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While there is no “magic potion” to help you increase your breast milk supply, there are some foods that have been said to help. Although there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to back this up, there is, in fact, plenty of anecdotal evidence on the efficacy of galactagogues — foods that boost breast milk supply.
So, if you think your breast milk production could use a little boost, here are five foods that can help.
Ginger is long known to help with blood flow and circulation – the process by which the heart pumps a person’s blood around their body. Ginger can lower blood pressure, making it easier for blood to flow. Ginger also contains chromium, magnesium, and zinc, all of which help improve your overall blood circulation. These improved blood supply and circulation are what help boost breast milk production.
How to use:
- Add fresh, raw ginger pieces to the different types of food you eat or cook.
- Mix ginger into any cake batter, bread dough, or cookie dough.
- Peel and grate ginger root before adding it to your soups, salads, or curry.
- Boil 2-3 thin slices of peeled, fresh ginger root in water for a few minutes to make ginger tea.
It is suggested that garlicky breast milk may make babies latch on for longer periods of time. Since an increase in breastfeeding may result in an increase in the breast milk supply of nursing mothers, this may be why garlic is a galactagogue. Also, did you know that garlic is believed to be such an effective galactagogue that it can be found in almost every Asian breastfeeding food package? That includes ours too, of course!
How to use:
- Eat them raw (about two cloves per day).
- Add garlic as a flavour booster to any food you eat or cook.
- Mince some garlic and add it to mashed potatoes before mixing it to the consistency you want.
- Make a cup of tea by boiling a garlic pod in water for a few minutes and tweak as per your taste.
Reminder: Garlic should be consumed in moderation as it has both a strong taste and odour that can go into breast milk. While most babies end up liking the flavour, some babies may not. Be sure to follow your little one’s lead.
3. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds reduce inhibitory effects of dopamine on breast milk production. This leads to an increase in breast milk production, as well as a smoother milk flow. Plant oestrogens in fennel seeds are also said to help nursing mothers produce more breast milk. It reputedly stimulates mammary growth too.
Did you know that fennel is a good source of iron that may help improve postpartum mothers’ haemoglobin levels? As iron does not transfer from a mother’s diet to her breast milk, eating more iron-rich foods will not result in an increase in iron levels in one’s breast milk. It will, however, benefit postpartum mothers simply by incorporating them into their diet! Definitely a plus, we’d say!
How to use:
- Grind them up and add to your salads, soups, stews, porridges, etc.
- Add a tablespoon of fennel seeds to batter for baked goods, like bread and pancake.
- Add raw fennel seeds to warm milk or brew them in your tea.
- Soak a teaspoon of fennel seeds in a glass of water overnight and drink it the next morning.
4. Fenugreek seeds
Fenugreek seeds have been used around the world as a galactagogue for decades. There isn’t much scientific explanation for why fenugreek seeds work, but some people believe that it may have something to do with the plant oestrogens found in them, which is similar to that in fennel seeds. Aside from that, fenugreek seeds also possess several nutraceutical, anti-diabetic, and antioxidant properties ideal for postpartum mothers.
How to use:
- Soak some fenugreek seeds overnight before draining and eating them the next day.
- Grind them up and sprinkle some over your meat, vegetables, or curry.
5. Moringa Oleifera
While the effectiveness of most galactagogues are backed up by anecdotal evidence, Moringa’s has been scientifically proven by a number of clinical trials over the last decade. According to research, Moringa has an effect on stimulating the levels of prolactin (the hormone in your body that is responsible for the production of breast milk) in nursing mothers, which increases breast milk supply.
How to use:
- Cook or stir-fry fresh moringa leaves and eat as a vegetable dish.
- Mix moringa leaves into your favourite guacamole recipe.
- Use fresh moringa leaves to garnish your salads, soups, curries, and other dishes.
- Make a tea out of powdered moringa leaves by steeping them in water.
Fun fact: Moringa oleifera is a multipurpose tree native to North India that goes by a variety of names, such as drumstick tree, horseradish tree, or ben oil tree. It is widely regarded as the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Almost every part of the tree is eaten or used in traditional herbal medicines.
It might be hard for new moms to find the time to prepare the right lactation meals for themselves with a newborn in the house. Our suggestion? Look up “lactation food Singapore” online, and simply choose your desired meal from a wide variety of quick and healthy lactation food packages. You can even try our lactation food package.
Are There Other Ways Besides Food?
There are plenty of other ways to increase breast milk supply besides food. Lactation beverages can help too! These beverages will not only help replenish your breast milk supply and hydrate you, but are also a tasty change of pace! Have a look at some of our lactation beverages. While you’re at it, why not swing by MumChecked and do a little shopping for your little one?