Let me just start by saying this – Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. There can be a huge learning curve and you may have challenges along the way.
One issue we see a lot of at The Mama Coach is mamas with concerns with their breastmilk supply. This is very typical because you don’t know exactly how much your baby is getting like you do with a bottle, and mamas may be concerned their baby isn’t getting enough.
It is typical for your breastmilk supply to ‘even out’ around 3 months of age and this is when a lot of moms feel like their supply has dropped. If your baby is growing, has adequate output (diapers), and is satisfied after a feed, then your supply is most likely exactly what your baby needs.
But some mamas need to bump that supply. Maybe you’re exclusively pumping, or pumping to build a stash, or had a tiny baby who has some catching up to do. Maybe you’re going away for a night so your pumping like crazy to get some me time. Maybe your an adoptive mom who really wants to give your new baby the awesome benefits of breastmilk, or you want to share the breastfeeding duties with your partner. There are lots of reasons why a mama might want to boost her supply, so in addition to increasing pumping and feeding sessions, you can also use galactagogues.
A Galactagogue (pronounced gah-lak´tah-gog) is something that a woman can take to increase her breastmilk supply. These can come in prescriptions, teas, or foods. The good thing is if you’re looking to boost your supply through food, most of these items are easily found in your local grocery or health food store.
Here’s your shopping list!
Blessed Thistle (herb)
Milk Thistle (herb)
Other helpful foods to add in to your diet when breastfeeding are high fat foods to keep your calories up like avocado and coconut oil. You also need calcium to keep your bones strong. And WATER! So much water! You definitely need to stay hydrated mama! Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated are important for breastmilk supply.
So HOW do you get these foods into your diet?
Toss oats into your smoothie if your not a fan of oatmeal in the morning. Make protein balls or Lactation Cookies with oatmeal and brewers yeast. Snack on almonds or swap your peanut butter for almond butter. Add ginger to your herbal tea, and garlic to everything (because there’s never too much garlic), with a nice side of brown rice and salad. Or sip on some milk tea from your local health food store that usually contains all those lovely galactagogue herbs.
You should also be mindful of foods that reduce milk supply. Peppermint is a big one, and large amounts of parsley and oregano have been shown to reduce milk supply, so it is suggested you moderate or remove these from your diet if you’re having concerns with breastmilk supply.
Now changing your diet alone will not work on its own to increase supply. Breastmilk is based on a supply and demand system in your body, the more you demand, the more you supply. So you need to increase your pumping or breastfeeding sessions to help those Galactagogues work. Pumping after a feed, hand expressing during a feed, making sure your baby has a good deep latch, and power pumping are all helpful ways to help boost that supply and make those galactagogues work.
If you’re looking for support with your lactation and supply, reach out to your local Mama Coach for help.