Mother's Milk - Lactation Boosting Herbs & Foods

Mother's Milk - Lactation Boosting Herbs & Foods

Breastmilk is often referred to as liquid gold, and for good reason. Not only does it provide essential nutrients and antibodies for your baby's growth and health, but it also has countless benefits for the mother. Breastfeeding has been proven to reduce the risk of postpartum depression, aid in postpartum weight loss, and even lower the risk of certain types of cancer. However, some mothers may struggle with producing enough breastmilk to meet their baby's needs. This is where lactation boosting herbs and foods come in. In this blog post, we will explore the top herbs and foods that can help increase breastmilk supply and ensure a successful and fulfilling breastfeeding journey for both mother and baby.

Understanding The Importance of Nutrition During Lactation

Nutrition plays a crucial role during lactation as it directly impacts both the mother and the baby. A well-balanced diet filled with essential nutrients is vital for maintaining a healthy milk supply and supporting infant development. During breastfeeding, it is important for mothers to consume a variety of foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Galactagogues, or lactogenic foods and herbs, are known to help increase milk supply. These include foods such as oats, fennel, and fenugreek, as well as herbal remedies like blessed thistle and milk thistle. Incorporating these into your diet can help ensure a steady milk supply.

Additionally, it is important to consult a lactation specialist or qualified herbalist to better understand how to use lactogenic herbs, such as through decoctions or tinctures, to support hormonal balance and optimize milk production.

Essential Nutrients to Boost Breastmilk and Tackle Anemia

Breastfeeding requires a lot of energy and nutrients, and it's important for new mothers to ensure they are getting the essential nutrients needed to support a healthy milk supply. One crucial nutrient for both mother and baby is iron, which helps prevent anemia. Iron-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, lean meats, and fortified cereals can help boost breastmilk production while also preventing iron deficiency.

In addition to iron, other important nutrients to include in your diet are omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and calcium. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon and chia seeds, are important for brain development in babies. Vitamin D, obtained through sunlight exposure or supplementation, helps the body absorb calcium and promotes strong bones and teeth. Calcium, found in dairy products, tofu, and leafy greens, is essential for both mother and baby's bone health.
Naturopathy and healthy eating practices can be beneficial in ensuring you are getting a wide range of essential nutrients.

Drinking herbal tea infusions, like nettle or red raspberry leaf, can provide added vitamins and minerals. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to ensure you are meeting your individual nutrient needs during breastfeeding. By prioritizing these essential nutrients, you can boost breastmilk production and tackle anemia, setting yourself up for a successful breastfeeding journey.

The Top Breastfeeding Foods: What to Include in Your Diet

Breastfeeding requires a well-rounded diet that includes foods rich in essential nutrients to support a healthy milk supply. Here are some top breastfeeding foods to include in your diet:

1. Oats: Oats are a fantastic source of iron, fiber, and protein. They can help boost milk supply and provide sustained energy for busy moms.

2. Salmon: This fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain development in babies. It also provides protein and vitamin D.

3. Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin A. These nutrients are vital for both mother and baby's bone health and overall development.

4. Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is packed with protein and calcium, making it a great choice for breastfeeding moms. It can also help maintain a healthy gut and digestion.

5. Almonds: Almonds are a nutrient-dense snack that provides protein, healthy fats, and vitamin E. They can help boost milk production and provide a quick energy boost.

6. Carrots: Carrots are a great source of vitamin A, which is important for maintaining healthy skin and vision. They can also be eaten raw or cooked, making them a versatile option for moms with busy schedules.

Including these breastfeeding foods in your diet can help overcome difficulties with milk supply and provide the essential nutrients both you and your baby need. A healthy garden of foods will nourish both you and your little one.

Herbal Remedies for Lactation Support and Reducing Anxiety

Breastfeeding can sometimes be challenging, and it's not uncommon for mothers to experience anxiety and stress about their milk supply. Thankfully, there are several herbal remedies that can help support lactation and reduce anxiety. One popular herb is chamomile, known for its calming properties. Chamomile tea can help relax both the mind and body, allowing milk to flow more easily.

Another beneficial herb is lavender, which has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and relieve anxiety. You can incorporate lavender by using lavender essential oil in a diffuser or adding dried lavender flowers to your bath.

Additionally, lemon balm is known for its calming effects and can be consumed as a tea or in capsule form. These herbal remedies can provide a natural boost to your milk supply while also helping to alleviate any feelings of stress or anxiety that may arise during your breastfeeding journey. 

Recipes that Inspire: Nutritious and Delicious Dishes for Breastfeeding Mothers

Looking for some inspiration for nutritious and delicious dishes to support your breastfeeding journey? Look no further! Here are some mouthwatering recipes that will not only nourish your body but also help boost your milk supply.

1. Berry Oatmeal: Start your day off right with a hearty bowl of oatmeal topped with a mix of fresh berries. Oats are known to increase milk production, and the antioxidants in berries provide an extra nutritional punch.

2. Salmon and Quinoa Salad: Combine grilled salmon with a bed of quinoa, leafy greens, and your favorite vegetables. This dish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and essential vitamins, making it a perfect option for a balanced lunch or dinner.

3. Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast: Get creative in the kitchen by stuffing chicken breasts with a mixture of wilted spinach, feta cheese, and herbs. This protein-rich meal is not only delicious but also provides a good dose of calcium and iron.

4. Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry: Whip up a flavorful and comforting curry with sweet potatoes, lentils, and a blend of aromatic spices. Lentils are an excellent source of protein and iron, while sweet potatoes offer a healthy dose of vitamin A.

5. Lactation Smoothie: Blend together a mix of berries, spinach, almond milk, oats, and a spoonful of almond butter. This refreshing smoothie is not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients to support lactation.

Enjoy these delectable dishes while nourishing your body and providing the best for your little one.

Final Tips on Breastfeeding Nutrition and Healthy Living

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and rewarding journey, and ensuring proper nutrition is essential for both you and your baby's health. Here are some final tips to keep in mind as you navigate this exciting chapter:

1. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support milk production and maintain your energy levels.

2. Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby. Prioritize sleep, eat nourishing meals, and find time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

3. Listen to your body: Every woman's breastfeeding experience is unique, so trust your instincts and adjust your diet as needed. If you notice certain foods or herbs are affecting your milk supply or causing discomfort for your baby, make note of it and consider consulting with a healthcare professional.

4. Don't forget about exercise: Engaging in gentle exercises, like walking or yoga, can help boost your energy levels, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being.

5. Seek support: Surround yourself with a supportive community of friends, family, and lactation consultants who can provide guidance, encouragement, and valuable advice throughout your breastfeeding journey.

Remember, every mother's breastfeeding experience is different, and it's important to find what works best for you and your baby. Trust your instincts, prioritize your health, and savor the precious moments that breastfeeding brings. You are doing an amazing job!

Lelia Marino, CD, CPD is a highly qualified and dedicated doula, with certifications in both birth and postpartum support from the International Doula Institute. In addition to her extensive training in doula care, Lelia is currently pursuing her Masters in Herbalism at the prestigious American College of Healthcare Sciences. Her passion for supporting mothers and families doesn't stop there, as she is also studying to become a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC). With her diverse background and ongoing education, Lelia is committed to providing the highest level of care and support to families during the transformative journey of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

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