Breastmilk is the primary source of food for babies and contains the most nutritional benefits. Need to boost your milk supply? Try these natural remedies!

food to boost breast milk

1. Oats

Did you know that eating oats help to stimulate Pitocin, the hormone that is responsible for milk-making? Besides being high in iron, oats also provide vast amounts of nutrients such as proteins, fibre and carbohydrates, which will help increase the quality and amount of breastmilk.

Sprinkle a hand full of oats in your breakfast such as your milk or yogurt and have them for snacks as well. If you love to bake, you can even try baking your very own lactation cookies using oats.

2. Garlic

Here’s a fun fact, garlic and other spices can cause your breastmilk to have an ‘appealing flavour’. Researchers Julie Mennella and Gary Beauchamp performed a study where a group of mothers breastfeeding their babies were given a garlic pill, while another group were given a placebo.

It was found that the babies nursed longer, sucked harder, and drank more garlic-scented milk than those who had no garlic exposure. The taste and smell of garlic may not be favourable for everyone. The good news is you can now get garlic supplements.

3. Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek is a commonly known galactagogue (food that promotes the flow of a mother’s milk). Fenugreek seeds and leaves are a great source of nutrients such as iron calcium, Omega-3 fats, vitamins as well as minerals which are beneficial for a baby’s growth and brain development. You can consume fenugreek in the form of tea.

4. Nuts

almond nuts

Nuts are the best snacks for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers as they are loaded with proteins and good fats. They contain amino acids which aid the development of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is crucial for producing breastmilk.

Almonds, cashews and macadamia nuts are the best choices for breastfeeding mothers as they are a rich source of Omega-3 and fats. Feel peckish? Have a bag of unflavoured nuts with you throughout the day to snack on.

5. Green Papaya

Green papaya is widely known as galactagogue, especially in Asia. Green papaya aids in oxytocin, a hormone in a mother’s body that regulates milk production.

Rich in vitamins, folate and minerals, eating green papaya will also improve the quality of your breastmilk. You can shred green papaya into thin strips and add them to your salad, similar to the famous Thai Green papaya salad dishes, or cook them in soups.

6. Sesame seed

Foods to increase breastmilk sesame seeds

Sesame seeds (white and black) are packed with calcium and micro-nutrients. Black sesame seeds are known to be more nutritious than their white counterparts.

Stock up your pantry with sesame seeds as you can eat them in a variety of ways. Sprinkle them on your dishes, or on oats and cereals, or you can use sesame seed oil in your cooking.

7. Barley

It’s important to keep yourself hydrated so that your body is able to generate more milk. Barley is a lactogenic food (foods with lactation-promoting properties) as it contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is part of most proteins and has been linked to better milk flow.

You can add cooked barley into your bowl of oats for breakfast, or keep yourself hydrated by boiling your own barely water.

8. Carrots

Foods to increase breastmilk carrot

Besides being an excellent source of vitamin A, carrots also contain beta-carotene, which helps to boost breastmilk supply and offer our body healthy carbohydrates. You can juice it and drink it, eat it raw or add it to your dishes.

9. Cumin seeds

Spices and spicy foods are actually enticing to babies. Cumin seeds are commonly used as a seasoning to add flavour to the dishes.

A source of iron, cumin seeds can help resolve digestive issues and relieve bloating and constipation. Apart from using it as a seasoning, you can add boiled cumin seeds into a cup of milk as a bedtime drink.

By Tan Yi Jun.

This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine.

Are you breastfeeding mum? Download our breastfeeding guide here for tips and advice.

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