If you’re breastfeeding, there are plenty of yummy things you can eat to help increase your milk supply. These tasty treats and meal ideas are all super nourishing for you and baby, helping to keep your body going and boost your milk production.
We’ve deliberately chosen recipes that are easy to make and affordable, they won’t require any missions to health food shops or online bulk buys. You should be able to find the ingredients in most big supermarkets. There are also some simple substitutes you can make if you don’t fancy a trip to the shops, try swapping maple syrup and honey for instance or experimenting with different nuts and seeds, depending on what’s in your kitchen.
Read on for our top recipes for increasing milk supply.
1 . Oatmeal cookies
Oats are high in iron and fibre, helping to keep your digestion in tip top condition whilst you’re breastfeeding. Iron is important as low levels of minerals can inhibit milk supply. Oats are also really comforting and easy to use in a whole range of recipes. These cookies are packed full of goodness to help increase your milk supply and they feel like a treat too.
The tahini in the recipe is made from sesame seeds which is high in calcium and has oestrogen-mimicking properties. As a result, they’re often used by mothers to increase their milk supply and have a long history of use in traditional medicines. Seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein and vitamins and minerals. You can also substitute the sunflower seeds for flax seeds if you have them – flax is another favourite for boosting milk production.
If you’d rather go for old-fashioned porridge, just put oats in the microwave with your favourite milk or water. Customise with different toppings for a warming, filling meal that will keep you going. Why not try green papaya? It’s been used as a popular lactogenic food in Asia for centuries. It’ll also help bring a slice of tropical breeze to your brekkie!
Beetroot is a lactogenic food and it also comes with a host of other benefits too! This 6-ingredient soup is healthy and heart-friendly and can be prepared in advance. When you need a satisfying lunch, just reheat on the hob and you’re good to go.
Soup is ideal food for keeping you nourished during the first months of motherhood. Choose your favourite ingredients and make a double or triple batch, then freeze in individual portions. It’s a good idea to stock up your freezer before the baby comes so that you know you always have food on hand when you need it. Other breastfeeding friendly foods to include are carrots, garlic and lean proteins like chicken or turkey.
3. Melon cubes
Ok, not strictly a recipe but a brilliant snack for new mums, melon is a super easy, grab and go treat. Melon has been said to help increase milk supply and cantaloupe melons in particular contain lots of vitamin C without being too acidic.
Cantaloupe and watermelon both have a high water content so they can help to keep you hydrated, replacing the fluids you lose during breastfeeding. This is especially important for new mums to reduce fatigue, help you think more clearly and aid digestion. Remember, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated! Try to keep a bottle of water close to you all the time, especially during feeds.
This 10-minute recipe is filling, super healthy and full of milk boosting goodies. It uses brown rice, asparagus and garlic along with mushrooms, all of which can help increase your milk supply. Asparagus is high in fibre and rich in Vitamin A and K so it’s a great choice of veggie for breastfeeding.
Whole grains are also really important for breastfeeding as they’re rich in beta-glucan, a polysaccharide (a type of carbohydrate molecule) that increases prolactin in humans. This means they’re perfect for boosting your milk supply. Brown rice can be subbed into any dish where you would normally use white rice. Other top sources of beta-glucan are barley, whole wheat pasta and brown bread.
The humble chickpea is an amazingly versatile ingredient that can be used to whip up a tasty and satisfying dinner in no time! As chickpeas are rich in protein and fibre, they’re ideal for helping you feel fuller for longer and the calcium and Vitamin B content can also help boost your milk supply.
Another double hitter, the spinach is also brilliant for helping your milk supply. Leafy greens including kale, chard and spinach are really high in vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron. They’re thought to help increase milk supply thanks to the phytoestrogens and should be incorporated into your diet as much as possible. Cumin and turmeric are also used by many mothers worldwide to stimulate milk production. This curry doesn’t contain any chilli and only a small amount of spice so it shouldn’t affect the taste of your milk supply. If in doubt, leave out the cayenne as the dish will still have lots of flavour without it.
Cool name, cool smoothie. This power smoothie is packed full of good stuff to keep you going. Galactagogues are foods that naturally promote milk production and this smoothie has tonnes of them. Spinach, banana and oats will all help to boost your milk supply and this smoothie is a satisfying way to get more nutrients into your body faster.
This recipe also includes blueberries which contain a high level of antioxidants. Studies have shown that antioxidants can pass through your milk to your baby so they’re an extra beneficial food to add into your diet where you can.
The bulb, leaves, stalk and seeds of fennel can all be used to increase your milk supply. Fennel is one of the most popular foods for helping breastfeeding mothers as it contains plant oestrogen properties which are thought to encourage milk production. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is an easy way to add flavour to soups and stews.
This quick and simple recipe contains two sources of fennel – fennel seeds and a fennel bulb, as well as garlic. Garlic is another popular lactogenic food, but it should be eaten in moderation as it can change the flavour and smell of your milk. Use wholewheat spaghetti in place of ordinary spaghetti for extra beta-glucan benefits.
High in fibre and rich in calcium, apricots are a smart choice when you’re breastfeeding. Apricots are a common choice for mums looking to increase their milk supply and what better way to eat them than in muffins?
These muffins are refined sugar free and made with oats so they’re a filling snack that’s perfect for breastfeeding. In fact, you can nibble on one of these whilst you’re nursing as you only need one hand! Of course, there’s no need to bake with apricots if you don’t want to, just have a couple raw, or throw them in a smoothie. Dried apricots are also rich in phytoestrogens, so they make a smart snack as part of a balanced diet.
Salmon is an excellent choice for dinner while you’re breastfeeding as it contains high levels of DHA, a fat that helps the development of your baby’s nervous system. It’s also a top source of protein and contains vitamin D, B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which may help to prevent postpartum depression. Any oily fish can substitute salmon so if you prefer sardines or herring then munch away! As they’re lower in mercury than other fish, you can safely have any of these options two to three times a week whilst breastfeeding.
This recipe doesn’t use any bowls, knives or chopping boards and requires minimal effort from you. The sauce contains basil which can have a calming effect on your body, important for allowing your milk to flow freely. Serve this salmon with some leafy greens and whole grains and you have a complete breastfeeding boosting dinner.
Sweet potato is one of the easiest dinners to make if you’re armed with a microwave. Wash the potatoes, prick a few times with a fork and microwave until soft. You don’t need to bother with oven roasting if you don’t have time. They’re also easily customisable and can be topped with savoury or sweet things depending on what you fancy.
Sweet potatoes are perfect for breastfeeding mums because they’re high in complex carbohydrates to give you the energy you need. They’re also a great source of potassium and contain vitamin C and magnesium. The avocados in this recipe are another fast food that will fill you up. Avocados are nearly 80 percent fat so they keep you feeling satisfied for longer whilst giving your body much needed healthy fats and plenty of vitamins.
Whatever your tastes, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated and eat regular meals. Keeping your body nourished will help you look after your new baby and your health and that’s your main priority right now.
Struggling to find time in the kitchen?
The Izmi wrap or baby carrier are ideal for keeping baby calm and cosy next to you while you cook or prepare the recipes in this blog or whatever you feel like cooking today! Just be careful when handling hot foods or liquids and remember to wear older babies on your back while cooking so they can’t reach out and grab your ingredients!
Did you know that you can also use an Izmi wrap or baby carrier for breastfeeding? This multitasking saviour can be used for discreet breastfeeding when you’re out and about and is super convenient even when you are at home as it helps to support the baby in a comfortable position for breastfeeding. Simply loosen the straps of the carrier so you can move baby towards your breast and always remember to support your baby’s head during feeding, even when using a wrap or carrier.
Do you have any tasty recipes of your own to share with our community of parents? Tell us using #IzmiAdventures and we will spread the word!