Incorporating galactagogues (foods to support milk supply) into your postpartum diet.
First and foremost I want to point out that the most effective way to establish and maintain a good milk supply is for breastmilk to be removed often and well. This is referred to as supply and demand – meaning the more milk removed from your breasts the more milk they’ll make. In fact, I think the primary marker of breastfeeding success is support. No amount of milk boosting foods will make up for proper, professional guidance and support.
However, some whole foods, herbs (and medications) are considered galactagogues, meaning they can help support and increase milk supply by increasing the prolactin levels in mothers body which is the hormone responsible for breastmilk production.
Galactagogues will only work when breastmilk is being removed frequently and effectively. Some work really well on some mamas and not on others. Including galactagogues into a well balanced postpartum diet is a fantastic way to help support your milk supply.
- Blessed Thistle
- Goat’s Rue
Whole Food Galactagogues (Foods to support milk supply)
- Sesame seeds
- Dark leafy greens
- Brewers yeast
- Garlic (avoid if mama’s tummy is sensitive to garlic as bub will most likely be too)
It’s not just galactagogues that contribute to a healthy supply. Carbohydrates are essential for energy and milk supply along side healthy fats. Gone are the days where we steer clear of fat. Using food to support milk supply has been used throughout history and across cultures. In fact, healthy fats have been heavily relied upon to support lactation and nourish breastfeeding mamas and their milk.
Fat has been used to support milk supply for a number of reasons. Fat stabilises blood sugar and balances hormones which supports the nervous system for the perfect internal environment for milk production. Eating healthy fats with meals increases nutrient absorption and nourishes breast milk.
- Ghee (golden ghee is an essential ingredient for new mothers and helps support lactation in Ayurvedic wisdom)
- Olive Oil
- Coconut (oil, milk and cream are all delicious additions. Try our village for mama coconut vanilla custard recipe here)
Finally, it is important for mothers to keep well hydrated to support and maintain a healthy milk supply. Mamas need to enjoy lots of water, electrolyte rich coconut water and herbal teas are wonderful ways to maintain hydration.
We have a delicious lactation cookie recipe full of nourishing fats, carbohydrates and galactagogues. You can find it here. We also have a range of delicious recipes to support milk supply in the village for mama book which you can get here.