Nourishing Nutrition for Milk Production

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.

Look what is new!

We have the joy of doing what we love here at Lactation Care with Elizabeth. And we found others that love it too! Over the past several months, as many of you already know, we have added to our team. We love our clients and want to be available as needed. More clients, clients having babies, babies having procedures, life changes, and so forth meant adding fantastic IBCLCs to the rotation so we really can meet you where you are on your breastfeeding journey.

We want you to meet the new members of the team and get to know them. At Lactation Care with Elizabeth, we love getting to know our clients – both parents and baby – and seeing into such an important part of your lives. Read more about the ladies on our website: http://www.lactationcarewithelizabeth.com/about.

How do I survive until I have an appointment?

I realize that sometimes it takes a few days to get in for an appointment.  How do you manage until then?

  • Skin to skin with baby.  Climb in bed with your favorite snacks, bottle of water, and your baby.  Snuggle in and enjoy!  Offer the breast whenever the baby nuzzles around looking to latch.
  • Feed the baby.  Offer the breast every feeding.  Try different positions.  Try supporting your breast.  Maybe even try a nipple shield (I like the Lansinoh brand better than Medela.) If you still can’t get baby to latch on your breast, feed with a syringe or bottle (slow flow Dr. Browns or Lansinoh.)  Babies need to eat AT LEAST 8 times in 24 hours.  It is NOT unusual for them to eat 12 or more times!  You will know your newborn (by 5-7 days old) is getting enough in if they are producing at least 5 wet and 5 dirty diapers per day.
  • Support your supply. If baby isn’t drinking from you or draining you well, or you are supplementing with formula, make friends with your pump!  Pump EVERY TIME the baby gets fed. 
  • Enjoy your baby!  The most important thing for you is to bond with your baby!  This is why skin to skin is so helpful- it not only helps with latching and feeding but it gives you bonding time.  (It is good for lots of other things as well, like temperature regulation and hormone production.)

Hang in there- your appointment is coming soon and we will address the problems you are having and work on moving toward meeting your breastfeeding goals!

Bonding with your baby is so important! (love this photo, courtesy of http://www.lemandjune.com)