How can I boost my milk supply naturally?
10 Jan, 2019
Morgan asks: "A bout with the flu last week has depleted my milk supply. Any tips on foods to boost milk production?"
Milk production is a complex process involving the hypothalamus, pituitary and thyroid glands and is governed by the interaction of hormones. Two hormones required for milk production are prolactin (which decreases when we’re stressed or fatigued) and oxytocin (which increases when we snuggle or hold our babies skin to skin). Remember that the thyroid needs iodine to function properly, so seaweed snacks are a great option.
Let's chat galactagogues!
When we are trying to boost milk production we look to some of our favourite 'galactagogues' - just a fancy word for a substance that promotes milk production. Galactagogues and frequent nursing should help get your depleted milk supply back up!
Regular meals and snacks of healthy, whole, nourishing foods is definitely the way to go. We suggest encompassing the following:
- Healthy high fat sources (i.e. avocado, coconut oil)
- Dense proteins (i.e. pastured eggs)
- Lean protein (i.e. chicken, grassfed beef, liver, nuts, and seeds)
- Complex carbohydrates (i.e. oats, brown rice)
- Legumes (i.e. chickpeas, lentils)
- Dark leafy greens (i.e. spinach, arugula, chard)
- Garlic (if your little one can tolerate it - start slow and roasted versus raw initially)
These types of foods will give you consistent energy, and nourish YOU so you can make a nourishing meal for your baby.
Foods are so amazing, as they all have different properties and perform different actions in our bodies. For example:
- Foods that contain phytoestrogens (i.e. flax seeds) aid in milk production
- High fat and fibre foods can help to maintain milk supply
- Serotonin rich foods (i.e. rice, sweet potato) help to stimulate prolactin, a key hormone involved with lactation
- It is really important to be supplementing omega-3's at this time. Although not considered a galactagogue, omega-3’s provide your body with the raw materials you need to produce the hormones necessary to make milk. (Additionally omega-3 DHA boosts babies’ brain and omega-3 EPA keeps your mood balanced. Win, win!) We recommend NFH Cod Liver Oil.
Optimize milk production with adequate water and calorie intake
It's also important to be drinking enough water. Sometimes throughout the day, we are so busy taking care of our little one we forget to hydrate. Depending on few factors like weight and activity level, water intake requirements could be around 3 L per day.
Eating enough calories is also important for making enough breast milk. Mamas need extra calories during this time to be able to produce enough milk (sometimes 300-500 more per day), so make sure you are getting enough healthy nourishment.
Herbs to the rescue!
You could also enlist the help of herbs to make a tea or tincture to help with milk production. Some herbs used in milk production include:
- Goat's rue
- Red raspberry leaf
- Blessed thistle
We are excited to be able to offer Mother Love More Milk Plus Liquid Tincture, which contains many of the above mentioned helpful herbs. Remember mamas, when stress and fatigue increase, milk supply goes down, so make sure to prioritize rest and taking care of yourself. On the other hand, bonding with you baby helps you produce milk, so make sure to get a lot of baby snuggles in!