Nutrition holds great power and you can harness this resource to support human milk production. Below you will find a curated list of milk stimulating and sustaining foods to guide one along the journey.
Generally speaking, lactating individuals should eat regular meals and snacks. Don’t skip breakfast! Enjoy a variety of foods. Eat to satisfaction and drink as you are thirsty.
You can increase the fat content of your milk (and support baby’s growth) by eating virgin olive oil, coconut oil and/or milk, sesame seed oil, flaxseed, cream, butter and eggs. Avoid fats like margarine and shortening.
Foods that help you make milk:
Meats – chicken, turkey, venison, crab and squid
Grains – barley, oatmeal, cornmeal, buckwheat, rice, quinoa, amaranth
Breads – whole-grain bread & crackers, pumpernickel & rye, moshi, rice cakes
Legumes – chickpeas/garbanzo beans (hummus baby!), lentils, mung beans, and kidney, black and white beans, plus lima & green beans, peas
Unsalted nuts and seeds – sesame seeds, almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cashews and pecans
Fruit : dried – apricots, dates, figs; fresh – apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, sweet cherries, figs, papaya, all berries
Vegetables – asparagus, artichokes, snow peas, sugar snap peas, dark leafy greens like lettuces, spinach, water cress, and carrots, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, Swiss chard, sweet potato and potato
Spreads, Spices & More – tahini, gomasio, almond butter; sea salt, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, dill, caraway, aniseed, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, basil, marjoram, black peppercorn; onion, garlic, ginger root, rice-milk, almond-milk, coconut milk or flakes, seaweeds, honey, malt in any form
With so many options to support milk production, avoiding the few that could potentially diminish milk supply seems feasible. There are a few foods that may diminish milk supply:
Soft drinks, carbonated beverages; coffee, black tea, green tea; chocolate; citric acid in foods/juice, orange and other citrus juices; Vitamin C or B6 supplements; and Aspartame
Herbs – (small amounts ok, but large quantities even in gum or tea can interfere with milk supply) rosemary, thyme, peppermint, spearmint, sage, parsley
Much of this list is inspired by Hilary Jacobson, author of the book Mother Food. You can visit her site Mother Food for more information, additional reading and other means of lactation support.