Yes, I know… Galacto-what?! A galactogogue is a substance (usually, food or herb) that increases milk supply or promotes lactation. The following are some foods and food groups that boost milk production. Remember to keep in mind the other breastfeeding dietary tips as well!
- Whole grains and complex carbs. Carb-rich foods aid in the production of serotonin, a hormone that produces relaxation. Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, etc), whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, beans, and lentils are key, especially at night. Brown rice and oatmeal specifically lead to the production of oxytocin and prolactin, hormones involved in breast milk production.
- Foods that have phytoestrogens. Top sources are soybeans, flaxseeds and their derivatives (nuts, oils, seeds, and herbs). Remember to choose whole, unprocessed sources, especially when it comes to soy. Other rich sources are: hummus, garlic, mung bean sprouts, winter squash, dark leafy greens like collards, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, dried fruit (dates, apricots, prunes, figs), and tree nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashews).
- Emphasize L-Tryptophan rich foods. L-tryptophan stimulates the production of prolactin, a hormone involved with milk production. Choose foods such as turkey, chicken, soybeans, tuna, shrimp, salmon, milk, cheese, cow’s yogurt, beans and cashews.
- Essential fatty acids! The only sources of omega-3 fatty acids your baby will get are from what you provide either through supplement or breast milk. Best source of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish, flax, walnuts, and cod liver oil.
- Teas. The following teas have herbs that aid in milk production. It also helps with keeping you well hydrated!
- Mother’s milk tea containing milk thistle, fenugreek, and fennel, all natural galactogogues. Do not take fenugreek in large amounts since it may cause gastrointestinal distress or low blood sugar.
- Red raspberry leaf tea promotes general women’s wellness related with periods, pregnancy, easing labor and delivery, and lactation.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider (lactation consultant) before taking any dietary supplement, as some may not be healthy for you.
Try these “lactation cookies” from Eat Richly. An awesome (and tasty) way of getting a few galactogogues in one bite!