For Quick Alerts
For Daily Alerts

World Breastfeeding Week 2020: Top 30 Foods To Increase Breast Milk Supply

Typically, a woman's body starts secreting breast milk right after the birth of the baby. However, there are a lot of factors that affect the volume of breast milk. This can either be genetic or environmental. If you are facing problems with the volume of your breast milk, there are certain foods which will help increase the flow of your breast milk. These foods are a safer option to increase your breast milk, rather than resorting to medications, that may have an ill effect on your baby.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies. So, this breastfeeding week let us take a look at the different types of food that help increase breast milk quantity.

Here are a few foods that will help you increase the quantity of your breast milk.

1) Garlic

Garlic is a powerful food that is used since ages to boost milk supply in lactating women [1] . In fact, studies have also found that mothers consuming garlic have their baby sucking at their breasts for a longer time.

2) Fennel Seeds

These power-packed seeds are very useful in boosting milk production in lactating mothers [2] . They also help resolve digestive disorders in both the mother and the baby. Chewing on them raw after your meals is the best way to consume them.

3) Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are an excellent source of copper and calcium. They help increase the amount of breastmilk produced by the mother if consumed daily [3] . They can be widely used in your everyday cooking as sprinkles on top.

4) Carrom Seeds

Carom seeds are widely used in our country as a natural means to boost milk supply in new mothers [4] . They also help reduce the instances of colic in the newborn baby, which is often the reason for their crankiness. You can soak a teaspoon of carom seeds overnight and consume them in the morning.

5) Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek is known to be a wonder ingredient when it comes to increasing breast milk in women [5] The herb contains powerful ingredients that directly help stimulate the lactation glands in women. You can make fenugreek tea by soaking a teaspoon of seeds overnight and boiling them in the morning.

6) Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds or jeera are widely used in Indian cooking. But did you know that they are an excellent natural remedy to boost milk supply in women? Rich in iron and other essential minerals, jeera can help you if you are suffering from low milk production post delivery [6] .

7) Dry Fruits

Dried fruits contain the right amount of natural sugars and fatty acids that help stimulate the production of milk in women [7] . In fact, dried fruits have always been given special importance in the diets of mothers post delivery for the very same reason. They also contain trace minerals which help heal the body after pregnancy.

8) Bitter Gourd

Though most of us abhor this vegetable due to its bitter taste, it can indeed help boost your milk supply [8] . Bitter gourd is a rich source of folate, dietary fibre and phytonutrients. It is also full of vitamins A and C. A simple bitter gourd stir fry will help you consume the vegetable without enhancing its bitter taste.

9) Oats

Oats have all the goodness that helps boost milk production in lactating mothers. Full of iron, calcium and fibre, having a bowl of oats with milk for breakfast is a definite way to increase your milk supply [9] .

10) Olive Oil

Every breastfeeding mother has been advised to stay away from fried foods while breastfeeding as they have a negative effect on your milk supply. However, food made with olive oil is considered to be healthy for lactating mothers [10] . Just substitute your regular oil with olive oil in your cooking and you will notice a boost in your milk supply.

11) Basil Leaves

Basil is considered to be a holy plant and is found in all Indian courtyards. The high amount of vitamin K is said to help stimulate the milk glands in a lactating mother, thereby increasing the milk supply [11] . Just boil a few fresh basil leaves in water and consume this tea everyday.

12) Spinach

Spinach leaves are rich in iron, folate and vitamin K, some of the most important nutrients required by the mother's body to increase the milk supply [12] . Being a versatile vegetable, spinach can be consumed in many ways. Make sure to include loads of it in your diet in order to increase your breastmilk.

13) Hummus

If you are pondering over some perfect snacking options during breastfeeding, you may want to try hummus. It is predicted to be the perfect snack for lactating mothers due to the ingredients such as chickpeas, olive oil garlic and lemon juice being lactogenic. This makes it a perfect food to boost your milk supply [13] .

14) Papaya

Papaya is a lactation-friendly fruit, full of enzymes and phytochemicals that help increase the breast tissue and improve lactation [14] . Snacking on this fruit will definitely help you relax as well as boost your milk supply.

15) Asparagus

Asparagus is known to boost milk supply in lactating mothers [15] . It is known to stimulate lactation hormones and also improve the digestion of the mother and the baby. Asparagus can be steamed before consuming to keep its nutritional values intact.

16) Brown Rice

Breastfeeding is indeed an energy consuming activity and mothers often fail to consume the required amounts of carbohydrates. Brown rice is rich in complex carbohydrates and phytochemicals [16] which help provide the mother with a continuous supply of energy for breastfeeding.

17) Peaches

Peaches are known to be lactogenic, meaning they help boost milk supply in lactating mothers [17] . They are rich in calcium, fibre, vitamins and tryptophan which improve the prolactin levels in the body, thereby increasing the volume of milk supply.

18) Fishes

Salmons and sardines are a rich source of essential omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to boost milk supply to a great extent. They also improve the quality of the milk, making it more nutritious to the baby [18] .

19) Bottle Gourd

Of all the gourds, bottle gourd is said to be extremely beneficial in boosting milk supply in lactating mothers due to its high content of water. It contains almost 96% water, which is essential during lactation [19] . Bottle gourd is a versatile vegetable that can be consumed in many delectable ways.

20) Barley

Barley contains the highest levels of beta glucan, a prolactin that helps in the production of breast milk. It is also full of fibre and helps supply the body with a steady stream of energy. Barley can be had in the form of juice.

21) Cow's Milk

Contrary to the popular belief, consumption of cow's milk during breastfeeding definitely helps boost milk supply in lactating women by helping to maintain the calcium levels in the body [21] . Moreover, there are a lot of other nutrients and healthy fats in cow's milk that improve the quality of breast milk as well.

22) Chickpeas

Chickpeas are known to be a great source of protein and carbohydrates [22] , which provide a wholesome nutrition to lactating mothers. Therefore, chickpeas seasoned with a few mild spices can help boost milk supply in mothers post delivery.

23) Meat

Controlled amounts of meat, especially organ meat such as liver, is extremely good for lactating mothers [23] . Meat contains that right amount of protein, which is passed on to the baby through the milk, ensuring its growth. Just make sure to stay away from red meat though, as it will have the exact opposite effect on your breastmilk.

24) Flaxseeds

Known to be the richest vegetarian source of omega 3 fatty acids and alpha linolenic acid, flax seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition. They also contain certain phytoestrogens which stimulate the production of breast milk in mothers post delivery [24] . Regular consumption of flaxseed oil capsules may help boost your milk supply.

25) Quinoa

Quinoa seeds are whole grain seeds which are cooked like rice. They have been used in western countries to boost milk production. They are extremely high in good quality protein and iron, two essential nutrients to boost milk supply [25] . The super seed is really very versatile and you will find a lot of tasty recipes online that will make it easier for you to include it in your diet.

26) Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are rich in soluble fibre, healthy fats and protein along with trace minerals such as copper and magnesium [26] . These seeds also pack a punch of antioxidants. These qualities make it a perfect food to consume if you want to boost your milk supply. Chia seeds can be mixed in your daily smoothies or porridge and consumed every day.

27) Sweet Potatoes

The vitamin A and beta carotene content in sweet potatoes make it an ideal food to consume if you want to boost your milk supply. These are also full of vitamins B and C. The magnesium found in them works as a muscle relaxant, which directly results in increased milk production in lactating women [27] .

28) Dark Green Vegetables

Dark greens like broccoli and kale are indeed the best foods to consume during lactation. They are nutrient rich and these nutrients pass on to the baby along with your breast milk [28] . Moreover, they also help boost your milk supply if you are running low. The high amount of phytoestrogens in them, help stimulate your milk ducts to produce more milk.

29) Alfalfa

Alfalfa is the highest natural source of phytoestrogens, which are known to increase breast tissue and hence boost milk supply [29] . Alfalfa sprouts can be added to make your salads more nutritious.

30) Water

Water is very essential for your body to produce breastmilk. If you have been consuming all the above food in the list but not drinking enough water, you may see no change in the volume your breast milk. Not just plain water, you can consume liquids in the form of juices to keep yourself hydrated enough. Having enough water along with consuming foods that help boost your milk supply will definitely help you get the desired result [30] .

View Article References
  1. [1] Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Garlic.
  2. [2] Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Fennel.
  3. [3] Moran, L., & Gilad, J. (2007). From folklore to scientific evidence: breast-feeding and wet-nursing in islam and the case of non-puerperal lactation. International journal of biomedical science : IJBS, 3(4), 251–257.
  4. [4] Boskabady, M. H., Alitaneh, S., & Alavinezhad, A. (2014). Carum copticum L.: a herbal medicine with various pharmacological effects. BioMed research international, 2014, 569087.
  5. [5] Shawahna, R., Qiblawi, S., & Ghanayem, H. (2018). Which Benefits and Harms of Using Fenugreek as a Galactogogue Need to Be Discussed during Clinical Consultations? A Delphi Study among Breastfeeding Women, Gynecologists, Pediatricians, Family Physicians, Lactation Consultants, and Pharmacists. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 2418673.
  6. [6] Morsy, T. A., Kholif, A. E., Matloup, O. H., Elella, A. A., Anele, U. Y., & Caton, J. S. (2018). Mustard and cumin seeds improve feed utilisation, milk production and milk fatty acids of Damascus goats. Journal of Dairy Research, 85(2), 142-151.
  7. [7] Kajale, N., Khadilkar, A., Chiponkar, S., Unni, J., & Mansukhani, N. (2014). Effect of traditional food supplements on nutritional status of lactating mothers and growth of their infants. Nutrition, 30(11-12), 1360-1365.
  8. [8] Alam, M. A., Uddin, R., Subhan, N., Rahman, M. M., Jain, P., & Reza, H. M. (2015). Beneficial role of bitter melon supplementation in obesity and related complications in metabolic syndrome. Journal of lipids, 2015, 496169.
  9. [9] Bazzano, A. N., Cenac, L., Brandt, A. J., Barnett, J., Thibeau, S., & Theall, K. P. (2017). Maternal experiences with and sources of information on galactagogues to support lactation: a cross-sectional study. International journal of women's health, 9, 105–113
  10. [10] Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Marine Oils
  11. [11] Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Basil.
  12. [12] Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Nutritional Status During Pregnancy and Lactation. Nutrition During Lactation. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1991. 9, Meeting Maternal Nutrient Needs During Lactation.
  13. [13] Venter, C., Laitinen, K., & Vlieg-Boerstra, B. (2012). Nutritional aspects in diagnosis and management of food hypersensitivity-the dietitians role. Journal of allergy, 2012, 269376.
  14. [14] Budzynska, K., Gardner, Z. E., Dugoua, J. J., Low Dog, T., & Gardiner, P. (2012). Systematic review of breastfeeding and herbs. Breastfeeding medicine : the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, 7(6), 489–503
  15. [15] Gupta, M., & Shaw, B. (2011). A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial for Evaluation of Galactogogue Activity of Asparagus racemosus Willd. Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research : IJPR, 10(1), 167–172.
  16. [16] Ravichanthiran, K., Ma, Z. F., Zhang, H., Cao, Y., Wang, C. W., Muhammad, S., … Pan, B. (2018). Phytochemical Profile of Brown Rice and Its Nutrigenomic Implications. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 7(6), 71.
  17. [17] Jeong, G., Park, S. W., Lee, Y. K., Ko, S. Y., & Shin, S. M. (2017). Maternal food restrictions during breastfeeding. Korean journal of pediatrics, 60(3), 70–76
  18. [18] Buntuchai, G., Pavadhgul, P., Kittipichai, W., & Satheannoppakao, W. (2017). Traditional galactagogue foods and their connection to human milk volume in Thai breastfeeding mothers. Journal of Human Lactation, 33(3), 552-559.
  19. [19] Morse, J. M., Ewing, G., Gamble, D., & Donahue, P. (1992). The effect of maternal fluid intake on breast milk supply: a pilot study. Canadian journal of public health= Revue canadienne de sante publique, 83(3), 213-216.
  20. [20] Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Barley.
  21. [21] Jeong, G., Park, S. W., Lee, Y. K., Ko, S. Y., & Shin, S. M. (2017). Maternal food restrictions during breastfeeding. Korean journal of pediatrics, 60(3), 70–76.
  22. [22] Malunga, L. N., Bar-El Dadon, S., Zinal, E., Berkovich, Z., Abbo, S., & Reifen, R. (2014). The potential use of chickpeas in development of infant follow-on formula. Nutrition journal, 13, 8.
  23. [23] Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Nutritional Status During Pregnancy and Lactation. Nutrition During Lactation. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1991. 1, Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations.
  24. [24] Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Flaxseed.
  25. [25] Baroni, L., Goggi, S., Battaglino, R., Berveglieri, M., Fasan, I., Filippin, D., … Battino, M. A. (2018). Vegan Nutrition for Mothers and Children: Practical Tools for Healthcare Providers. Nutrients, 11(1), 5.
  26. [26] Valenzuela, R., Bascuñán, K., Chamorro, R., Barrera, C., Sandoval, J., Puigrredon, C., … Valenzuela, A. (2015). Modification of Docosahexaenoic Acid Composition of Milk from Nursing Women Who Received Alpha Linolenic Acid from Chia Oil during Gestation and Nursing. Nutrients, 7(8), 6405–6424.
  27. [27] Girard, A. W., Grant, F., Watkinson, M., Okuku, H. S., Wanjala, R., Cole, D., … Low, J. (2017). Promotion of Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato Increased Vitamin A Intakes and Reduced the Odds of Low Retinol-Binding Protein among Postpartum Kenyan Women. The Journal of nutrition, 147(5), 955–963.
  28. [28] Mennella, J. A., Daniels, L. M., & Reiter, A. R. (2017). Learning to like vegetables during breastfeeding: a randomized clinical trial of lactating mothers and infants. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 106(1), 67–76.
  29. [29] Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Alfalfa.
  30. [30] Ndikom, C. M., Fawole, B., & Ilesanmi, R. E. (2014). Extra fluids for breastfeeding mothers for increasing milk production. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (6).
Desktop Bottom Promotion