Got Milk? Want More? 12 Foods That Help Milk Production

foods that help milk production

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2016 that more than 80% of women in the U.S. choose to breastfeed their newborns. That doesn't mean that everyone who wants to breastfeed has that option, though.

Many women want to breastfeed exclusively but simply don't produce enough milk. If you're in this situation, you know the frustration that comes with it.

Luckily, there are ways to enhance breastmilk production. The types of food you eat, for example, can up your supply.

What can you eat to get more breastmilk? Here are 12 foods that help milk production.

1. Fennel Seed

Haven't heard of fennel? Even if you haven't, you've probably eaten it before.

This seed is often found in sausages. It's one of those things that gives sausage its iconic flavor.

You don't have to load up on sausage to get the benefits of fennel seed, though. Throw some fennel seed in a meatless breakfast burrito, or add it to veggie fillings.

Would you rather drink your way to more milk? Fennel can be added to teas or even boiled in milk for a tasty drink.

2. Cumin Seeds

Cumin is a flavor you're familiar with if you've ever had tacos. It's one of the main ingredients in just about any taco seasoning.

Did you know that the seeds can help you build your milk supply? They can! So Taco Tuesday is an even better idea than you knew.

Cumin can be used in other ways too, though. You can sprinkle cumin powder in milk and get the benefits that way just as well. Simply warm some milk before bedtime, add the cumin, and drink before bed.

Cumin is also widely used in Indian foods.

3. Oats

Oats are proof that you don't have to go in search of a bunch of exotic ingredients in order to produce more milk. They're readily available and likely already part of your diet.

Oats are great in bread, desserts, breakfast, and even in savory dishes. They're highly versatile thanks to their mild flavor, but they're highly nutritious.

Start your day off right by getting a good bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Or cook up some homemade granola to add to your favorite sweet dishes.

While oatmeal cookies are popular, try not to overdo it on the sugar. There are healthy oatmeal cookie recipes, too!

4. Carrots

What can't you do with carrots? They're great in just about anything. Muffins, cakes, stews, meat pies, you name it, you can use carrots.

They can be grated, mashed, steamed, or eaten raw. Or, you can juice them for a healthy drink that's loaded with vitamins.

Get your carrots in at breakfast time by tossing them into a smoothie or baking carrot muffins. The possibilities really are endless with this deliciously sweet vegetable.

5. Barley

Whether you've always had an insufficient amount of breast milk or your supply has dropped recently, you can build up your milk supply. Barley is one of those foods that'll help you do it.

Barley is a grain that's used in beer production, but that doesn't mean beer will give you what you need. In fact, consuming alcohol is dangerous during pregnancy.

Instead, get this grain into your diet in other ways. It's great in stews, you can use it in bread, or throw it in a salad.

However you choose to use it, barley is a tasty grain, so eat up!

6. Spinach

Spinach is packed with things you need, like iron. This is important for both you and your baby.

This leafy green is often associated with a highly recognizable cartoon sailor, but that doesn't mean you have to eat spinach from a can. You could do that if you want to, but there are plenty of other ways to add spinach to your diet.

Ever heard of a green smoothie? It likely has spinach in it. Adding spinach to smoothies is a great way to get the health benefits if you don't like how it tastes.

Spinach is also great in soups, quiches, omelets, and on sandwiches. Grocery stores often sell it in both fresh and frozen forms.

7. Apricots

Veggies, spices, and grains aren't the only ways to increase your milk supply. Some fruits, like apricots, can do it too.

If you haven't had an apricot, it's a small rich orange fruit with a distinct and sweet taste. They're fabulous fresh, but great in other ways too.

Dried apricots make a great on-the-go snack. Frozen apricots go well in smoothies. Canned apricots can be pureed and turned into fruit roll-ups if you have a food dehydrator.

Or, if you want to turn your dinner into a milk promoter, try making apricot chicken and serving it over rice.

8. Lactation Bars

If you're a fan of healthy granola bars or protein bars, this is the milk-encouraging food for you! Even if you're not, you should give lactation bars a try.

Lactation bars are specifically formulated to help increase your milk supply. They're packed full of healthy ingredients like rolled oats, sesame seeds, and flax seeds that give you exactly what you need.

While they may not sound appetizing to some women at first, let us assure you that they're delicious. Many varieties are available, so it's easy to choose a flavor that you like.

Not a fan of bars? Crumble one up and use it as granola with your favorite fruit or Greek yogurt. You can even add it to your morning cereal.

9. Garlic

If you like yourself a good slice of garlic bread, you're in luck. Garlic is great for producing more breast milk.

It might not improve your breath, but it'll be worth it.

If you'd rather hide the taste of garlic a bit more, you can use it in many different types of recipes. Like many of the other foods on this list, it's great in soups, bread, and served with meat. Get the most out of these foods by serving them together!

10. Fenugreek

This food probably has the most unique name on the list, but it's super powerful when it comes to boosting your breast milk supply. You can notice a change in as little as 24 hours!

What is fenugreek? It's an herb that looks somewhat like a clover. It grows in a few places outside of the United States.

It's often used in medicine, but how can you ingest it as food? Fenugreek is used in curries. So this is a great option if you like Indian food.

You can also make a fenugreek tea or add it to a salad.

11. Papaya

Apricot isn't the only fruit that can help you produce more milk. Papaya is on the list, too.

Papaya is great with Thai food. Try it with noodles or in soups. Or you can simply eat it plain.

If you don't like the taste of papaya on its own, try adding it to a fruit salad. Simply cut up some of your favorite types of fruit and add the chunks to a bowl. Sneak in some smaller chunks of papaya to get the benefits without getting the flavor full on.

It's important to note that some Asian cultures who've historically used this as a milk booster eat papaya when it's still unripe. If you don't want to eat raw papaya, you can boil it.

12. Brewer's Yeast

Brewer's yeast might not be a great option if your newborn is picky. It carries a taste that's bitter and it will easily move into your breast milk.

It is seen as something that helps increase your milk production, though. While it hasn't actually been studied like many of the other items on this list, it's recommended often as a milk booster.

You'll likely find brewer's yeast listed as an ingredient in milk-promoting lactation bars. You can add it to your own recipes, though. The next time you bake bread or make pancakes, look for a recipe that includes this secret and powerful ingredient.

Try These Foods That Help Milk Production

Not having the amount of milk you want for your baby can be difficult. To help remedy the issue, try these foods that help milk production. They might just give you that extra push your body's been needing.

From herbs and vegetables to fruit and grains, there are plenty of foods that are known for helping boost your breastmilk. So why not try them for yourself? You likely have some of these foods on hand, so give them a try and see how much they help!

Having a C-section? See how it might affect your milk supply.

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