The Best Foods and Botanicals for Lactation

Breastfeeding mamas, this one's for you. We know that quiet moments are few and far between throughout the journey that is motherhood and want to say thank you for choosing to spend that time with us!


We recognize that every mom’s experience with breastfeeding is unique and personal. No matter the reason you choose or choose not to breastfeed, we’re here to cheer you on as you embark on this chapter of your life. 


If you’ve ever felt like you’re not making enough milk, know that you are not alone. In fact, a survey found that 76% of new mothers felt like they weren’t producing enough milk for their babies. The good news is that there are lots of natural ways to increase milk production, which you can start incorporating into your routine. Our biggest secret: galactogogues. 


You might be thinking, galacto-what? Galactogogues are certain foods that are believed to enhance breast milk production by increasing the hormone responsible for this production, prolactin. However, the research on galactogogues is sparse at best. Instead, most of the knowledge and information about lactation-enhancing botanicals is recommended by lactation consultants and midwives, based on centuries of use and anecdotal experience. 


OATS

Oats are one of the best (and most delicious) foods to support milk production! They’re naturally high in vitamins and minerals like manganese, copper, thiamine, selenium and iron. All of these nutrients are needed to support mama’s in their milk production and are also great for the baby, as they contribute to growing the mind and body. Oats are also a source of resistant starches, protein and fiber (known as beta-glucan), which encourages gut and digestive health of both mama and baby.


FENNEL

Fennel is more than just a spicy herb; it also may increase prolactin and some studies have even found that fennel can increase breast milk production directly. Bonus: it may even help with colic in small doses, through the consumption of breast milk. These studies aren’t conclusive, but it is commonly advised by midwives for breastfeeding women.  


MILK THISTLE

Like the name gives away, milk thistle is also a common lactation-enhancing botanical. Milk thistle has been used for centuries to increase milk production in lactating women. Most of the benefits are anecdotal, and there is few research done on the effects of milk thistle. 


If you want to boost your day (and milk supply) with the superpowers of oats, fennel, or milk thistle we recommend checking out our Oat Milk Chai Blend. Just like our other blends, it can be enjoyed as a superfood latte, in your smoothie, oatmeal bowl and more! If you’re looking for Oat Milk Chai recipe inspiration, head to this page on our blog. PS: using oat milk as your plant-based milk of choice in these recipes definitely wouldn’t hurt—who doesn’t love a creamy base with benefits?


Looking for bonus ingredients for milk production? We’ve got some more recommendations that we love:


FENUGREEK

Fenugreek is the most commonly used botanical galactogogue. It is also the ingredient with the most anecdotal evidence, despite there being a lack of scientific research in this field overall. As a friendly heads up for all our mamas out there, this herb also has the highest amount of side-effects, including gas and bloating in mothers and babies.


Please note Fenugreek should not be taken during pregnancy. For more information on why, we recommend checking out this source.


RASPBERRY LEAF

Last but not least, raspberry leaf tea is another commonly consumed drink to help breast milk production, as it’s a good source of vitamins A, Bs, C, and E as well as calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus. All these vitamins and minerals work to support mom's immunity, energy levels and health, while also supporting your baby’s health and development. Despite there being very little evidence that raspberry leaf tea is a galactogogue, it does have benefits worth noting.


No matter where you are at, you’re doing a super job mama. Motherhood is full of beautiful and challenging moments—you’ve got this!


DISCLAIMER: Due to the lack of research on effectiveness and safety, always talk to your doctor before adding anything new to your diet, even if it’s natural. As a precaution, none of these botanicals should be taken during pregnancy.

 

Cicely Huinink is a Nutritional Scientist and Blume's very own Product Development Specialist. With a BSc. in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences and MSc. in Human Health and Nutritional Sciences from the University of Guelph, her goal is to make information about science, wellness, and functional foods fun and accessible.

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