and water "and who knows where else," Huffnagle says.
So eat your kimchi, make that natto, top that dish with sauerkraut, have another serving of plain grass fed yogurt and drink that kombucha! You've got some bacteria to take care of!
More on lactation tips:
Further your research with tips from lactation consultants that have been guiding mass for years Increase your milk here.
Yummy Lactation Recipes coming soon!