Part II: Eat Galactogogues While Breastfeeding


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! 

Flaxseed, Flaxmeal, or Flaxseed Oil?

Super Food 1

Flaxseeds are an old food, dating back to 4000BC. There are two varieties- brown and golden, which have similar nutritional characteristics. But the question is, which is better?- flaxseed, meal or oil. The answer is… it depends. Yet, I kind of have a soft spot for flaxmeal.

* FOR THE FULL BENEFIT: Flaxseed meal is a fancy way of saying crushed/ground flaxseeds. Our bodies are able to digest it better than whole flaxseeds. They are the highest in fiber (therefore aid in digestion), omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory), and phytochemicals called lignans.

* TO AID CONSTIPATION: Whole flaxseeds, on the other hand, tend to pass through our intestine undigested, which means that we don’t absorb all of the nutrients. They can have a laxative effect (if taken with enough fluid) and can relieve constipation.

* FOR HEALTHY FATS: Flaxseed oil does not have fiber or healthy lignans, since they are both found in the fibrous part of the plant. Yet, it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Seed, meal and oil have been used to help reduce total blood cholesterol and the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels, lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels, and have even shown to be protective against hormone-dependent cancer.


Buy it… in grocery store or health food store.

Store it… in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, flaxmeal has a shorter shelf-life than flaxseeds, 2-4 and 6-12 months respectively.

Use it… in hot or cold cereals, sauces/condiments like mustard or light mayo, yogurt, homemade smoothies, casseroles, baked into cookies, muffins, or breads, or sprinkle some on whole-wheat waffles! Flaxseed oil has a nice nutty taste that can be added to salads or eaten with almond butter on toast.

Best brand… the one that only has 1 ingredient.

Cooking tips: the omega-3 content found in flaxseed/meal remains stable and intact while cooking in high heat. On the other hand, flax oil does not.

Bottom line: Adding flax to your diet is an easy way to increase your daily dose of omega-3, fiber, protein, and micronutrients. Start with 1 tablespoon and slowly (and as tolerated) add up to 3 tablespoons a day.

Note: the omega-3 fatty acids found in flax is Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). Unfortunately, the body has to convert ALA to EPA and DHA (EicosaPentaenoic Acid and DocosaHexaenoic Acid), the fatty acid found in fish oil, so ALA isn’t as efficient. Therefore, you have to eat more flax to benefit from the same amount of fish oil.

To receive email notifications of new posts, sign up here. Or just add me to your RSS feed.

University of Maryland Medical Center.
The World’s Healthiest Foods.