A lot of mothers suffer from insufficient milk supply at some point of time during breastfeeding. Some mothers have to substitute with formula in order to fill their baby’s stomach. However, there are some foods which can help you to not only increase but maintain your breast milk supply throughout your BF journey.
SPICES & HERBS
#1 Cumin or Jeera
Cumin is a very popular spice in Indian cooking. It is one of the most popular spices in the world and is used in everyday cooking in many countries. Cumin can really help with your breastmilk supply. You don’t have to overdo it if you are already using it in your everyday cooking. Cumin also helps with digestion and can improve immunity.
How to Use Cumin:
- Use it while making curries. Add cumin along with asafoetida and mustard seeds.
- Cumin in the form of powder is also a popular taste enhancer for raitas.
- You can even add roasted cumin to your buttermilk.
#2 Fennel Seeds or Saunf:
This slightly crunchy savory is quite popular in India. India is actually the biggest exporter of saunf. Fennel is also found in many breastfeeding herbal teas because of its ability to help maintain and increase breast milk production.
How to Include Fennel in your diet:
- Just eat 1-2 tsp of fennel right after a meal. It helps freshen up the breath and also aids digestion.
- Add fennel to the masala you make for parathas.
- You can have fennel seed water. Either infuse it overnight in normal or cold water or use hot water and let it sit for a while. The water should turn into golden color. This water helps in increasing metabolism and accelerating fat loss process.
#3 Fenugreek Seeds or Methi
Fenugreek seeds are again a huge savory in Indian food. They are added to many dishes especially kadhi. Fenugreek is one of the most popular galactagogue foods and is recommended by many gynecologists and lactation consultants all around.
How to Include Fenugreek in your diet:
- Fenugreek water can be made just like fennel water. It’s also good for weight loss and increasing metabolism.
- You can also use Fenugreek sabji. Try this recipe here.
- Add roasted Fenugreek over your favorite curries.
#4 Basil or Tulsi
Holy Basil is a common plant found in Indian households. It is worshipped, put in many foods and also offered to Gods. Basil has a calming effect on your body. Just a few leaves of Tulsi a day are enough to do wonders.
Culinary Uses of Basil:
- Basil Pesto! Basil Pesto is delicious and all the ingredients you along with Basil are amazing for breastfeeding moms.
- Just eat a few leaves of Basil daily.
- Add Basil to your water and drink the infused water throughout the day.
- You can also add Basil to the tea. It gives it an amazing taste and is also great for building immunity.
#5 Dill Leaves
Dill Leaves are an amazing source of Magnesium, Calcium, and iron.
They have anti-inflammatory properties and is a good source of antioxidants.
Dill Leaves when used in moderation can really work for increasing your breast milk supply.
How to use Dill Leaves
- Use Dill leaves to add flavor to your salads, eggs, meat, and curries.
- You can also add Dill to dips to add flavor.
Alfalfa is becoming quite popular nowadays for their crunchy texture and amazing taste. They provide a list of necessary nutrients especially Vitamin C, E and K. After sprouting, certain enzymes are activated which puts it into the category of ‘superfoods’.
How to Use Alfalfa for Increasing Breast Milk Supply
- Use alfalfa sprouts in your sandwiches along with your favorite filling.
- Add it to salads and soups.
- You can also have these sprouts alone by seasoning them with your favorite spices.
Turmeric is one of the best solution in Ayurveda for a lot of things. One of them includes increasing breastmilk supply. Turmeric can provide many benefits to breastfeeding moms including combating inflammation, work as a natural painkiller and promoting digestion.
How to Use Turmeric for Culinary Uses:
- Turmeric is added to all the curries. So, don’t skip on that.
- Have Turmeric Milk at night. It helps with promoting better sleep. Something you need for postpartum recovery as well.
- Turmeric can also be added in a small amount to salads.
#8 Carom Seeds or Ajwain
Ajwain is famous not only for its miraculous effects on breast milk production but also during pregnancy. It can help with all your stomach problems and helps in strengthening the walls of the uterus. Ajwain is also great for postpartum healing and provides fast relief from postpartum pains.
How to use Ajwain for Increasing Breast Milk:
- Mix Ajwain and Jaggery. Add them to water. Heat it for around 2 minutes and drink this concoction. ½ tsp of Ajwain seeds are enough for this.
- You can also directly swallow ½ tsp of Ajwain seeds with water.
- Add Ajwain seeds to the wheat dough before making rotis.
Ginger also helps with increasing breastmilk production. Ginger can also be used in the form of dry powder. It will have the same benefits. Ginger helps in increasing blood circulation and keeps diseases away.
Ginger’s Culinary Uses
- Ginger is added to tea to enhance its taste.
- You can also add some ginger to your lemon water in the mornings.
- Ginger can also be added to cookies or your patty.
Follow these ginger recipes here.
#10 Barley or Jau
Barley or Jau is one of the most popular grains to make roti or Indian flatbread. Barley is a rich source of Protein, Calcium, and Magnesium. It’s also good for losing weight as 1 Barley roti just contains 30 calories.
Culinary Uses of Barley:
- Mix it with white wheat flour or use it alone to make flatbreads or rotis.
- Barley in its whole form can also be used for preparing Barley salad or can be added in salads.
Oatmeal is one of the best foods to have during postpartum. It’s also one of the first foods suggested or given to the mom right after delivery. Oatmeal has worked for many mums around and there are so many success stories.
#12 Brown Rice
Skip your regular white rice and substitute it with brown rice. Brown Rice has vitamins and minerals that can nourish your body and help in boosting up your milk supply. It’s also healthier, filling and low in carbs. So, it will help in losing the baby weight too.
How to Use Brown Rice for Increasing Milk Supply
- You can use brown rice as it is and mix with daal, rajma (kidney beans) or any of your favorite curry.
- You can also make Brown Rice Pulao, Brown Rice Dosa or Brown Rice Idli. Check out these delicious brown rice recipes.
Millet is great options for those Moms who follow a gluten-free lifestyle. Pearl Millet, Ragi, Foxtail Millet can all be used as a substitute for your regular grains. They are highly nutritious. Apart from contributing to an increase in breast milk production, they are great to balance out your hormone levels.
Culinary Uses of Millet:
- Great for substituting atta or white wheat flour for making Indian flatbreads.
- The grains especially bajra, jowar and foxtail millet make delicious khichdi.
Chickpeas are also one of the legumes that can be used for increasing milk supply. They are high in Protein, Fiber, Iron, Magnesium and a lot of other vitamins and minerals.
How to Include Chickpea in your diet:
Hummus, Roasted Chickpeas, Chickpea salad, Chickpea curry and not to forget the recipes that can be made from Chickpea Flour / Gram Flour or Besan. You can include chickpeas in your diet in a myriad of ways.
Legumes especially red lentils are best for increasing breast milk production. They are a great source of iron too, providing over 47% of your daily RDA of Iron in 1 cup.
Legumes’ Culinary Uses
Daals are the best way to get in your lentils. Just have a bowl of daal daily with your food.
You can also make lentil patty and enjoy it with hummus.
FRUITS & VEGETABLES:
#16 Spinach Leaves
Spinach is packed with antioxidants, protein, and Iron.
It’s one of the superfoods that is advised to consume daily.
Spinach, when consumed regularly, can definitely make a difference in your breast milk production.
How to use Spinach leaves for cooking:
- The best way to get spinach into your diet is to cook daal palak or lentil spinach curry.
- Spinach can also be put into parathas and sandwiches.
- You can also make spinach dip and enjoy it with your nachos.
#17 Beet Leaves
If you thought only beets were the healthiest of the whole plant. You were wrong. Beet Leaves as a whole make an amazing health food.
Beet Leaves Culinary Uses:
- You can make beet leaves dal.
- Or just saute it with some of your favorite spices and enjoy it with mashed potatoes.
- You can also mix beet leaves with other green leafy vegetables to prepare a curry.
The health benefits of kale are numerous including supporting overall mental and physical health. Kale will naturally speed up your postpartum recovery process.
Kale’s Culinary Uses:
- Kale can be mixed into your morning smoothie along with spinach and your favorite ingredients.
- Kale can also be mixed into soups and salads.
Broccoli is loaded with Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and various antioxidants. It’s low in calories but very high in nutrients. Broccoli will also help you keep fuller longer.
How to Include Broccoli in your diet:
- Broccoli is best eaten either raw in salads or little bit sauteed with other vegetables.
- You can also make mixed vegetable soup with broccoli.
#20 Sweet Potato
Sweet Potatoes are high in Vitamin A and is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. They are quite healthy and can be had daily without any guilt.
Sweet Potatoes work great for breast milk production.
How to Include Sweet Potato in your Diet
- Have sweet potato in form of these baked sweet potato fries.
- You can also make sweet potato curry.
- Mashed sweet potatoes also taste good with some vegetables and beans.
Garlic has numerous benefits that include reversing diseases, protecting you from infections, acting as a natural antibiotic and helping in stronger immunity.
Culinary Uses of Garlic
Garlic can be added from pasta recipes to curries to dips. Garlic has such a strong flavor that it’s hard to resist it.
Apricots are known for their sugary and luscious flavor. They are velvety to touch are rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Apricots when consumed 2-3 times in a week can make a huge difference in your breast milk production. They work gradually.
Apricots can be eaten alone or can be mixed with your fruit salad.
Green Papaya is a very famous galactagogue all across Asia.
It helps to regulate and increase the production of Oxytocin in your body.
Oxytocin is one of the hormones that play a very important role in regulating the production of breast milk. Papaya is a must have food for lactating moms.
Papaya just like Apricots can be eaten alone or with other fruits.
#24 Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd a.k.a Karela might be controversial to eat during pregnancy but it has some massive benefits for breastfeeding moms. Not only will it help to stimulate BM production, there have been studies that have proven that if the mother has karela while feeding, the baby has higher chances of eating veggies in the long term.
Bitter Gourd Culinary Uses:
- Bitter Gourd is best palatable in the form of curry.
- Bitter Gourd Juice also has benefits but it’s not that palatable.
#25 Bottle Gourd
Bottle Gourd a.k.a Lauki also belongs to the Gourd family and has almost the same benefits as bitter gourd.
Bottle Gourd can also be taken in form of both curry and juice. It’s more palatable in both forms than Bitter Gourd.
Carrots are full of Vitamin A, that’s what they are most famous for. They are also amazing for your skin and has some amazing anti-aging benefits.
Carrots for breastfeeding mothers can do wonders.
You can include it in your diet without any worry.
How to Include Carrot in your diet:
- Baby Carrots along with some hummus is a great healthy everyday snack.
- Carrot can be steamed along with some broccoli to include some veggies in your plate.
- Carrot and Tomato Juice also tastes great.
Yams have a great source of B vitamins, fiber, manganese, Vitamin C, and potassium. They are often confused with sweet potato. But, they are much different than sweet potato.
Yam is best had in the form of curry or stir-fries.
Watercress is slightly spicy and is preferably used in small amounts. It’s not that famous but it’s gaining popularity now due to its numerous benefits.
You can use Watercress in salads, sandwiches etc. It’s best eaten raw.
Ghee is very important and considered a delicacy in Indian culture. Ghee’s healthy fat helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and K in your body. 1-2 tbsp of Ghee daily helps in maintaining your weight and nourishes your body from inside out.
You can add some ghee to your rotis or use it in curries. It’s very easy to include Ghee in your diet.
#30 Olive Oil
Olive Oil is rich in Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats. These types of fat are very healthy for you.
Breastmilk is made up of a lot of fat.
Fat helps in the healthy development of baby’s brain and body. Therefore, it’s important that you do include healthy fats in your diet.
#31 Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil is another one of the healthy fats that you should include in your diet. Lauric acid in coconut oil is an antibiotic.
It also helps in reducing the tummy fat by increasing metabolic rate.
Coconut Oil can be used for both cooking and frying.
#32 Sesame Seeds
Sesame Seeds are amazing for increasing breastmilk production. They can be sprinkled in small amounts in a lot of dishes including salads, sandwiches, Chinese recipes etc. Tahini Sauce is a great way to get some sesame in. Not to forget Til or Sesame Laddoos that are a perfect treat after any meal.
Almonds are rich in Calcium, Protein, healthy fats and Magnesium. A handful of Almonds almost daily can show instant effects in your BM production. Almonds can be added to desserts, salads, smoothie bowls etc for that little crunch. Apples and almond butter are also a great healthy snack to have.
A tbsp or two of flaxseeds daily in your smoothies or smoothie bowl can really help mothers with low milk supply. Flaxseeds are most famous among nuts and seeds to help with an increase in BM production. They are also present in many lactation cookies and recipes.
Poppy Seeds or Khus Khus are quite rich in Iron, Magnesium, and calcium.
Poppy Seeds have sedative properties that can help the mother relax and calm down.
The calmness of mind is really important for mothers during breastfeeding. Stress can really take a toll on BM production.
#36 Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds just like poppy seeds have the ability to balance out your hormones and help your baby blues and anxiety to calm down. Chia seeds can really help with Breast milk production in just a matter of time.
Other Foods which Can help
Any juices help prevent dehydration and can help in retaining water inside your body.
Both vegetable and fruit juices work the same way.
Make sure that you don’t have fruit juices without pulp as they can be very high in calories and can cause a spike in your blood sugar level. Cold pressed vegetable juice is a good choice too.
Water intake should increase both during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Breastmilk is mostly made of mostly water.
That’s why you feel this sudden quench right after you are done with the feeding. It’s always a good idea not to forget your water bottle when you sit down for feedings.
#39 Brewers Yeast
Brewer’s yeast is a very famous galactagogue and is used in many lactation cookies that promise to increase BM production quickly. Some mothers completely rely on Brewer’s yeast for their low supply and it always works. Buy Brewer’s yeast Powder here.
Dates are rated high in lactogenic foods.
Not only are they amazing for low milk supply, they are also great for pregnant women especially the ones who are in their late trimesters.
Dates are also amazing to solve digestion problems – something new moms very frequently struggle with. Dates can be used as a sweetener in the form of date sauce. They can be eaten alone, in nut bars, energy balls or as a sweetener in your porridge or smoothies.
#41 Lactation Cookies/Smoothies
Most lactation cookies and smoothies have a perfect blend of ingredients that can very easily help with your milk supply. Try these recipes here:
#42 Nettle Tea
Nettle Tea is generally a very important part of lactation teas. A cup of nettle tea twice or thrice a week can make a huge difference in your breastmilk supply.
#43 Dill Seed Tea
Dill Seed Tea is safe and healthy to consume for breastfeeding mothers. It not only helps with the breast milk supply but can also help in easing digestion issues for both mother and the baby. You can have dill seed tea in moderate amounts during breastfeeding.
#44 Milk Thistle Tea
Milk Thistle Tea can be had once a day.
It helps mothers with low milk supply in a very short amount of time.
It’s side effects are not plenty. And even the some that are there, none of them affects the baby or the BM in a negative way. All side effects are quite mild.
#45 Alfalfa Tea
Alfalfa Tea, when consumed in moderate amounts, can help during pregnancy as well as breastfeeding. Do not overdo it as it has been known to cause upset stomach in both the mother and the baby.
#46 Raspberry Tea
Red Raspberry Tea is a very good herbal tea to have during postpartum. It can help with recovery, postpartum depression, increasing breast milk supply and helping the uterus to come back to its pre-pregnancy size. It’s very safe for lactating mothers.
LEAN MEAT & FISH
Salmon is quite rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you should include a fish oil supplement in your diet. Salmon can be safely consumed 2-3 times a week.
It’s very important to have a healthy diet during breastfeeding and include these foods mentioned above on a day to day to nourish your body and help it do it’s job. Remember that eating healthy is just not good for your baby but you too. Many nutritional deficiencies can delay your postpartum recovery, interfere with your hormonal levels and also